In studying Mark 15, we tried understanding how the phrase “the king of the Jews,” mentioned 6 times, can help us understand the message in this chapter. Jesus affirmed the statement to be true of Himself. Now let’s see how Pilate felt about it.
From all indications He questioned its veracity. Obviously, if it was true of Jesus he would have a rival to contend with. He felt quite secure with his military guards over against this man who would not even defend Himself. He had heard that Jesus claimed to be the king of the Jews. Now he had Jesus before him and could ask Him for himself. But engaging Jesus in this dialogue ended up putting Pilate on the spot.
He found no fault in Jesus. He wasn’t threatening him. But when the Jewish leaders pressed for the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus, Pilate began back peddling, asking, “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” When they shouted back, “Crucify him!” he asked, “Why? What crime has he committed?” When the cries came back louder, he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.
His questioning was hardly to discover the truth. It was more to find a way out of his dilemma. He was a coward who was unwilling to stand against what he knew was an act of envy. Later, he tried soothing his conscience by having a notice hung over Jesus on the cross which read, “The king of the Jews.”
Never follow Pilate’s example. If you have questions, ask them. But always make sure when the answer comes you respond to truth with faith and obedience, no matter what the cost.