Pilate sentences Jesus
Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” they shouted. “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Looking in retrospect close to 2000 years later, it is easy to judge the crowd, to distance ourselves from them. We know we wouldn’t have been one of them. We would never have betrayed Jesus. We would have known who he was. We would have been faithful.
After all we praised him as he entered the gates of Jerusalem. We cried, “Hosanna! Blessed is the son of David. Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest.”
We’re on his side and are not easily persuaded.
It’s easy to think that anyway.
Remember, the crowds in Jerusalem who shouted “Crucify him!” were also those who shouted “Hosanna!”
People are people no matter the century. We easily get caught up in the passion of the moment setting aside our true values and beliefs.
As Christians we aim to be compassionate, understanding, gracious, just, and merciful.
Have you ever been so angered by someone who cut you off that you swore at him/her or returned the act in kind?
Have you cut all ties with a family member over a dispute that happened years ago?
Have you refused to forgive?
When you see a person begging in the street, do you always lend a helping hand, or have you, on occasion, looked away?
The currents of culture and passions of people can be tempting, seductive, and strong.
The angry crowds who shout “Crucify Him!” are not just those people at that time. They are us. We are them.