Jesus before Pilate: Pilate gambled with Jesus life – when the crowd demanded Barabbas’ release, and that Jesus be crucified, Pilate cries out, “Why? What crime has he committed?” he reveals that he knows that he has been cornered into executing an innocent man. How did the chief priests convince the crowd to demand Barabbas’ release? Had they gathered a mob of their own supporters for this early morning affair, counting on getting Jesus sentenced before most of Jerusalem knew he was arrested? Did they convince the crowd that Pilate was testing their loyalty to Rome, and asking for “the King of the Jews” to be released would be considered treasonous? Between Pilate trying to outsmart the Religious leaders, and the crowd being swayed by their leader’s manipulation, Jesus was unjustly sentenced. But this trial does not really result in a guilty verdict against Jesus, but it is the politicians, religious leaders, the mob and sadistic soldiers who are shown to be guilty of a travesty of justice. It is fitting that all kinds of human sin cause the death of Jesus. What is worthy of Praise, is Jesus’ readiness to die to save these miscreants (and us as well)!
The Crucifixion: When Jesus is crucified he is offered wine mixed with myrhh/gall. This drink was a painkiller/sedative, and was effectively poison on the cross – a way of ending the suffering more quickly (you can read elsewhere how the cross killed when the victim could no longer push himself up to breath). It might have been offered in genuine sympathy for this innocent victim, already beaten and bloodied, or the soldiers may have wanted to hasten his death to shorten their shift. Either way, Jesus was not willing to hasten the end of his life by poison. He would not die ‘by his own hand.’
The soldiers got the ‘bonus’ of the clothing of the executed men, and the text records their callousness, as they gamble for it while the men are dying overhead.
Everyone, even the other men being crucified mock Jesus, the suffering and rejection are complete.
Finally after 6 hours on the cross, Jesus cries out words from the 22nd Psalm, he is offered a drink- this time vinegar, sour wine, then he breathes his last and dies.
Mark records what happened at the temple, and the centurion’s exclamation, and notes the women who were witnesses of Jesus death. Then we are told about the burial. Notice that Joseph was a prominent member of the Council, yet was a believer. Though the Gospels identify many Pharisees, Sadducees and priests as enemies of Jesus, there are still others who accepted the message of repentance from their sin, and had put their faith in Jesus. We can be pretty sure that when the chief priests held their ‘trial’ that only select members of the Ruling Council were invited!
Lord, thank you that people from all walks of life turned to Jesus. You truly do love all people. We are so glad that the message of the Gospel has turned our hearts to you!