Mark 15:1-19 (NKJV)
Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.” 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. 4 Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” 5 But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
6 Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. 8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. 12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!” 14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
16 Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called [c]Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. 17 And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, 18 and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.
Morning has arrived, and the whole Jewish council—the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes—have condemned Jesus, bound Him, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate. Among other things, Pilate then asks three questions: “Are you the King of the Jews?”; “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”; and “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” Answers: Yes, Jesus is the King of the Jews; the crowd asks for Barabbas to be released, instead of their King; and then they demand that Jesus, their King, be crucified.
Then Jesus the King is scourged, struck on the head, spat on, and mocked as a King: clothed in a purple robe and crown of thorns, mockingly bowed to and worshiped, and saluted with “Hail, King of the Jews!” All in all, it’s a very rough day to be the King of the Jews, and the day is not over. It only gets worse for this particular King.
Fortunately, we know that for this King, His kingdom is not of this world. Good thing too, because with subjects like this, who needs enemies! But then, that’s the point, isn’t it? We who should rightly receive Jesus as King have been born into the same sinful world that despises Him and lives in rebellion against Him. All of fallen humanity would continue in this rebellion against the rightful King if nothing had been done. So, Jesus our gracious Sovereign did what needed to be done for His subjects—He took on human flesh Himself, subjected Himself to God’s holy Law, fulfilled it for us, and then paid the penalty for breaking that Kingly Law with His own life… for us! The King takes the penalty for the rebellion of His own subjects—where else in this world does such a thing happen? It does not. In faith we proclaim, “Hail, King of God’s Kingdom!”
Let us pray: O almighty God, mercifully look on Your people, and by Your great goodness govern us in body and preserve us in soul; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.