The chief priests and the Hebrew council stood before Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judea, and accused Jesus of any crime they thought might stick, the most damaging his claim to be King of the Jews, a crime that carried sentence of death. “‘Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you,’” asked Pilate. But Jesus made no further answer” (Mark 15:4-5). It was as if he was determined to go to the cross.
Pilate thought him innocent, however, and had an idea. Each year at the Passover feast, Pilate would release one prisoner of Israel’s choice. Pilate offered Jesus, they chose Barabbas, “so Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified” (Mark 15:15), because whenever we choose to satisfy the crowds, we inevitably crucify Jesus.
Even while on the cross, Israel’s chief priests and scribes continued to jeer, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:31-32), as if he could not. It was, rather, that he would not. They were looking for the wrong sign.
“No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” ~John 10:18
What the religious leaders failed to see is what the centurion saw and believed. The centurion had seen many men die. No man, not one, had died like Jesus. “And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:39).
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~Hebrews 12:2
Lord God, You are awesome. You took the cross, exploded from the tomb, conquered death, defeated Satan, and rescued us from sin. You are risen, You are alive, and You are King.
You truly are the way, the truth, and the life. You are Savior. There is no other Name under heaven by which we may be saved, not because you could not, but because you would not come down. You stayed on the cross. You humbly died for me. May I boldly live for You. You are the King.