Mark 15:5 “Pilate was amazed.”
Observation: Jesus found Himself in the belly of legal and religious systems run amok. Religious leaders clamored for His crucifixion while Pilate, the political leader, knew what a premium Rome put on keeping the peace at all costs. So what we have here was a merging of political and religious streams, both unrighteous, into a river of agreement on one thing: Jesus must die. Inexorable movement toward that decision, motivated and fed by their own insecurities, lead political and religious leaders to attempt to extinguish the purest source of love that had ever lived. Pilate seemed to have had some clarity about what was happening, but in his own weakness and fear, he willingly participated. He knew that envy motivated the chief priests (Mark 15:10). He knew Jesus had committed no crime worthy of death (verse 14), and he seemed to have some sense of what was at stake when he insisted that the dying Jesus be identified as “King of the Jews” (John 19:21–22).
Application: The Word says, “Pilate was amazed.” He had questioned Jesus as to the claim of His kingship, and Jesus had agreed with him (see verse 2). But after that, despite Pilate’s best effort to persuade Jesus to mount a defense against the growing demands for His death, Jesus remained silent. Pilate had never encountered a man like Jesus. Accustomed as he was to making life and death decisions over countless prisoners, he surely expected to hear pleas for mercy or protestations of innocence. But this prisoner, whom Pilate knew to be innocent, did not protest. He remained silent. There would be no pleading from the Lamb of God; in silence, He would become my scapegoat. Pilate could not know that Jesus looked beyond the cross, beyond the grave. In his ignorance, Pilate was amazed.
Jesus is silent before me, too. When I want to rail again life’s unfairness, my debates with Him are maddeningly one-sided. I do all the talking, staging defenses for my position, trying to justify past or planned behavior. But despite my best efforts, He will not be drawn into such conversation; the kingdom of God is not won by effective debating points. He simply waits. Arms open, He waits. He waits for me to go through my own death experience, to lay down my rights, to finally extinguish “self.” He waits for me to become so submerged into Him that we become indistinguishable. To decrease, so He might increase. Like Pilate, I am amazed.
Prayer: Lord, I am struck once again as to how completely finished is the work You came to do. Nothing remains except for me to yield.