Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mark 15:1-5 The Lord Jesus before Pilate

Mark 15:1-5
1 Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.” 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. 4 Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” 5 But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.

With the high priests Annas’ and Caiaphas’ “inquiries” complete. The chief priests hold a **consultation with the elders, scribes and the whole council; that is the Sanhedrin council, early in the morning. The verdict having been already reached, their consultation then is only how to present a case against Jesus to Pilate the Roman governor, so that he would put Jesus to death (Matt. 27:1). Therefore having come to agreement, they bound Jesus as a condemned criminal, lead Him away, and deliver Him to Pilate the Roman governor. Now Pilate’s complete inquiry of Jesus is recorded in John gospel (See 18:28-19:16). While Pilate’s abbreviated inquiry of Jesus here in Mark focuses on one just point: “Are You the King of the Jews?” vs. 2 for it is on that point Jesus Christ will be crucified. Jesus’ response though to Pilate’s inquiry is not to declare Himself King of the Jews; rather just to reply to his questioning him about this by saying, “It is as you say.” vs. 3

Now that is what Jesus also did during His orchestrated trial; when He was being accused by false witnesses before the high priest earlier on (Matt. 26:59-68). So when Jesus did not respond to their accusations, the high priest in frustration put Jesus under oath demanding that Jesus declare Himself to be the Christ the Son of the Living God in their presence (Matt. 26:63). Instead though Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matt. 26:64 And with Jesus’ declaration the high priest unjustly charges Jesus with blasphemy, so that they could condemn Him under the Law of Moses (Matt. 26:65-68).

Therefore Jesus while never denying His Person before any of them, does not self incriminate Himself either, as they would have desired. Nor does He respond to any of their accusations, to which Pilate marveled (Mark 15:5); so that His purpose in coming forth, to bear witness to the truth, is not lost through any of them (John 18:37). Instead Jesus simply affirms that Pilate’s question to Him about His Person and Position is indeed a correct assertion of who He is. Yet Jesus is far more than just the King of Jews; as Jesus Himself by His Word's, Works, and all the Scriptures declare Him to be (Matt. 2:2; 2:6; 21:5; 22:1-14; 25:31-46). He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:15-20) and therefore His Kingship is by no means limited to just the Jews (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15; Rev. 15:3; 17:14; 19:16).

Now in regards to Jesus accepting the title “King of Jews” i.e. the Messiah (John 1:40-42; 4:25; 6:69; Luke 4:40-41), yet he did not use it Himself during His ministry. He even forbid His disciples from openly declaring Him to be the Christ when that revelation of Himself was given by God to the Apostle Peter (Mark 8:29-30). Since it was a charged statement; both amongst the Jews and the Romans. To the average Jew it meant the Messiah had come to deliver them from the Romans which would inevitably lead to some sort of insurgency. Something Jesus as the Prince of Peace did not come to usher in (John 6:14). While to Romans it meant that someone other than Caesar was seeking to rule in the empire. And thus there was a threat to empire that needed to be quelled. However to the Jewish ruling classes, especially the priestly classes (Luke 20:9-19), it would mean an end to their tenure’s and the privileges that they enjoyed under Roman rule (John 11:45-54).
And thus Jesus was to them the greatest threat to the "status quo." Since Jesus did not come to affirm it as it then was. But rather He was going to radically transform it as His Right and Heir of all things entitled Him to. Therefore Jesus was inevitably viewed as a threat by all the ruling classes regardless of their theological stripe, which made their uniting against Him not only possible, but inevitable.

No clearer, and horrific example of this can be seen then at Jesus’ birth which troubled both Herod and those of Jerusalem, the epicenter of Jewish religious rule and authority. For when news reached him that the King of the Jews had been born, Herod after first ascertaining where the Christ was to be born from the chief priests; but failing to deceive the wise men into revealing the Christ child to him. Will then put to death all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem and its districts in an attempt to destroy the Christ, whom he saw as the key revival to his own tenure. And thus in so doing he fulfills the Scriptures (Matt. 2:1-18); just as the chief priests and Jewish elders with Pilate are doing here regarding Jesus Christ’s Person by their serving their own evil designs and self preserving ends. If then Rome epitomizes the ruthlessness of secular rule and power apart from God; than the Sanhedrin, the chief priests and Jewish elder’s who are orchestrating Jesus crucifixion, represent the worst of the religious (John 8:42-47).

Therefore Jesus though affirming Pilate’s question, that He is indeed the King of the Jews will go on to say to him that His Kingdom is not of this world. For if it were as the Lord Jesus said, His servants would fight (See John 18:36-37). That is why Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for striking the high priests servant with the sword and cutting of his ear when they came to arrest Him. Since Jesus Christ did not come to establish an earthly Kingdom by force of arms (Matt. 26:52). Nor did He come as a political savvy leader who by intrigue and manipulation will bring about His desired end. The things the “power brokers” of this world are skillful at and engage in, our Lord and Savior did not do. For His calling, as is ours, is not exaltation by our own designs, but humiliation, so that ultimately God may be glorified in our redemption (Consider Luke 14:7-11; John 3:30; Rom. 3:24-26). Sadly then Jesus Christ’s Person and calling is who Israel missed during His first visitation to them. For the Messiah they sought and longed for was not the One God sent to them. For God’s Messiah Jesus, is Lord and the Savior of all nations, (Acts 10:34-43). For Jesus Christ is first God’s foretold Suffering Servant sent to bear our sins and transgressions on the cross (Isaiah 53) of both Jews and Gentile’s (Rom. 1:16-17). That is who Jesus Christ is, God’s Son and Sacrificial Lamb whose shed blood provides the atonement for every sinners sins when we believe in Him. Then He is God's exalted King and Ruler of all nations which will be ushered in when God puts all His enemies under His feet (Mark 12:35-37). Jesus Christ as God's conquering and Ruling Messiah then is yet to be fulfilled (Rev. 19:11-16).

Therefore Jesus’ Mission (as is ours) is first to bear witness to the truth so that all who hear and believe, might be saved from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). Yet that declaration of Jesus’ Person that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God by which salvation comes to the individual and which the church is built upon (Matt. 16:15-20). Was not to be publicly rendered by Jesus Christ’s disciples until Christ had died for our sins on the cross then He rose from dead on the third day. Therefore until the Scriptures were fulfilled the Lord Jesus Christ uses the Title, either the Son of Man or the Son of God. And so it will be Jesus’ declaration of His being the Son of God to Pilate while Pilate is questioning Him will cause Pilate to fear putting Jesus to death, and initially try to bring about Jesus’ release. For having examined Jesus repeatedly, Pilate finds no fault in Him. (John 19:1-6). Only when the chief priests threaten Pilate with Roman law repercussions, does Pilate acquiesce to their desires to crucify Jesus (John 19:7-16).
In between though is Pilate’s frustration and growing trepidation at Jesus’ silence in the face of the chief priest’s lethal accusations. So that even when prompted by Pilate to reply to their testifying against Him, Jesus would not, causing Pilate to marvel greatly (vs. 5). For Pilate assumed he had power to crucify Jesus or power to release Him. Nonetheless we know that it was the will of God for these things to occur so that through Jesus’ death on the cross we might all have life through in Him. Therefore Pilate though under Roman auspices only had power to do what was within God’s designs for Jesus, to save us from our sins (See John 19:10-11). And that is the Divine paradox which brings forth the Divine Redemption, by allowing evil and ruthless men do their will to His Son; God would be able to open the doors of heaven to us all who believe. The Lord Jesus’ silence here then is simply obedience to that will. And so it is only because of Jesus’ ongoing and continuous obedience to God the Father’s will that we now have salvation brought to us.

The question then is have you believed what God has done through His Son to save you? For you can’t be good enough to earn it; “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Rom. 3:23 Nor you can you have been bad enough to be disqualified from it. For Jesus Christ's crucifixion on our behalf qualifies everyone. Therefore you can have what God created you for. And that is everlasting life with Himself through His Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

If you’d like to have that relationship with God. Why not invite Jesus Christ His Son into your heart and life. By praying a simple prayer in faith you can! Simply pray something that reflects your desire to do so:
Dear Loving Father, it’s been a long and lonely time on the outside, but now I want to be on the inside, Your side. For I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for me on the cross so that You might be able to forgive me all my sins and give me everlasting life. Therefore I now invite you Lord Jesus Christ into my heart and life to be my Lord and Savior. In your Precious Name Jesus, amen.

Having then believed and thus received what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us all. We as Jesus Christ's disciples are to daily walk with Jesus, bearing our own “crosses” and live lives of self denial for the Kingdom of heaven’s sake (Luke 9:23-27; 14:27). Yet God is not asking us to build His Kingdom on earth by the strength or skill of our own hands. He is rather commanding us all to look to His Son Jesus Christ crucified, so that we might all enter into what He is building, the church, His Body of Believers from every tongue, tribe and nation. Indwelt by His Son through the Spirit of God and thus united in Spirit, focus and purpose in the declaring and building of the Kingdom of God on earth by keeping the Lord Jesus Christ’s commandments. Since that is what discipleship is, and what it achieves, the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. For as the Lord Jesus Christ brought forth and displayed the Kingdom of God on earth to all by both His Word's and His Works, so must we by ours (John 14:12). Therefore first we enter into the Lord Jesus Christ's commanded rest from trying to earn salvation for ourselves (Rom. 4:4-5; Heb. 4). Then we; having received what Jesus has done to save us by trusting in His crucifixion death then resurrection from the dead, and thus being saved by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8-9); we enter into His service with the Spirit gifts and talents He gives to us. But more than just service, as if that were the point of discipleship, since serving God and others is not an end in of itself. Rather the point is the growth and edification of the whole body of Believers in love. That is the point of our serving God and each other with whatever gifts and talents God has endowed and entrusted to us (Gal. 5:13; Eph. 4:21-22). For anything less inevitably leads to a self directed ministry which inevitably focuses on multiplying itself, and or its own works, for its own gain. Therefore “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” Eph. 2:20 we all are to keep Jesus Christ’s New Commandment to love one another as He loves us, for that epitomizes the New Covenant ministry entrusted to us all (John 13:34-35).

Scripture Quotations:
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

Word Studies
** sumboulion under sumbouleuo G.K. 5205, page 543 NIDNTT

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