"Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate." Mark 15:1
"'Crucify him!' they shouted. 'Why?' What crime has he committed?' asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, 'Crucify him!' Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified." Mark 15:13-15
"And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him." Mark 15:20
The gospel of Mark 15 is a difficult passage of Scripture to read and to digest. It is the part of Mark's gospel when Jesus is brought before Pilate and then taken to be crucified. The part that makes it so difficult is the rejection. Jesus is rejected by the religious leaders. Jesus is rejected by Pilate. Jesus is rejected by the people in the streets. As if that is not enough, Jesus is then rejected by a whole group of soldiers. These same soldiers mocked Jesus and placed a crown of thorns on His head; they hurled insults at Him and spit on Him. Then, they led Jesus out to the place of crucifixion. Another aspect that makes this passage of Scripture in Mark 15 so difficult is that this rejection and this crucifixion that Jesus faced was the culmination of all sin - past, present, and future. In other words, Jesus was rejected and crucified because of my sin. I am just as guilty as the religious leaders, as Pilate, as the people in the streets, and as the soldiers who were present that day. Rejected and crucified - because of me.
That would be sad if the story ended there. But of course, the story does not end there. The Bible tells us that Jesus conquered our sin, and Jesus conquered the grave! His resurrection secured our redemption! When we confess and repent of our sins and believe in our hearts that Jesus lived, died, and arose from the grave, we are saved! God forgives us of our sins and restores us unto the righteousness of Christ! This week as Christ followers we are celebrating Easter. We are CELEBRATING Easter! Give thanks to God for Jesus...for mercy and grace...for redemption! Tell others about God's great love for us! Jesus was rejected and crucified, but Jesus won the victory through the resurrection from the grave! Believe it! Claim it! Live it!