June 19 - The Crowd

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June 19 – The Crowd

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. (John 19:1-15)

It continues to baffle me how the crowd’s passions changed in just a few short days.  They were ready to crown Jesus as king when He arrived in Jerusalem and it didn’t take long to hear their voices raised against Him.

We’re a fickle lot, we are.  It doesn’t take much to change our minds.  First we create a celebrity and with a moment, we can chastise them and ridicule them.  Even within the Christian community.  If someone steps over the line, we are more than happy to tear them apart and toss them to the lions.

Jesus wasn’t about to rely on the whims of humanity.  Pilate told Him that he had the power over life or death.  Jesus knew that wasn’t true.  God has that power.

Jesus didn’t rely on the crowd to support Him.  He knew that they were fickle.  Even those who were closest to Him and knew Him better than anyone else were long gone and hiding … in fear of their own lives. 

There’s a lesson in this for us.  We can’t rely on the crowd to offer us our lives.  We can’t give them that power – whether it is a crowd of anonymous people or those who know us well.  There is only One that can define our future and our destiny.  That is the same power that Jesus relied on – the power of the Creator. 

Our future, our definition, our lives, everything about us is found in the Father.  We look for it in the crowd.  The crowd tries to tell us that it is paying attention and will give us everything we need.  We’ll never find it there.  We can only find it in God.