The trial, sentencing and execution of Jesus was a totally nefarious affair that took place in the name of justice. Mark in his usual style breezes us through these events in verses 1 to 40 of the penultimate chapter of His gospel, chapter 15.
It starts off with injustice being swiftly served to Jesus at the hands of the Roman governor Pilate in the death sentence Jesus receives even though Pilate knew very well of Jesus’ innocence: Mark 15:1 – 15. Pilate had no other ground but a desire to satisfy the crowd when sentencing Jesus to death by crucifixion. He was but a crowd pleaser.
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Some would also add that Pilate was a traitor for releasing Barabbas, the leader of an insurrection against Roman rule in place of acquitting an innocent man who posed no material risk to Roman rule. From here onwards the injustice simply increased exponentially in the execution of this unjust sentence.
At first the soldiers who led Jesus away for execution got the entire battalion together, people who had no association whatsoever with Jesus, to mock and ridicule Him every way possible (Mark 15:16 – 20). They made a circus and spectacle of an innocent man and this was just the beginning.
The soldiers who were tasked with His crucifixion continued the mockery on account of His identity with the inscription of the charge against Him which read, “The King of the Jews.” (Mark 15:26). As they continued to execute the sentence, Jesus is now counted among robbers – Mark 15:27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.
Next it was the turn of passers by who were, neither here not there, people not directly associated with Him who ridiculed Him wagging their heads and quoting His own words back at Him in absolute ignorance (Mark 15:29 – 30).
The prime architects of this whole circus, the chief priests and the scribes also, totally unaware of their ignorance, could not help but mock Him to one another urging Him to save Himself as He had done to others so many times in His ministry – vs 31 and 32.
At the height of it all, even those who were crucified with Him – career criminals who were receiving their just punishment – chose to heap further mockery on Him. Mark 15:32 Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
Even his family and friends, intimidated and overpowered by it all could only stand at a distance and watch (vs 40 – 41).
This was a helpless man hanging nailed to a Roman cross from which there was no escape – His death was pretty much certain. He could not help himself in any way or come down from the cross to change anything. There was no way of escape short of divine intervention.
Yet everyone chose to mock and ridicule Him every way possible – from the soldiers who hanged Him on the cross to the criminals who were hanging there with Him on either side of His cross; from the passers-by who never knew him to the chief priests and Pharisees who hounded him for years – nobody was left out, all and everyone had their dig at the “apparently” helpless “king”. Everyone helped themselves to a piece of this innocent man. There was no one who did not partake in this circus of injustice meted out to Jesus.
But for what?
What had He done?
What was He even tried for in the beginning?
At one point in His ministry when the Jews wanted to stone Him, this is the question Jesus posed to them: “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” John 10:32
What have I done to you?
How have I wronged you?
What have I done to deserve a stoning?
From start to finish, the trial, sentencing and execution of Jesus was a mockery of justice.
The one thing that Jesus finally raised his voice to complain, or rather, enquire about during his entire ordeal was, “Why Father? Why have you left me? How come I am without you?” (Mark 16:34)
In the midst of all that He went through and endured, this was the one thing that caused Him the greatest and most unbearable agony, the one thing that elicited a reaction from Him. It was not the physical torture and pain inflicted by the ruthless Roman soldiers. Nor was it the verbal abuse and mockery hurled by one and all. Neither was it the abandonment by friends and family, but separation from His Father.
That killed Him.
Very often people cite the injustice they see in this world as their reason for disbelief in God. According to them God cannot exist alongside all the suffering and if He did He is not a God worth knowing or even bothering about.
Have they considered that God stood by and allowed His Son to suffer the greatest injustice of all time in the history of mankind as reparation for the failings of mankind?
Jesus willingly accepted gross injustice at the hands of men to take the punishment of man. All for you and for me me to receive God’s undeserved mercy when we were deserving of His wrath.