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Mark 15:9

ESV And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”
NIV Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?' asked Pilate,
NASB Pilate answered them, saying, 'Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?'
CSB Pilate answered them, "Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you? "
NLT Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?' Pilate asked.
KJV But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

What does Mark 15:9 mean?

The Sanhedrin, the Jewish council, charges that Jesus claims to be "King of the Jews," and Pilate repeats the title as if he believes it is true (Mark 15:12; John 19:14–15). Accusing Jesus of treason is a safe bet, as Galileans have rebelled before. But both Pilate (Luke 23:14) and Herod Antipas (Luke 23:15), the tetrarch of Galilee, have interviewed Jesus. Despite the shouts of the crowd during the triumphal entry (Mark 11:9–10), neither Pilate nor Herod Antipas believe Jesus is planning to try to challenge Caesar in Judea.

By repeatedly calling Jesus "King of the Jews," Pilate is goading the crowd. Doing so tricks the Sanhedrin and the mob to admit Jesus is not a real threat. At first, the Jews don't respond to the title, but eventually the chief priests cry out, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15). Pilate knows their issue is envy (Mark 15:10), not loyalty to the Roman government. And the shouts of the crowd prove Jesus wouldn't get the backing of this particular crowd even if He wanted it.

Pilate probably doesn't know that Jesus' death has been decades in the making (Matthew 2:1–18). Not long after His birth, magi from the east approached Herod Antipas' father, Herod the Great, and told him the Messiah, the King of the Jews, had been born in Bethlehem. Herod's response was to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem. But he didn't move fast enough, and Joseph was able to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. It's unknown if Herod Antipas realizes he has a role in completing his father's mission.

Jesus has faced death before with the confidence it was not yet His time. When a fierce storm threatened to capsize His boat, He slept (Mark 4:35–41). When a mob in Nazareth tried to throw Him off a cliff, He calmly walked through them (Luke 4:28–30). When the Jewish leadership tried to stone Him for blasphemy, Jesus hid in the temple and slipped away (John 8:48–59). Now it is time, and Herod the Great's goal to kill the King of the Jews will finally succeed, as Jesus once again stands calmly.
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