Jesus Before Pilate

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

Mark 15:5

The head honchos of the Jews—that would be the Sanhedrin—didn’t have the authority to actually carry out a death sentence once they had condemned someone to death. So this second trial of Jesus takes place before Pilate. The Roman Government could issue and carry out a death sentence, but only for reasons of treason... not religious reasons like blasphemy. Yet, despite the fact that his life is on the line, Jesus utters just one sentence during the time his life is held in the hands of this Roman Governor acting as judge. Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” and Jesus replies, “Yes, it is as you say.” One sentence.

When the chief priests accuse Jesus of many other things, Pilate tries to bring out an answer from the one who stands accused. Pilate wants Jesus to defend himself, because if Jesus makes no defense, according to Roman law, Pilate will have to pronounce him guilty. You heard right: If Jesus says nothing in his defense, Pilate the Judge must, by law, find Jesus guilty. So when Jesus makes no attempt to say anything to deny his guilt or bring out his innocence, Mark’s gospel tells us Pilate is amazed.

The truth is God’s passion to save us runs through what seems like a hopeless and contrived situation before a human judge named Pilate. What Pilate doesn’t realize is this: In the eyes of God, the Truth needs no defense because for our sake, this perfectly innocent King makes us perfectly innocent, too.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What goes through your mind when you realize Jesus willingly chose not to defend himself? Describe the difference between using a word like “resignation” when Jesus is brought before Pilate, and “quiet passion.” How does this scene affect your devotion towards Jesus?

PRAYER: Jesus, when we say we’re speechless, we truly cannot find words. You were speechless

intentionally before Pilate, choosing to trust God for justice instead of humans. Thank you for displaying faith in the face of injustice. Great God, thank you for this foretelling scene of Kingdom of God justice, where a prisoner—although guilty—was set free, and a Savior—although innocent—was condemned. Holy Spirit, may we bow low with gratitude before the One who is passionate towards us. With humble but profound thanks, we ask and pray these things, Jesus, in your holy, saving name. Amen.