PREPARE TO LISTEN. Be silent and still and then pray: I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:16)
READ: Mark 15:6-15 Station 4: Pilate’s residence. ‘Crucify him’
6Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. 7Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. 8So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. 9Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ 10For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ 13They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ 14Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ 15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Each year on Passion Sunday (also known as Palm Sunday) the church I attend reads through the entire Passion Narrative. This year we’ll read Mark’s version (14:1-15:47). The congregation participates, taking various roles. However, we all become the crowd who shout back in answer to Pilate’s question about what to do with Jesus, ‘Crucify him!’ It’s always a shock to hear our voices utter such violent language, demanding the death of one we all love and serve. Our enthusiasm is that of an actor on a stage. We’re doing it for the sake of the ‘play.’ Of course, we’d never do this in reality! Or so we tell ourselves. But would we?
Reflect again on your picture of Jesus and what you’ve learned thus far from Mark’s Gospel about him. Only those who know Jesus as revealed in the Gospels, not the Jesus of popular evangelical culture, can be sure they’d stand with not against Jesus. Where would you stand?
RESPOND TO JESUS IN PRAYER
You stood alone, Jesus, when the crowd turned against you then. People still turn against you today, but I will stand with you and participate in your will not my own, for the sake of your glory. Amen.
GO AND LIVE IN OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST for the sake of his glory.