Mark Chapter 15 Part 1

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Shalom and welcome to [foreign language 00:00:05], a Hebrew phrase which means you shall love Israel. We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch, shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at loveisrael.org. That’s one word, loveisrael.org. Now here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.

 Baruch:

We have learned many times that there’s a connection between Passover and death. In the account that we’re going to learn today, the date that all of this happened was the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, Passover. Therefore, we see the events leading up to the death of Messiah. We’ve also learned how over and over we’ve seen that conspiracy in order to put Messiah to death. But now, although He’s been condemned to death, we see for a very unique reason that the Sanhedrin, they do not want to carry out that punishment. Take out your Bible and look with me to the book of Mark and chapter 15. The book of Mark and chapter 15. Now, what’s taking place here in this section takes place at least initially very early in the morning. Let’s review a few minutes. He was arrested probably around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, His trial got going perhaps at 3:00 or 4:00. And then finally, there was His sentence, that He deserved to die. But instead of carrying it out according to Jewish law, the Sanhedrin, they took council together and they decided to do something.

 Baruch:

What was that? Well, look with me to this chapter, chapter 15, the book of Mark and verse 1. We read here, “And immediately early in the morning, the high priests with the elders and the scribes, they took counsel and they decided with the entire Sanhedrin …” To do something. Not to put Him to death according to Jewish law, but it says they bound Yeshua, and they sent Him and delivered Him over to Pilate. Now, why would they do that? There’s a couple of reasons. First of all, one of the possible answers to that question is simply this. They knew that the Romans, they killed people in a matter of crucifixion. That would be a great deterrent to those who might be His followers, those who might want to continue in that same direction. Another possible answer is simply this. They knew that He was very popular and they did not want to be the ones … as we’ve already looked about in chapter 14 in verse 1, that they did not want to be the ones to put Him to death at a time when every Jew who was observant would have been in Jerusalem.

 Baruch:

They wanted to do it very quietly. The third answer is this, and probably the best, because Messiah had to die upon a tree. Now, why is that important? Because of what Messiah did, He not only paid the price for sin, but what the Scripture says in order to help us understand what that means, it also says He took the curse. The curse that should be upon us, He took it upon Himself. Now, why was that? And what’s the message? Well, very simple. We need to see foundational to understand the purposes of God. We need to have a good comprehension of the law of Moses. When Moses spoke and presented the Torah, the law, before the people, he says to them, “I set before you this day, both life and death, blessing and curse.” Now, when Messiah died, He died so that we could experience life. When Messiah was placed upon that tree, He took the curse. Why do I say that? Because the book of Deuteronomy says, “Cursed is the man who was hung upon the tree.”

 Baruch:

So not only did He take the death so that we could experience life, but He also took the curse that we might be blessed. That’s what God wants to do, bless us. Well, let’s return back to Mark chapter 15 and see how these events leading up to His death are all going to come about. Let’s move on to verse 2. He’s at Pontius Pilate, that is Yeshua is standing before him for what we might call an additional trial. He went through the first one, a Jewish trial before the Sanhedrin. And now He’s before the Roman leader, the governor so that He can be examined by him. We read in verse 2, “And Pilate asked Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?'” Now, that’s an important statement because that idiom, the King of the Jews, was understood as an idiom which had the meaning Messiah or the Christ, same implication. So he’s saying, “Are You the King?” That is, “Are You the new leader of the Jewish people?” Now, prior to this time, we could say that the leadership was the Sanhedrin, the high priests, those individuals.

 Baruch:

We’re going to see in a few minutes that Pilate, he wasn’t a foolish man at all. You don’t get to be a Roman governor if you’re not highly intelligent, nor do you get to that position unless you have good intelligence. And we’ll see in a few minutes that he knew without any doubt, that the reason that Yeshua … And he had heard about Yeshua. He had longed, it says in the Scripture, to hear certain things from Him, to meet Him. So he knew that there was a political … at least from his perspective and perhaps the perspective of the Sanhedrin, there was a political struggle going on. So he addressed Him in that way, his way, a King. “Are You the new leader of the Jewish people?” That was what he intended by that statement. We read in the second half of verse 2, “And He answered him and says, ‘As you have said.'” That is an idiom, “Yes, indeed.” Verse 3. Now Mark, when Mark speaks and tells a story, he more than any of the other Gospel writers, he rushes through it.

 Baruch:

He does stop occasionally to give us some greater insight and highlight certain events. But for the most part, he rushes through it and verse 3 is a good example of this. Because in verse 3, all we read is that the high priests, they were charging Him, accusing Him of much, but we don’t see any of what that is. In fact, there’s no real charges. What the high priest and the Sanhedrin were saying is how guilty He was and how He needed to be put to death. One of the ways that they conveyed that in that previous verse … Remember where it says that they took counsel, and the next thing we see is that they led Him to Pilate. How? Bound. Now, why was that? Well, Messiah had not been bound previously because they had no fear or concern that He was going to flee, or that he was going to do something physical. They knew what type of individual He was, but they bound Him before sending Him to Pontius Pilate as a way of saying, “This man is dangerous.” In order to justify their desire, their besieging Pilate to put Him to death.

 Baruch:

Look again at that verse, verse 3, “And the high priests, they accused Him of much.” But look on, it says in verse 4, “But Pilate again asked Him saying …'” And here’s another example. We don’t know all the questions that Pontius Pilate asked Him. But what we do know in verse 4 and what Mark wants to emphasize is that after that first initial question, “Are You the Messiah, the Christ, the King of the Jews?” Messiah did not respond and Pontius Pilate, he was frustrated by this so he says again, “You answer nothing. Don’t You see, in other words, how much they are accusing You?” And it’s interesting because that phrase “accusing You” is in the present. And how I believe and the reason why I believe it’s in the present is because these leaders and those servants who serve those leaders, they were crying out, “Kill Him.” They were crying out what to do, that He’s dangerous, that He’s bad all the while. And what we see here is Messiah’s response, verse 5, “But …” And that word’s important because it shows a contradiction.

 Baruch:

With all the speech and yelling going on from the high priests, from perhaps other members of the Sanhedrin and their servants, what was Messiah doing? In contrast to that, the Scripture says that Yeshua, He did not yet answer a thing. He was still, in other words, quiet. So that … Look at the end of verse 5, so the Pilate marveled at this. He had never … He had stood before individuals questioning them, knowing that he had the power to put them to death or to set them free and he had never encountered someone who was so passive. Someone who did not try to justify Himself, someone who did not give reasons and explanations, and all types of things in order to justify His life. Messiah said nothing. And because of that behavior, Pilate knew there was something unique about Him. Let’s move on to verse 6. Now at the festival, there was a tradition. It says at the festival, he used to release, it was common to release to them one prisoner. Now, why was that? Well, we’ve talked about that this is all taking place on Passover and Passover is related to redemption.

 Baruch:

There’s an inherent relationship between redemption and liberty. We don’t have freedom, we don’t have liberty without redemption. The foundation of redemption, the means of redemption we could say, is death. So according to their tradition, what is said in Hebrew and minhag, that the leader, the governor, in order to participate in the Passover season as a gesture of kindness to the Jewish people, he used to release one prisoner. This was whoever they asked. Verse 7. Now, the leadership according to some scholars, it was the leadership that used to make this request in writing. But here we see differences, we see that’s not the case. And perhaps it’s because that Pontius Pilate did not go to them, but rather to the crowd who was there. Now, I want to give you a very important verse so that we can understand exactly what’s taking place. Some time look at John chapter 18 and verse 28. John chapter 18 and verse 28. Why is that verse so important? Because it tells us that the Jewish leadership did not go into the courtyard. Why not? Because it was a place of ceremonial impurity.

 Baruch:

That is if they were to enter into that location, not just them but any God-fearing Jewish person, if they were to enter into that place, they would become ceremonially impure and therefore could not make the Passover sacrifice later on that day and could not eat of it that night. So no Jewish person was in that courtyard, but what do we know? Well, they were influencing them. In fact, some of the best scholars believe and teach that the ones who were there were not Jewish individuals, but rather those servants who were loyal to the high priests, the elders of the people, the scribes, the Sanhedrin. They were also very intelligent, they knew what was going to happen. They could anticipate what Pontius Pilate was about to do. So what happens? Look at verse 7, “For there was one there called …” Literally Bar Aba in Hebrew. Or in Greek, we get the term, “Barabas”, Now, why is that important? Well, it’s simply a way of identifying someone. The term “bar” means son. And the word “aba” is a term for father, or a term for an elder, one who deserves respect.

 Baruch:

And it was a common name, Aba, for a couple of different reasons. It’s interesting here that most of the English Bibles, they just simply say, “Barabas” rather than putting in his first name. There are numerous manuscripts. In fact, the best manuscripts, they have his first name. It’s very sad that people who read this, they may not look down on the bottom of the page to see what his name actually was. It was Yeshua, Yeshua Bar Aba. Yeshua is the Hebrew word for Jesus. Now, we need to see what’s going on here. As I said, Pontius Pilate was a very intelligent man and therefore, he was going to do things differently. Instead of turning to the Sanhedrin for that name, he went before the crowd and says, “Who do you want me to release?” And he, with [foreign language 00:15:27], that is with intention, with understanding, he chose two men. One, Yeshua. Yeshua [foreign language 00:15:35], that is Jesus of Nazareth, whom he had a predisposition to release. Secondly, he chose a man for two reasons. One is his first name being Yeshua or Jesus. When he says, “Whom do you want me to release?”

 Baruch:

If some said, “Yeshua.” Meaning Yeshua [foreign language 00:15:55] and others said Yeshua Bar Aba, made no difference. He would just say, “Fine, this is him.” And be able to solve the problem. There was another reason. Notice what it says here about this individual, Bar Aba. Look again at verse 7, “For there was one called Barabas with the rebels.” Now, that’s important because what we know from this verse and history is that there was several rebellions, but here’s the important point. At this time were, we’re talking about a rebellion against the Roman leadership. Previously, there were rebellions of Jewish people against the Jewish leadership. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. At this time, the Jewish leadership, they were very close with Rome. Why? Because Rome kept them in power, Rome defended them. Many of the priests … For example, many people don’t know that [foreign language 00:17:02], that is John the Immerser or John the Baptist, he was of the priestly family, but he wasn’t serving in Jerusalem. Why?

 Baruch:

He like many other priests had departed from that area because they perceived that soon, the judgment of God was going to fall upon the city of Jerusalem and the evilness and the wickedness of the leaders. So there were rebellions against the Jewish leadership and of one the rebels is this man, Bar Aba or Barabas. Now, why is that important? Well, Pontius Pilate as I said, a very intelligent … I didn’t say he was a godly man, sensitive to the Holy Spirit. None of that. But he was intelligent. And therefore not only did he choose one who had that same first name of Jesus, but also, also he chose one whom the Jewish leadership, those Sanhedrin members, the high priests, they loath. Why? Because he was rebelling against them. Now he was hoping that perhaps their hatred for Bar Aba would be greater than their desire to put Yeshua death. Well, this was not the case. Why do I say that? Look, if you would, to verse verse 8. Now, point out one other thing at the end of verse 7.

 Baruch:

It tells us there that he had committed murder, but this verb to commit murder is very interesting because it’s in a unique grammatical construction. We’ve talked about that, it is the pluperfect. Now, in all the New Testament, we see the pluperfect being used way less than 100 times, I believe around 76. So with all the pages and all the hundreds and thousands of verbs that appear, it is very significant how rare the pluperfect is. So when it appears, when it’s used in the Greek New Testament, it should capture our attention. What did we learn about the pluperfect? Well, the pluperfect speaks about a idea of remoteness. Meaning perhaps Bar Aba was not guilty of murder, he was simply like Yeshua, accused of something. But the reality was far removed from, very remote from what the charges were. But setting that aside, verse 8, “And the crowd that went up, they begin to ask just as they had made them.” Who’s them? Well, I believe we’re talking about literates. How he made them, perhaps the high priests. And what did they begin to do?

 Baruch:

Look at verse 9, it says, “And Pilate answered them saying, ‘Do you want that I should release to you the King of the Jews?” Now, he says that because he was hoping that someone would say yes, and he would say, “Fine, I’ll do it. There’s your request.” But again, the Jewish leadership, they were also very wise and they had prepared, what I believe their servants, to do. Verse 10. Now, before we deal with that, notice what it says about Pontius Pilate. He was very aware of the situation, verse 10, “For he knew that on account of jealousy or envy, that they had delivered Yeshua …” That is, it says, “Him over to him.” That is to Pontius Pilate. In order that, what did they do? Well, it says very clearly that they knew that on account of this, that the crowd began all the more to request that Bar Aba should be released to them because the leadership had prepared them. Verse 12, “And Pilate again asked and said to them, ‘Then what do you want that I should do with the one who is called the King of the Jews?'”

 Baruch:

Now, he was saying, as we see throughout Pontius Pilate’s administration, he wanted to be a man pleaser. We need to learn a great principle from the Apostle Paul. In Galatians 1:10, Paul states something that’s so important if you want to be a leader. He says, “If I was still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of God.” And what we see here is that Pontius Pilate was still trying to please men and believing that’s how you become a strong leader, by being pleasing to the masses, rather than being pleasing to God. Well, let’s press on to verse 13, “But again, they cried out, ‘Crucify Him.'” Verse 14, “And Pilate, he said to them, ‘Why? For what evil has He done?’ But all the more, they began to cry out saying, ‘Crucify Him.'” Now, we have to ask ourselves something. I, mean crucifixion was a very, very barbaric form of death. It was be unlikely for a crowd to wish that on almost anyone, especially one who had done nothing but taught the truth. But why is this taking place? Well, remember, it’s Passover. Passover is synonymous with what? Death.

 Baruch:

And therefore, Messiah had to die. And in order to mediate to us life and blessing, He took the death and the curse upon a tree so that we would be the recipients of God’s redemption. Well, there’s just one more thing that I want us to understand before we close. Look, if you would, to verse 15. “Now, Pontius Pilate wanting to please the crowd in order to make them satisfied, he released to them Bar Aba and he delivered Yeshua …” And notice what it says at the end of this verse. “He delivered Yeshua for flogging in order to be crucified.” Now, let me just tell you that that is a very odd expression. It is not good grammar in Greek, and it’s kind of odd. In fact, it’s not exactly what we see in the other Gospels. And whenever there’s something that’s unique, something that’s different, it’s not because there’s an error, but rather in order to teach us a very important truth. Mark’s Gospel unites the flogging and the crucifixion. If you look, for example, at Luke’s Gospel when Luke tells this story, he tells something a little bit more specific.

 Baruch:

We see once again, that Pontius Pilate in Luke’s Gospel went to great efforts to set Messiah free. He could have done it, but he wanted to be a man pleaser rather than faithful to truth and justice. He was that one that said, “What is truth?” So what did he do? Well, before crucifying Him, Luke tells us that he had Him flogged severely. Why? Thinking that, that punishment, a harsh punishment, that would suffice and he wouldn’t have to carry out the crucifixion. And you remember how harsh that, that flogging was. When he brought Yeshua out before the crowd, he says, “[foreign language 00:25:00].” Why? Which means, “Behold, the Man.” Which is an idiom saying, “This is the actual same individual.” Now, why would he say that? Because he was beaten so severely, that flogging was so harsh that it changed the … It says in one Scripture, it marred his appearance. It caused Him due to the suffering, to look different. And what I want you to see is a very important point. Mark unites these together where other Gospels separate them, he unites them together to teach us an important truth. What is that?

 Baruch:

Well, there’s a popular book about the Messiah’s death, it’s called Killing Jesus by a man by the name of Bill O’Reilly. He’s a journalist, he’s not a theologian. He makes some very, very significant errors. For example, he makes a broad statement that Yeshua could not have spoken before He died. When He says, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they’ve done.” When He cried out, “I thirst.” And then He gave up His Spirit. He said that couldn’t have happened. Why? Because when someone dies by crucifixion, they die actually by smothering. They simply are so weak by crucifixion, they cannot breathe. So someone could not speak immediately before he died. Well, that’s true. But nowhere in the Scripture does it say that Messiah died by means of crucifixion, it simply says He died on a cross. What we see here in Mark’s Gospel is uniting the flogging with the crucifixion. See, there’s another reason why Messiah died upon the cross and why He spoke immediately beforehand. He did not suffocate to death, but rather the Scripture says He became sin for us. And sin is synonymous with death.

 Baruch:

He took the punishment of sin, which is death. And that’s why He says, “Father, where are You? Why have You forsaken Me?” Why did He say that? To emphasize that He became sin for us. So there were many factors that led to His death, Him becoming sin force, and also the severe beating that He took. I mean, His heart could have stopped simply because of that beating. So simply to say, “Well, crucifixion always leads to suffocation.” No, there’s other reasons that someone could die. Through shock, through other things, the body could just stop. We need to not always simply apply science to the Scripture, but allow the Scripture to speak and it will always confirm scientific fact. Well, my time is out. Until next week, may God richly bless you.

Speaker 1:

Well. We hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with others. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this channel for our broadcast of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit our website, loveisrael.org. There, you will find articles and numerous other lectures by Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you in our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with Him. Shalom from Israel.

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