Notes On Mark’s Gospel (131)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Crucify Him! (Chapter 15 Verses 1-15)

The request for Barabbas to be released is probably the instrument used to incite the crowd (v11). Not a hard thing to do really. I mean people are so much like sheep, are they not (Isaiah 53.6)? But Christians do not follow the crowd they follow Jesus, or they forfeit the right to be called Christian. The baying of the crowd begs Pilate’s question (v12), what to do with Jesus? Did he underestimate the power of this religious lobby? Did he depend on some remnant of morality among the people to overturn the schemes of the Sanhedrin? But the people are given a choice. Jesus is placed alongside a known and common criminal, a murderer, which one will they choose? I guess that is the choice facing so many people today when the gospel is preached, whom will they serve, Jesus the life-giver (John 14.6), or Satan the life-taker (John 8.44)? The people answer with one accord, “crucify him” (v13). This is the same folk who welcomed Jesus just a short time ago into Jerusalem, with adulation and praise (Mark 11.1-11). This the crowd of people who gloried in his miracles, his raising Lazarus from the dead just a very short time ago (John 11.1ff). Who raised their hands and sang praise the Lord! But now they want his blood. Do you see the fickleness that is part of man’s depravity? I mean what other description could you use of fallen humankind? Dead, says the Bible (Romans 5.12). Bound in sin’s nature (2Timothy 2.25-26). Blind and deaf (Mark 4.11-12). Unteachable to a man and woman (1Corinthians 2.14). Naturally sinful from the mother’s womb (Psalm 51.5). Naturally sinful by practice (Genesis 6.5). I mean can he really save himself (Job 14.4; Jeremiah 13.23). Surely our race is helpless, hopeless and lost, unless someone greater, mightier than ourselves does something to help (Ephesians 2.1-8)?

Pilate’s words are lost in the wind of the people’s incited hatred (v14). Mob rule carries the day, “crucify him”. They catch the vibrations of Pilate’s indecisiveness, and drive him all the more, they are in control and they know it. One word of authoritative military command would have turned the situation round, brought it under control. But Pilate has no such moral courage (Matthew 27.24-25). Mark sums up the whole situation (v15). The Lord of glory is whipped and mocked, given over to the soldiers to be crucified. The people, the church, the state, Pilate, have made their choice. Have you made yours? About Jesus, I mean. What will you do with him?

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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