What Jesus Did! 'Anxious to Please the Crowd' — Mark 15:15

Sunday, December 1, 2024

So to pacify the crowd [that wanted Jesus to be crucified], Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
— Mark 15:15 NLT

Key Thought

Pilate knows Jesus is innocent, yet gives in totally to the wishes of the mob — he first has Jesus scourged ("flogged with a lead-tipped whip") and then turns Jesus over to be crucified. Why does he do it? Pilate has to keep Rome happy by maintaining order. To maintain order, Pilate has to appease the crowd. Even though he has already pronounced Jesus not guilty of any crime (John 19:6), Pilate has the final say. In his mind, his word is law. In the eyes of the crowd, Pilate's word is law. Jesus, however, knows that Pilate has no power to act, rule, or enforce his verdict apart from God's granting him that power. Pilate is a puppet who cannot recognize that he acts in concert with the crowd's will, Rome's desire, and God's plan for our salvation. Jesus is allowed to be crucified — both by Pilate, to appease the crowd which is being manipulated by the religious leaders, and also by God, who is using this horrifying event to save the world. If God can bring such a great redemption out of such an unfair injustice, imagine what he can do with our suffering for his sake.

Today's Prayer

O God, you are the Almighty, the one in control even when I cannot see your control. Help me to understand that, at your chosen time, you will redeem every injustice brought on your people. Give me the faith and strength to endure times of injustice and the courage to live my life in the hope that even if the scales of justice are not balanced in my lifetime, they will be at the end of time. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 19:1-16
  • Acts 2:22-23
  • Galatians 1:10


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Illustration of Mark 15:15 NLT — So to pacify the crowd [that wanted Jesus to be crucified], Pilate released Barabbas to them.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.