Scripture: A reading from the Gospel of Mark (15:1-15)
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so.’ Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, ‘Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.’ But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Insults, false witnesses, and distortions of his teaching smacked Jesus in the face at his trial. Those who desperately needed to get rid of him to avoid the change he proclaimed did everything they could to turn the tables in their favour. Meanwhile, Jesus stood there patiently, watching, listening, allowing it all to unfold.
Millennia later, we recognise that this was an unfair trial. We know that some individuals abused their power and influence to get what they wanted. To what extent can this moment be held up like a mirror to those times when we cry out in frustration because of distorted perspectives that abuse the circumstances to gain favour? What can we still learn from this story and apply in our own context to ensure that truth prevails? In what ways do we continually work to ensure that we don’t get sucked into these moments and cry out with the crowd ‘crucify him!’?
Prayer: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Christ the Lord became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Amen. (BAS p. 308)
Next: Stop 9: The Crucifixion