Tuesday, August 14th. Mark 15:6-15

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. Mark 15:6-15


Now the trial shifts to the crowd.  Guilty!


It is the crowd that asks Pilate to release Barabbas.  The crowd shouts, “Crucify him!”  The crowd that has no answer to the question of what exactly Jesus is guilty of and deserving death for.  The crowd then takes responsibility off the shoulders of Pilate – which ever remains the quickest and easiest way for politicians to shirk responsibility in their offices…just do what the electorate wants rather than what is good, right, and true…whether the electorate wants it or not.


Pilate isn’t interested in keeping the peace (the presence of justice); he just cares about keeping the peace (an orderly crowd.)  Like Bill Cosby would say about parents, “We aren’t interested in peace and justice, we just want peace and quiet.”


So Jesus is flogged and handed over to the executioners.  (Such an antiseptic word, “flog”, for the inhuman practice of skillfully tearing the flesh off a defenseless person’s back.  This practice still happens around the world today and it still remains an arrogant, humiliating, abusive practice of the powerful imposed on the powerless rather than a tool of justice.)


No one speaks up for Jesus.  No one shouts to shout down the crowd.


The  crowd chooses a murderer over the Savior.


Ironic, isn’t it, that even the decision to condemn Jesus meant freedom for the condemned?


Let us pray:  Lord, you were scorned, rejected, yet with your stripes we are healed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


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