Read Mark 15:1-15
The chief priests have an issue – they want Jesus dealt with in the most extreme sense, they want him dead. However, they are also aware of their lack of power. Gone are the days when the Jewish people were able to govern themselves. Now they are under the power of the Roman Empire and whilst they had some power over the day-to-day laws and practices of Jewish culture, their real power came from Rome. The Chief Priests could not order the death penalty for anyone. Sure, a mob could rise up and kill someone, but the Chief Priests knew how popular Jesus was and an act of mob violence could result in a riot breaking out and right now the Chiefs Priests desired peace with the Roman Empire over everything else. The Jewish community was one of the greatest trouble makers in the Roman Empire and the Chiefs Priests were very much aware that they were on their last warning. If violence or rebellion broke out again it was more than likely that the army of the Empire would simply destroy Jerusalem and scatter the remaining remnant of the Jewish community forcefully throughout the empire. This was a risk the Chief Priests were not willing to take, so they had to find a way to convince the Roman Governor, Pilate, that the death of Jesus was necessary.
Pilate, as Roman Governor, was not interested in the fact that Jesus was accused of breaking Jewish laws. The Chief Priests realized that the only accusation that could carry weight with Pilate is Jesus’ claim to be King. The Roman Emperor was the sole supreme ruler of the Roman Empire and any claim to sovereignty by another was an act of treason punishable by death by crucifixion.
So Jesus is hauled before Pilate, who begins with the only question that could bring the death penalty to Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews?”. And Jesus’ response? “You say so”. I can’t help myself but react to this with ”Really, Jesus, really? You are being accused of a crime that could result in your death and you answer cryptically? Just say no, or explain the sort of King you are or something, anything but that”. But Jesus didn’t, he responded by reminding Pilate that it is was he that was making the accusation. Jesus hadn’t made any claims and didn’t make any during his trial, but he also refused to defend himself. Instead he stood sure in his knowledge of who he was and that what was to occur next was God’s plan. Because of Jesus’ steadfastness in the face of accusations Pilate was amazed. Are you willing also to stand firm in your faith in Jesus despite the accusations the world throws at you?
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- Who are some people who encourage you to follow Jesus?
- What are some things that you do (like going to church, KidsBiz, Ignite, Youth, bible study) that help you as you follow Jesus?
- Who can you encourage this week as they follow Jesus? This could be as simple as praying for them or with them, sending them a note, or finding another way to encourage them.
- How could you connect with someone (remembering social distancing) outside of your family to encourage or be a friend to this week?
Pray For Each Other
If you get a chance during the week sometime read Mark 15:6-15.