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Twisting the Truth

Mark 15:1-2

For many people who have been wrestling with a problem, coming to a decision is a big relief: even if the decision is wrong!  The religious court had already agreed that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy by admitting to be the Messiah (Mark 14:61-62), and that according to the Jewish law, He should be put to death by stoning (Leviticus 24:14-16).

Ignoring the Truth

Mark 15:3-5

'Over-egging the pudding' is a quaint English expression which means, 'to ruin something by putting too much into it'.  That was the problem with the religious lawyers.  Once they had Pilate's ear (and the accusation of treason was not to be dismissed lightly), they then poured out the venom that was in their hearts: many lies, half-truths and twisted truths.  Today, the muddle of so-called evidence would easily be torn apart by defence attorneys.  And Pilate was not impressed either (Luke 23:4).  Any objective observer would see that Jesus' accusers were using all the verbal sticks they co

Manipulated into Wrong Decisions

Mark 15:6-8

Power in Israel was delicately balanced between the Roman occupiers and the Jewish leaders who were held responsible to control the people or lose their privileges (John 11:48).  The Romans, as well as being invaders and economic beneficiaries of all their conquered territory, saw themselves as benefactors and generously agreed not to violate social customs or religious traditions.  To demonstrate this to the people, Pilate had agreed to release one Jewish prisoner each year.  

Making Truthful Decisions

Mark 15:9-11

Here is the anxious voice of a man on the horns of a dilemma.

Ungodly Decision-Making

Mark 15:12-15

From anxiety to desperation: Pilate's voice may have reached a higher pitch as the trap closed around him.  Instead of issuing a right verdict, he thrashes around like a fish in a net and offers himself to the judgement of the crowd; and of all history.  Of course, the discussion about Barabbas was a ploy to avoid the real subject, Jesus (Mark 15:6-8).   Pilate may have hoped the crowd would be on the side of justice and truth, but the angry mob's insistent demand killed truth and obliterated the voice of Pilate's conscience.

Mocked Because Of The Truth

Mark 15:16-18

The soldiers were not part of the judicial decision-making process. They simply had to carry out the sentence on the prisoner.

Wounding the Saviour

Mark 15:19-20

The repetition of abuse against Jesus showed that each blow was no accidental slip up; no unintentional insult.  Spitting was not just an objectionable habit - this was the Eastern way to show personal disgust - that the spat-on person was declared rejected (Isaiah 50:6), the lowest of the low.  Even the purple robe was too good for Jesus, in their eyes.  There was no dignity left, no part of His body unstained with blood.  His precious head was not just pierced with thorns, but also battered with poles.  And then they still had to crucify Him.

Witnesses to the Next Generation

Mark 15:21-22

Cyrene has more mentions in the Bible than most people would expect (see also Acts 2:10, Acts 6:9, Acts 11:20, Acts 13:1).  Now known as Tripoli in Libya, this early Greek colony had encouraged Jewish settlement, but by Jesus' time the Jews were oppressed and restless.  Although they saw Israel as 'home' they felt like aliens everywhere - a good grounding for missionary work!  Simon was one of those Jews who had travelled to Jerusalem for the feast, as many others did at Pentecost (Acts 2:10).  His experience was to change his family too.

Getting or Giving?

Mark 15:23-24

"What's in it for me?".  Although this is the theme-song of global materialism, it is totally opposite to Jesus' attitude at the cross (Philippians 2:4-8).  His execution was no sanitised or anaesthetised death cell experience; that was not how He planned it.  And, yes, Jesus was fully involved with the Father and the Spirit in planning this crucial moment in history (Acts 2:22-24).  To take the sins of the world, He needed to experience all of His Father's wrath against every sin that had ever been, and would be, committed.


Mark 15:25-30

There were three crosses that day.  The Man nailed to a cross-piece on the central pole was Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Messiah (Christ).  The men impaled either side were rebels.  How they rebelled we do not know, but the original word indicates that they set out to get what they could for themselves.  They were caught in their misdeeds, sentenced and then hung in agony suffering the punishment they deserved.  Jesus, however, had done nothing wrong but set out to take the punishment that we deserved.