GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Mark 15-16
And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:1-5
Messiah was accused of many things but he answered nothing. He owed them no explanation. He didn’t have to defend who he was. The truth will stand when the world is on fire. Let them accuse all they want. Those who seek the truth, who seek YHWH, will find Him. Let whoever think whatever.
They delivered him over to Pilate – Under Roman rule, the Pharisees had very limited rights to execute their own justice and so they had to turn Messiah over in order for Him to be put to death. This, of course, helped take the blame off of them in the eyes of the people as well, many of which loved our Messiah, which is precisely why the Pharisees saw Him as a threat.
Are you the king of the Jews? Pilate was a known hater of the Jews and therefore, when the Pharisees delivered Messiah, they very deliberately placed this charge against Him.
We see a detail of the charges they placed against Him right before Pilate asked this question in Luke 23:2-3
And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Luke 23:2-3
Look over those charges, having read what actually took place, and ask yourself which one is true and which ones are blatantly false. The thing is, when most people read this in the Bible they assume they are all true. I’m not saying it would be a bad thing if Messiah outright did these things but the fact that so many take the word of a Pharisee without digging deeper, when the truth is in our hands, is disturbing and part of an accepted pattern of Bible “scholarship” today. We pull out a snippet, consider it true because it is in the Word (even if it was spoken by a known villain in history), and walk away with our declared truth in our pocket, considering our job done.
We are to SEARCH the Scriptures. Know the Scriptures, and read them from THE BEGINNING as YHWH intended it.
~puts soap box away~
Pilate was amazed (Mark 15:5) – Crucifixion was a known factor in this culture, likely one of the most feared of all, and standing before Pilate was a quick way to get to that point. Imagine how you would react in this situation. The best of men would be reduced to begging, pleading, crying out, and hoping for clemency. Messiah faced Pilate head on, steadfast and unwavering.
Mark 15:6-15 When we come to the prisoner release, I covered an oft overlooked, but key, element to this in my notes for Matthew 27-28. Click here to read those.
Mark 15:26 The King Of The Jews – This was the inscription of the charge against Him as he was killed as if to mock the very people He came to save, but in my mind it is held up as a bold reminder of just how far our Messiah was willing to go for YHWH’s beloved chosen people. Again, I can’t help but think of the tragedy of anti-Semitism that has coursed through the veins of the Christian church for far too long. May we cut that vein and let it bleed out so that all that is left is the Holy Spirit coursing through us.
Mark 15:25 It was the third hour. John 19:14 states that it was the sixth hour. Over the centuries, translations, manuscript to manuscript, scribe to scribe, this could simply be a mistranslation.
Mark 15:33 There was darkness over the whole land — The text tells us that this was a physically darkening of the sunlight but I can’t help but imagine the darkness of grief as well.
Have you ever watched an eclipse? In the middle of a bright day, the sun is blotted out for a moment and the whole earth seems to still in response. The wind slows, the animals pause, it is as if the very air takes a moment to be silent as it ponders the gravity of what is taken place. I find that, in response to all of this, I too, hold my breath.
Imagine this, but more, there, surrounding Messiah. This was a clear, unmistakable supernatural sign. There were those among the crowd who knew full well who Messiah was and this was more confirmation. There were those among the crowd who has some suspicion of who Messiah was, and this was a knife to the gut as the gravity of missed opportunities and the boldest sin a society could muster dripped blood before them. All the earth stilled as the Savior of the world paid the bill for any who would allow Him to. To some this is an act of mercy. To others it is an act of Grace. It depends on which side of that line you stand on, weeping at the cross or spitting at it.
For a thorough discussion on the Biblical timeline of Messiah’s crucifixion and the sign of Jonah, click here to review those notes. (The traditional timeline contradicts the sign Messiah’s gave so this is important to know)
Mark 16 begins by telling us that the women went to the tomb after the Sabbath, early in the morning. By the traditional timeline, this puts Messiah in the tomb two nights and one day at most, which of course presents a problem as it contradicts Messiah’s word (see those Jonah notes I linked to above).
Mark 16:7-8 shows us the angel giving a directive to the women to go tell the disciples, and makes it a point to single out Peter as well. They left trembling and amazed. Have you ever been so excited that your hair stood on end and all of your senses seemed to be heightened? I can only imagine this is how they felt. The very air around them was charged with their emotions and thoughts, causing them to tremble.
Why mention Peter specifically? I think this is the same reason why they were told to go tell the apostles. Think of how each of them had abandoned Messiah, with Peter verbally denying Him not once but three times. I can only imagine the grief they felt at not being there for the one they loved so dearly, the judgement and condemnation they were heaping on themselves at that very hour. This was an act of grace, mercy, and love all rolled into one. The angel was reaching out on behalf of Messiah. It was an invitation and a forgiveness at the same time, as if to say “Tell them I love them. I want to see them.”
This reminds me of that moment where Joseph has all of his brothers before him and reveals who he is. They expect punishment and all they receive is love, embraces, understanding, and tears.
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16
What does believe mean? Messiah’s brother warned us not to just stop there.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:14-26
You say you believe? Good. Demons believe too.
To stop there is to have a faith equivalent to demons, enemies of the kingdom of Heaven.
Belief leads to trust. Trust leads to obedience. Paul said it and NIV translates it most clearly for our modern brains:
Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. -Romans 1:5
If we believe HE is who He says He is, we will follow Him.
Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6
We will love him.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
And we will follow after the Father wholeheartedly.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deut 6:5
I believe, and I know that “believe” is an action word. He died for us. Let us live for Him.
We have completed another book.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!