Summary: Who is to blame for Jesus’ death? You are.
Who Is Responsible For The Death Of Jesus?
Sit down and watch the evening news, pen up the morning paper or listen to the radio while driving to work and there is the topic: Who is responsible for the death of Jesus? I never thought that would be news.
Have you noticed: No one wants to take responsibility. Amazing.
The same thing was happening in Jesus day. The world never changes.
This morning we continue our series through the end of the Gospel of Mark. So we are faced with dealing with the question: Who is to blame for the death of Jesus?
Was it Pilate?
Was it the Priests?
Was it the People?
Actually it is more complicated – and very serious. We are not simply dealing with a physical act here. here is a spiritual battle going on.
When we think of the life of Jesus, we need to understand more than just what he has done, we need to understand what is going on behind it. In this section of Scripture we again find out more about who Jesus is more in what he doesn’t say – than in what he does say.
This morning let’s take a look at the different people involved with Jesus to see if we can get a handle of what is happening:
Verse 1. the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin reached a decision. Their decision is to condemn Jesus.
But they cannot condemn him to death, they are occupied by a foreign government so they have to get the Romans to kill Jesus. We will get back to the Jewish authorities later….For now we see that Pilate receives Jesus because he is the authority in the land.
Who was Pilate? Pontius Pilate – essentially he was governor over the region. Both Josephus and Philo tell us he had a cruel disposition, was inflexible, stubborn. His reign was racked with bribery, executions without trail, misappropriation of funds and on and on. There is a long list of incidents ending with the massacre of Samaritans on a pilgrimage, who were following a prophet up a mountain. He blocked their way with calvary. Those not killed, were captured and executed.
Rome recalled him – It is thought that he was banished to France.
He had his capitol in Caesarea by the sea– he hated Jerusalem and was only traveling through during this time. He took up residence during the holidays – to keep a watch on the Temple. He was very concerned with uprisings. See, Passover celebrates freedom from Egypt - Freedom from oppression - which the Romans happend to be doing.Passover was a time of year where riots and uprisings tended to happen.
It is very apparent Pilate worked with the high priest Caiaphas. A large sum of money was taken by Pilate from the temple treasury to build and aqueduct. As a result riots occurred many people died. Now it was clear that he could not have done this without inside help. Not without permission, not without assistance. So it is no coincident that, later, when Pilate is removed, so is Caiaphas in 37 AD. These two weren’t friends, or business partners, or associates - they just used each other for political purposes.
Judea – was known for its instability and Rome did not want to deal with it. They wanted Pilate to keep the peace or else. This is Pilate’s mindset as he interrogates Jesus. Keep in mind: Pilate is not moved by fairness, mercy, good administration. He has one thing in mind: how can I turn this situation into a political advantage?
So Jesus is brought to him. Verse 2. “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. King of the Jews is a Roman designation. Perhaps he is reading the charges and speaks in astonishment. The intonation of his question is with mockery. Perhaps he was expecting someone more impressive. You have got to be kidding.
Jesus’ reply really is this: Yes – you don’t know how true it is. meaning there is much behind that statement. The priests pick up on this and start throwing out accusations. They understand (verse 3).
Why is Pilate amazed at Jesus lack of defense? (verse 4-5) Imagine how many men were brought before him Roman culture held high appreciation for this quality. It seems Jesus is turning out to be more than Pilate bargained for. He thought this would be easy: Make points with the high priest - Move on. But it is becoming clear to Pilate that people might follow these qualities.
Why does Jesus do this? To fulfill prophecy. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.