Mark 15:12

Pilate, however, spoke to them again, “What should I do then with the man whom you call the ‘king of the Jews’?”

in a strict binary world
there is only release and death

were there ever more
we’d go starker raving more

poor pea-brains only know
you’re in-pod or out

to leave is to die
or is it to thrive

one choice too far
leaves one to die in place

Asking for advice when you already know what you are going to do is one of the worst of lies. Everyone loses.

This is the third time “king of the Jews” has been used in relation to Pilate. First, looking for Jesus’ response to that title (15:2). Second, asking the crowd about releasing Jesus (15:9). Third, asking the crowd about a disposition of Jesus (15:12).

What we don’t hear in most English translations is that signal word, “palin” or “again”. This helps hold the three uses together and see them as a technique of ruling used by Pilate and many others—framing the encounter in such a way you get what you want without being responsible for it.

Perkins720, reflects on responsibility for Jesus’ death:

Responsibility for the death of Jesus lies at the feet of those who participate in the deceit and power politics that permit the casual sacrifice of innocent persons. Such phenomena have not vanished from our world…. The Barabbas incident suggests [a] severe consequence of the corruption introduced by power politics: People can no longer distinguish the guilty and dangerous person from the innocent. They may not even care whether a person is innocent or guilty.

In a season of deliberate lie upon deliberate lie and continual accusation of “fake news”, we find ourselves in the crowd pressing toward Pilate and being used even as they get what they purportedly want—the release of Barabbas.

Whether the issue is Peter’s limited vision of Messiah, the presence of G*D, Judas orchestrating an arrest, or the orchestrated theatre of Pilate and chief priests with bit players of Crowd, Barabbas (father’s son) and Jesus (father’s son), we are in a lose-lose situation. Everybody falls into someone else’s trap.

The only out is not to be like leaders everywhere; to be a servant.

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