Mark 15: 1-15
1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. 2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” 5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. 6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. 12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Please take time to reflect on the image below.
Meditations from our Preachers
From Uwe Brammer
Story: Jesus stands in the most human of places. He has already experienced profound solidarity with so many on this earth, by being beaten and tortured. Now he is wrongfully condemned to death. His commitment to entering our lives completely begins its final steps. He has said “yes” to God and placed his life in God’s hands. We follow him in this final surrender, and contemplate with reverence each place along the way, as he is broken and given for us.
Prayer: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Meditation: As I view the scene, I become moved by both outrage and gratitude. I look at Jesus. His face, the crown of thorns, the blood, and His clothes stuck to the wounds on his back. God is condemned to Death. Pilate represents the world with its ambitions, comfort, and empty promises. He finds truth uncomfortable and thus closes his mind to Jesus: “What is truth?” And He hands Jesus over to be crucified. Pilate washes his hands of the whole affair. Jesus’ hands are tied behind his back.
Have I become a Pilate to Jesus? I have remained silent in public when Truth is denied, condemned, and rejected. The innocent suffer and die while I condemn Christ, remaining silent and refusing to act.
Jesus, forgive me for all the times I have failed to defend you, your Widows and Orphans, your little ones in the world! May I never again be afraid of the Gospel!
This is all for me that I might be free that I might have eternal life. As the journey begins I ask to be with Jesus, to follow his journey. I express my love and thanks.
This is how it all begins, sentenced like a common criminal, accused of crimes he has not committed. Yet, our Savior humbly accepts the criminality of all of humanity placed on His shoulders as our Passover lamb. It shakes me to think that just a few days previous, people from all walks of life were praising His name as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Now here they are, rejecting His name, casting blame on Him, and sentencing Him to die.
Lent is always a time for reflection. Reflecting on ourselves, reflecting on our relationship with God, thinking of ways we have been strong in faith, and ways that we have fallen in faith. Specifically with this First Station of the Cross, I think about an aspect of living our faith that I think everyone has dealt with in positive and negative ways: going with the crowd.
How often do I put a child lock on opportunities for evangelization and Truth? Probably more than I’d care to admit. But, it is in these moments that I remember that Jesus willingly knows there will be times in my life where I let Him down, and yet, he will still go to the Cross for me, for us! Yet, we are constantly reminded that even if we fall, there will be new opportunities in the future.
This Lent, let us call upon the Holy Spirit to provide boldness, strength, and courage when opportunities come our way. The opportunities will come, and when they do, let us have the strength to stand up for what we believe in, because we never know what hangs in the balance of our decision to speak truth, even if the crowd is against us.
I pray that God will be ever-present in our interactions with “the crowd” and to let His words be our words.
Lord Jesus Christ,
our Way, Truth, and Life,
help us to discern your voice from the noise,
help us to know your truth from deceit,
and keep us rooted in the hope of your gospel.
We pray this through Christ, our Lord.