Steeped in this text, we witness the typical form and pattern of life effectively lived apart from God. Thinking they are powerfully in control, the Jewish ruling elite make perfectly executable plans. Pontius Pilate, the appointed governor, leads and decides without pausing to pay attention to his own discomfort and dis-ease with the decision before him. As much as we want to blame all of them for the horrible treatment of Jesus, we can see our own similar patterns of behavior. If we are truly honest with ourselves...
we make elaborate plans without consulting God;
we disregard certain information, often living on autopilot, doing what we always do while not paying attention to the signals of new information, or the prompting of the Holy Spirit within;
we chose to satisfy the "crowd", either consciously or unconsciously, and betray the Still Small Voice within.
Perhaps God is inviting us to consider giving up old patterns of doing what we usually do and allowing the Spirit to do a new thing in us.
Mark 15:1-15 (NIV)
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.
For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that stood out to you as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus. Try drawing your prayer if you are so inclined.
What do you notice about ‘making plans’ in the text? How do you ‘make plans’? What have you noticed when you invite Jesus to ‘make plans’ with you? Talk with him about it.
Perhaps crowd pleasing, or people pleasing is a temptation for you as you make decisions. How is Jesus guiding you in discernment as you face choices?
Be with Jesus in this story, either at a distance or by his side. Just be with him.