Summary: And so it goes public . . . Jesus, a good man, could not be tried for cause - so the court of public opinion, manipulated by his enemies, was used by ungodly people to do their dirty work.
MARK SERMON XII – TRAVESTY TO MAJESTY – MARK 14:53---16:8
Series Within A Series
PART THREE – EARLY DAYLIGHT HOURS: “What crime has he committed?”
MARK 15:1-13 . . .
Often, we associate morning with fresh air and a feeling of invigoration. There were times during your lifetime when you waited for morning to break so that you could start a new day of opportunity . . . clear thinking . . . decision making . . . going about a daily routine . . . taking medications . . . exercising . . . watching favorite TV shows . . . visiting with family and friends . . . enjoying life!
When I was a child, mama used to say to me as she forced a dose of castor oil down me, “Tomorrow morning things will be better.” I would stay awake all night waiting for morning to come!
When daylight finally broke on that fateful Friday morning during the Passion of Jesus, rather than get better, things went from bad to worse as our Lord was hauled off to be tried by the Roman procurator (the “puppet” who managed the affairs of Jerusalem on behalf of Caesar) - Mark 15:1-5 . . .
We feel compelled to ask, why did “they” hand Jesus over to a civil authority? And that was the basic question which Pilate sought an answer to. But, as this travesty of justice moved along, it became evident that “they” wanted Jesus out of the way via death. However, “they” had no authority to carry out the death penalty; it had to be imposed by the Roman governor and carried out by Roman authorities.
Luke’s account of this sorry saga tells us just how deep the bitterness of Jewish rulers was toward Jesus – Luke 23:4-10 . . .
Keep in mind that the initial charge brought by the Sanhedrin had been “blasphemy” – insulting the Lord God by claiming to be the Son of God.. But that was NOT the charge they brought against Jesus when they went before Pilate. Why? Because they knew very well that the procurator would have had nothing to do with a charge which he could have considered a Jewish religious spat.
So, “they” reframed (reworded) the accusation to make it sound like Jesus was inciting a rebellion against Rome – which of course was about as far from the truth as one could get: “He stirs up the people . . . forbids his followers to pay tribute to Caesar . . . calls himself king.”
“They” knew that the charge of inciting rebellion was a lie – and so did Pilate. The Roman governor Herod also knew it was a lie. (The governor just happened to be in town – a circumstance that gave Pilate a chance to “pass the buck” since it had been established that Jesus was a Galilean).
Well, according to Luke, Herod was delighted to meet Jesus; he had heard about Him and considered Him to be fascinating. But, to the dismay of the enemies of Jesus, neither did Herod find any basis whatsoever for the charges against “the Galilean”. Back to Pilate they go!
Now that the procurator had hold of a political “hot potato” he tried in vain to placate Jewish haters of Jesus by asking Jesus a question that, if answered in the affirmative, would have played right into Pilate’s hands so that Jesus could be considered a “threat” to the Roman Empire.
“Are you King of the Jews?” Jesus did not say yes or no. Instead he said, “It is you who say so.” Barclay’s take on Jesus’ answer is instructive: “I may have claimed to be King of the Jews; but sir, you know very well that the interpretation my accusers put on that claim is not my interpretation. For, sir, I am no political revolutionary. My kingdom is a kingdom of love.”
Sensing that Jesus was being looked upon favorably by Pilate, more accusations were hurled at him – which brought more questions from Pilate – but this time Jesus answered nothing, and remained completely silent!
Folks, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There is a time when silence speaks more eloquently than words! Silence can say things that words can never say; this was one of those times.
There is the “golden silence” of: not answering since certain arguments or excuses are not worthy of an answer . . . bearing one’s hurt feelings without lashing out in anger . . . tragedy when there is nothing that can be said to change the situation.
These aspects of silence were present in this tragic situation inasmuch as Jesus knew that there could be no bridge between himself and people who hated him . . . there was nothing in Pilate’s character to which he could appeal . . . the lines of communication had been irreparably broken . . . the hatred of his enemies was like an “iron curtain” which no words could penetrate . . . the cowardice of Pilate, in the face of a mob, was a barrier no words could pierce.