Summary: As Jesus stands before Pilate there are 4 questions that arise. And as we search for the answers to those questions, I believe we’ll see the love of God at work for you & for me. (Powerpoints available - Request #128)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #128.)
A. This morning I am going to be reading from the 15th chapter of Mark. This is the chapter that deals with the trials of Jesus before Pilate, & then His crucifixion.
A real danger we face in reading this is that it will be easy for us to throw our minds into neutral, thinking, "I've heard all this before."
I hope that will not be the case this morning. I pray that God's spirit will work through these words to help us see the great love of God that's working behind the scenes as we view once again the story of the cross.
In the 14th chapter of Mark the question that was being asked of Jesus was, "Are you the Prophet? Are you the Messiah we have been looking for?"
They saw the Messiah as one who would come & deliver them from Roman bondage - a great military leader. But Jesus came to deliver them from spiritual bondage. So they were disappointed because they didn't understand this.
B. The question of chapter 15 is slightly different. As Jesus appears before Pilate, the question he asks is, "Are you the King of the Jews?" (Mark 15:2)
As we look at the answer to that question, there are 4 other questions that arise in our minds.
First of all, "Why did Pilate react with amazement to the silence of Jesus?" Secondly, "Why did the crowd choose Barabbas & reject Jesus?" Then, "Why did Pilate scourge Jesus before His crucifixion?" Finally, "Why did the soldiers mock Him with such hatred & cruelty before they crucified Him?"
PROP. As we search for the answers to those 4 questions I believe we will be able to see the love of God at work in the cross.
I. "WHY DID PILATE REACT WITH AMAZEMENT TO THE SILENCE OF JESUS?"
A. #1, "Why did Pilate react with amazement to the silence of Jesus?" Listen to the first 5 verses of the 15th chapter of the Gospel of Mark.
"Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law & the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led Him away & handed Him over to Pilate. 'Are you the king of the Jews?' asked Pilate. 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied.
"The chief priests accused Him of many things. So again Pilate asked Him 'Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.' But Jesus made no reply, and Pilate was amazed."
As you remember, Jesus was arrested late at night in the Garden at Gethsemane & taken immediately to face trials before the high priests & the Sanhedrin. But Jewish law said that it was illegal to hold any trials at night.
So as soon as it was light the Sanhedrin met again to confirm the decisions illegally made during the night. They charged Jesus with blasphemy, of claiming to be the Son of God, & for that He must die.
But at that time in Israel only Roman authorities could impose the death penalty. And Pilate, the Roman Governor, wouldn't have paid any attention to that charge, considering it to be just another Jewish religious squabble.
So they had to come up with political charges against Jesus - charges that would concern the Roman authorities. The Gospel of Luke indicates that after much discussion they came up with 3 such charges.
They falsely charged Him with 3 crimes: Telling the people not to pay taxes to Rome; Claiming to be a king - King of the Jews; Stirring up the people all around the country. Tax evasion, treason, & rebellion - each of these would be cause for Roman concern.
B. The chief priests became very aggressive in their accusations. They heap one charge on top of another until finally Pilate stands back & asks Jesus, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of." But Jesus doesn't say a word to them, & Pilate is amazed.
Why was he amazed? I think Pilate was waiting for Jesus to answer these corrupt & hypocritical religious leaders. Always before when they had devised trick questions to use on Jesus, He had easily turned the tables on them & made them go away shaking their heads & looking very foolish in the eyes of the people.
You see, Jesus could have saved Himself! We have often noted that He could have called down legions of angels, & of course He could have. But all that Jesus really had to do at that moment was to speak up in his own defense before Pilate & I think Pilate would have set Him free.