They deliver Jesus to Pilate (Mk 15:1-15:1)

“As soon as it was morning,

The chief priests

Held a consultation

With the elders,

The Scribes,

And the whole council.

They bound Jesus.

They led him away.

They handed him

Over to Pilate.”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς πρωῒ συμβούλιον ἑτοιμάσαντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον, δήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπήνεγκαν καὶ παρέδωκαν Πειλάτῳ  

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:1-2, except that Mark did not mention the decision to bring Jesus to death.  In Luke, chapter 23:1, everybody brought Jesus to Pilate.  In John, chapter 18:28, there was a long discussion of Pilate with the Jewish leaders, after they brought Jesus to Pilate.  However, they had to stay outside the Roman court, so as not to defile themselves during the Passover festival.  Mark said that as soon as it was early in the morning (Καὶ εὐθὺς πρωῒ), after the all-nighter evening meeting at the house of the high priest of Jerusalem, the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) with the elders or presbyters (μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων) and the Scribes (καὶ γραμματέων) conferred together or came to a resolution (συμβούλιον ἑτοιμάσαντες).  All of this council, tribunal, or Sanhedrin (καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον) agreed.  They tied up or bound Jesus (δήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν).  They led him away (ἀπήγαγον).  They delivered him or handed him over to Pilate (καὶ παρέδωκαν Πειλάτῳ).  Whether this was an official meeting or not, they did come up with a conclusion that they would hand Jesus over to the Roman governor of Judea.  Thus, Pilate had jurisdiction over death penalties, since Judea was within the Roman Empire.  Mark did not mention that Pilate was the governor, but this text just assumes that.  Who was this Pontius Pilate?  He was the rather cruel Roman ruler, prefect, or governor of Judea from 26-36 CE, the exact time frame of Jesus.  Interesting enough, a whole literature and artistic presentations of Pontius Pilate developed in the 20th century with movie and TV portrayals of him.  He was certainly a central figure in this presentation about the death of Jesus.

Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

The defilement of the dead (Ezek 44:25-44:27)

“‘They shall not defile

Themselves

By getting near

To a dead person.

However,

They may defile

Themselves

For a father,

For a mother,

For a son,

For a daughter,

For a brother,

Or for an unmarried sister.

After he has become clean,

They shall count

Seven days for him.

Then he shall be clean.

On the day

That he goes

Into the holy place,

Into the inner court,

To minister

In the holy place,

He shall offer

His sin offering.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God told Ezekiel what to do about the Zadok Levitical priests who defiled themselves by going near a dead person. They were not supposed to go close to a dead person. However, there were occasions when these priests could go near a dead person, and thus, defile themselves. In particular, this usually meant a close family member, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, or an unmarried sister. Yet they would have to become clean again. They would have to wait 7 days before they could be clean. Then they would have to offer a sin offering for themselves in the holy place.

The words of Yahweh in the Temple (Ezek 43:7-43:7)

“He said to me.

‘Son of man!

This is the place

Of my throne.

This is the place

Of the soles

Of my feet.

I will reside

Among the people

Of Israel

Forever!

The house of Israel

Shall no more

Defile

My holy name.

Neither they,

Nor their kings,

By their prostitution,

By the corpses

Of their kings,

At their death,

Defile

My holy name.’”

Yahweh spoke directly to Ezekiel using his normal appellation, son of man. However, rather than an amorphous glorified God, he refers to himself in anthropomorphic terms. Yahweh was going to sit on a throne, like a king. The soles of his feet would walk in this place. He was going to live among his people, not just for a short time but forever. However, there was a caveat. They were not to defile his holy name. Neither the people or their kings should tarnish his sacred name with their prostitution and dead bodies of kings in his Temple.

No more idol worship (Ezek 37:23-37:23)

“They shall never again

Defile themselves

With their idols,

With their detestable things,

Or with any

Of their transgressions.

But I will save them

From all the apostasies

Into which they have fallen.

I will cleanse them.

They shall be

My people.

I will be their God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, laid down the law. There was to be no more idol worship. They were never again to defile themselves with all these detestable things. There would be no more transgressions. Yahweh was going to save them from the various evil ways or apostasies that they had fallen into. Yahweh was going to cleanse them. Thus, they might be truly his people. Yahweh was going to be their God. There would not be any questions about this.

The death of the prince of Tyre (Ezek 28:6-28:8)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You compare

Your mind

With the mind

Of a god.

Therefore,

I will bring strangers

Against you.

I will bring

The most terrible

Of the nations.

They shall draw

Their swords

Against the beauty

Of your wisdom.

They will defile

Your splendor.

They shall thrust you

Down to the pit.

You shall die

A violent death

In the heart

Of the seas.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was upset because the prince of Tyre had compared his mind to that of a god. Thus Yahweh was going to bring strangers, the most terrible of all the nations, against him. They would draw their swords against his beautiful wisdom. They would defile his splendor. They would throw him into the pit with a violent death, right in the middle of the high seas. He would sink and drown.

The defilement of the people (Ezek 20:30-20:31)

“Therefore say

To the house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Will you defile yourselves

After the manner

Of your ancestors?

Will you go astray

After their detestable things?

When you offer

Your gifts,

You defile yourselves.

When you make

Your children

Pass through the fire,

You defile yourselves

With all your idols

To this day.

Shall I be consulted

By you?

O house of Israel!

As I live,

I will not be consulted

By you.’ Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to say to the house of Israel that they should not defile themselves like their ancestors. They should not go astray after their detestable idols. When they offered gifts to these idols, they defiled themselves. When they made their children pass through fire, they also defiled themselves with all their idols. They had been doing this even until the time of Ezekiel. Yahweh wanted to know if he should be consulted by those from the wicked house of Israel. Yahweh was clear. He did not want to be consulted by those who had defiled themselves.