Chapter 46

Confession and silence
Mark 15:1-5 (NKJV)

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1 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 marvelled.

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Mark 15:1
Unlawful imprisonment

The dishonest Jewish religious leaders keep Jesus in their custody. Thirsting for His blood, they consult in the morning with elders, scribes, and the full Sanhedrin. After unlawfully imprisoning Jesus, they compound their wickedness by binding Him and delivering Him to Pilate, the austere Roman governor of Judea between AD 26 and 36.

Mark 15:2
Unlawful question

Pilate’s legal jurisdiction is Roman, not Jewish. Jewish religious issues, however important, are no concern of his or Rome’s. Jesus nowhere disputes Rome’s right to rule—He previously told people to give Caesar his dues.[1] Perhaps that is why Pilate, a man with a strict reputation, later finds no wrong in Jesus.[2] But now Pilate’s question is irrelevant and unlawful in a Roman legal jurisdiction. He asks, Are You the King of the Jews? He knows that Jesus poses no political threat and his question has Jewish religious, not Roman legal, relevance.

Mark 15:2
Unhesitating answer

But as when responding to the high priest’s earlier question, Jesus answers Pilate immediately in the affirmative, It is as you say. (There is no more emphatic Greek way of saying ‘YES!’) Jesus cannot, will not, and never does deny His character, office or deity. He is God, and a different sort of King. He always owns the truth about Himself. Today we need to hear that clearly. It is vital to know who Jesus is.

Mark 15:3-4
Unfair accusations

Again, Jesus will not answer the chief priests’ false accusations. Pilate again asks why He refuses to answer their many charges. Sometimes, we too must ignore talk against us, but live so that we are known to be genuine. At other times it is right to put the record straight.

Mark 15:5
Unusual silence

Pilate marvels at Christ’s silence, knowing that Jesus is truthful and honourable, unlike His accusers. If Pilate knew Jesus better, he would be even more staggered! Jesus is humbly silent before His wicked accusers, like a sheep being sheared. Yet simply, by His powerful word, He could despatch His opponents into a lost eternity. All power is His! Able to vindicate Himself completely, His wisdom is incomparable. Whenever challenged by opponents, Jesus shows total mastery in handling trick questions. Yet now the Innocent One remains silent. If He answers His accusers or punishes them, as He justifiably can, He will avoid dying on the cross as the spotless Lamb of God for our sins. His agenda is far nobler—an agenda of love, mercy, forgiveness, and eternal life for all who trust Him.

His silence is caused by innocence and impending sacrifice. Our silence often reflects guilt—we cannot think what to say. May God help us break our guilty silence to confess our sins to Him, and His amazing love to others.

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[1]   .  Mark 12:17.
[2]   .  Luke 23:4.

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Questions on Chapter 46
Mark 15:1-5 Confession and silence.

A. What do you learn about Pilate?    Mark 15:1-5   Matthew 27:1, 11-25

B. What kinds of questions does Jesus answer immediately and why?  Mark 15:2   Mark 15:3,5

C. When is silence justified? Illustrate from Jesus’ behaviour. How should that work out in your daily life?   Mark 15:3-5   James 1:19   James 3:2-13