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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pilate wanted to please the people. So Pilate freed Barabbas for them. And Pilate told the soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then Pilate gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.
— Mark 15:15
Illustration of Mark 15:15 — Pilate wanted to please the people. So Pilate freed Barabbas for them. And Pilate told the soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then Pilate gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.

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, 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. 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 you will redeem every injustice brought upon your people at your chosen time. Give me the faith and strength to endure such times 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.

Today's Verses in Context

Very early in the morning, the leading priests, the older Jewish leaders, the teachers of the law, and all the Jewish council decided what to do with Jesus. They tied Jesus and led him to Pilate, {the governor}. They gave Jesus to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Yes, that is right." The leading priests accused Jesus of many things. So Pilate asked Jesus another question. Pilate said, "You can see that these people are accusing you of many things. Why don't you answer?" But Jesus still did not answer. Pilate was very surprised at this. Every year at the Passover time the governor would free one person from the prison. He would free any person the people wanted him to free. At that time, there was a man named Barabbas in prison. He was in prison with the rebels. These rebels were guilty of murder during a riot. The people came to Pilate and asked him to free a prisoner like he always did. Pilate asked the people, "Do you want me to free the king of the Jews?" Pilate knew that the leading priests had given Jesus to him because they were jealous of Jesus. But the leading priests persuaded the people to ask Pilate to free Barabbas, not Jesus. Pilate asked the people again, "So what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?" The people shouted, "Kill him on a cross!" Pilate asked, "Why? What wrong has he done?" But the people shouted louder and louder, "Kill him on a cross!" Pilate wanted to please the people. So Pilate freed Barabbas for them. And Pilate told the soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then Pilate gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.

Mark 15:1-15

Related Scripture Readings

Then Pilate ordered that Jesus be taken away and be whipped. The soldiers used some thorny branches to make a crown. They put this crown of thorns on Jesus' head. Then the soldiers put a purple robe around Jesus. The soldiers came to Jesus many times and said, "Hello, O king of the Jews!" They hit Jesus in the face. Again Pilate came out and said to the Jewish leaders, "Look! I am bringing Jesus out to you. I want you to know that I find nothing I can charge against him." Then Jesus came out. He was wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is the man!" When the leading priests and the Jewish guards saw Jesus they yelled, "Kill him on a cross! Kill him on a cross!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and nail him to a cross yourselves. I find nothing I can charge against him." The Jewish leaders answered, "We have a law that says he must die, because he said that he is the Son of God." When Pilate heard this, he was more afraid. Pilate went back inside the palace. He asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus did not answer him. Pilate said, "You refuse to speak to me? Remember, I have the power to make you free. I also have the power to kill you on a cross." Jesus answered, "The only power you have over me is the power given to you by God. So the man who gave me to you is guilty of a greater sin." After this, Pilate tried to let Jesus go free. But the Jewish leaders yelled, "Any person who makes himself a king is against Caesar. So if you let this man (Jesus) go free, that means you are not Caesar's friend." Pilate heard what these Jews said. So he brought Jesus out to the place called "The Stone Pavement." (In the Jewish language the name is "Gabbatha.") Pilate sat down on the judge's seat there. It was now almost noon on Preparation day of Passover week. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your king!" They yelled, "Take him away! Take him away! Kill him on a cross!" Pilate asked them, "Do you want me to kill your king on across?" The leading priests answered, "The only king we have is Caesar !" So Pilate gave Jesus to them to be killed on a cross. The soldiers took Jesus.

John 19:1-16

"My Jewish brothers, listen to these words: Jesus from Nazareth was a very special man. God clearly showed this to you. God proved this by the powerful and amazing things he did through Jesus. You all saw these things. So you know this is true. Jesus was given to you, and you killed him. With the help of bad men you nailed Jesus to a cross. But God knew all this would happen. This was God's plan. God made this plan long ago.

Acts 2:22-23

Now do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No! God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:10


About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.