Mark 15:1-15 … Mark’s account is brisk and in some sense abbreviated to the essential facts. Here, we have brevity but full revelation of what occurred that Friday when the Savior was brought to the Roman governor. Apparently the Jewish leaders had made prior arrangements because they turned Jesus over to Pilate early in the morning. Just as the High Priest had done, Pilate asked Jesus if He was King of the Jews and Jesus acknowledged that He was indeed King of the Jews. In 15:3, you get some sense of the scene with the chief priests venomously shouting out in Pilate’s court. Here we learn of a Roman tradition of placating the local population during Jewish feasts by granting amnesty to someone in prison. Pilate wanted to release Jesus because he discerned the real reason the religious rulers had brought Jesus to him: their own envy of Jesus’ reputation with the people (v.10). The crowds there, having been stimulated by the chief priests, chanted “Crucify Him!” What an ugly scene it was! Pilate then, capitulated to the crowds to avoid controversy, and instead released Barabbas (who was probably a murderer and insurrectionist) to satisfy the Roman tradition. We shouldn’t pass lightly over verse 15:15, which tells of the scourging, a beating so severe that some subjected to it died before they could be taken to the place of crucifixion. This is brutality beyond our comprehension.
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