Mark 15:4

So Pilate questioned Jesus again. “Have you no reply to make?” he asked. “Listen, how many charges they are bringing against you.”

we are so accustomed
if there is a stimulus
there must be a reaction

when accusations rise
our defenses kick in
with any and every escape route

accusers accuse
to frame to their advantage
to cage any variant vision

acceptance of an accusation
does not require agreement
only considered breathing

The question remains the same: “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus has responded: “You said it.”

For Pilate that is not sufficient. In this court, there are only two responses, “Yes” and “No”. This fudgy, putting the question back to the questioner won’t do.

Pilate emphasizes this with, “Your life depends upon you’re answering!” To further emphasize the dire nature of the situation, Pilate reminds Jesus that there is more than this one question that puts him in danger. We might imagine him holding up a long list of accusations.

In the Greek, πάλιν ἐπερωτάω (palin eperōtaō, again demanding) helps us understand that Pilate is not a nice prosecutor. It is clear that Jesus is in a no-win position. His choice becomes to play the trial game or to be present in a way that will reveal it for the power-play it is.

This is a still needed teaching—how to evaluate the situation and respond with a choice, not a reaction.

So we will do well to attend to this verse to meet the times in our life and the life of our time that demands an allegiance that cannot be given and still claim the agency of belovedness. Moral choices abound in every direction we look. There is no avoiding them. How we respond remains important.

It is fruitful to consider the accusations that have been made against us, the reaction those accusations engendered, and the actual response we made. It is also productive to consider the accusations that could have been made against us that we know would have been deniable. Our being caught between these false and all-too-true accusations makes us vulnerable to responding with too much or too little information.

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