Intro: Mark; to be reminded who Jesus is, and what it means to follow Him. Last week, we saw Jesus
betrayed, deserted by His friends, surrounded by His enemies, and on trial for His life. Yet, amazingly, in the
middle of all of this, Jesus confessed that that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and He is in control!
This morning, Jesus' journey to the Cross continues.
Are You the King of the Jews? (Read Mark 15:1-5.)
Very early in the morning, the Sanhedrin bind Jesus and bring Him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who
governed Judea at that time. The Jewish leaders presented Pilate w/ their formal charge: Jesus had claimed to be
the King of the Jews, (they've politicized His claim to be the "Messiah.") This would be considered a treasonous
crime against the Roman Caesar, deserving of crucifixion. Pilate asks Jesus if He is the King of the Jews. Jesus'
answer is a reserved affirmative, signaling that He isn't the type of "king" the Sanhedrin are accusing Him of
being. Lacking a direct confession from Jesus, Pilate turns back to the chief priests, who heap up the
accusations. When Pilate turns back to Jesus to hear Jesus' rebuttal, Jesus remains silent. Pilate is absolutely
Application: You and I may find Jesus Christ amazing, even admirable. But is that the same as following Him?
Do You Want Me to Release the King of the Jews? (Read Mark 15:6-11.)
There was a custom during the Passover feast that the Romans would release one of the Jewish prisoners; a
"goodwill" gesture. A crowd of Jews come to Pilate asking him to release a prisoner. Pilate believes Jesus is
innocent; he suspects the motives of the chief priests, ("envy"/"self-interest,") and he doesn't want to be used
by them to accomplish their own ends. So Pilate offers to release Jesus to the crowd; (notice he calls Him "the
king of the Jews!") However, there is an actual Jewish revolutionary named Barabbas imprisoned, too. The Jewish
leaders incite the crowd to call for Barabbas, not Jesus, to be released!
Application: You and I may believe Jesus Christ is "innocent." We may believe that those who set themselves
against Jesus are dishonest about their agendas. But is that the same as following Him?
What Shall I Do with the King of the Jews? (Read Mark 15:12-15.)
Pilate has been outmaneuvered by the chief priests. The crowd has chosen Barabbas instead of Jesus. Pilate now has
to sentence Jesus; the charge demands execution. Believing Jesus to be innocent, Pilate tries to enlist the
crowd's help to reduce Jesus' sentence. Pilate calls out, likely in a mocking manner: "What shall I do with the
one you call the King of the Jews!" If the crowd would have laughed, or even shouted out, "He's no king!",
Pilate may have been able to reduce the sentence. However, the crowd calls for Jesus' crucifixion, and continues
to do so, despite Pilate's protest that Jesus is innocent. Pilate finally sends Jesus off to be crucified. b/c he
wants to "satisfy the crowd." Why? Pilate was in a difficult place, politically. His higher ups had already begun
to question his treatment of his Jewish subjects, especially during times of riot. If he let the crowd get out of
hand again, Pilate's job, and likely his life, would be on the line! By pacifying the crowd, Pilate chose his own
self-interest above justice! He put himself before Jesus!
Application: You and I may find Jesus Christ amazing, even admirable. You and I may believe Jesus Christ is
"innocent." We may believe that those who set themselves against Jesus are dishonest. But is that the same as
following Him? No. You can't follow Jesus if you're putting yourself before Jesus! Jesus went to the
cross to die for you. Isn't it time to start living for Him?