What does Mark 15:9 mean?
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?
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.
Mark 15:6–15 describes history's greatest miscarriage of justice. The Sanhedrin has convicted Jesus with blasphemy, a crime in the Mosaic law (Mark 14:61–64). Such a charge won't convince the Roman authorities to execute Jesus, so they present Him to Pilate as an imminent insurrectionist (Luke 23:2, 5). Pilate interrogates Jesus and finds Him harmless (John 18:33–38). Pilate then sends Jesus to Herod Antipas, who also finds the Sanhedrin's charges baseless (Luke 23:6–15). Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate who must decide: risk rebellion by the Jewish leadership or kill an innocent man? Pilate's decision is also found in Matthew 27:15–26, Luke 23:13–25, and John 18:38—19:16.
After sham trials, Jesus is taken to the local Roman governor, Pilate. This is the only person in Jerusalem with the legal authority to have Jesus executed. Pilate is not fooled, and he attempts to arrange for Jesus' release. But the ruler's ploys fail, in part because Jesus will not defend Himself, and partly because the mob is intent on His death. Pilate offers a prisoner exchange in Barabbas, and even has Jesus brutally beaten in order to pacify the crowd. Eventually, he caves in and Jesus is crucified. Thanks to His prior abuse, Jesus survives only a few hours on the cross before dying. Jesus is then buried in a tomb belonging to a secret follower among the Jerusalem council.
After being unfairly judged, Jesus will now be unfairly sentenced and cruelly murdered. It's reasonable to say this chapter provides context for everything else contained in the Bible. From Adam and Eve until the last baby born in the millennial kingdom, every person other than Christ is stained with sin. Conscience, law, Jesus' direct leadership, even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cannot keep us from sinning. Sinless Jesus had to die on the cross, sacrificing Himself in our place, so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. Beneath the violence, darkness, dishonor, and death is the love of God for all mankind (John 3:16). Jesus' crucifixion is also found in Matthew 27, Luke 23, and John 19. The next chapter describes the miracle of His resurrection.
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 3/1/2024 10:15:53 PM
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