Someone said to me that human beings are fickle, rather unstable creatures, especially emotionally. One minute we can show love and care and be all things nice, and in the next little while we can be full of hatred, bitterness, envy, and create discord and the like. This doesn’t just happen within families, businesses, but also with crowds in general.
On Palm Sunday, the crowds wanted to make Jesus their king. Their shouts went up – ‘Hosanna’ – [Save now], and yet within a few days some of them shouted, ‘Crucify Him’ even though our Saviour had done no wrong. The reality is that as individuals, as parents, as heads of families, as leaders, we can either fuel love, care, graciousness, and many other positive attributes, or we can fuel hatred, bitterness and envy, and create discord and the like.
Judas Iscariot had been with the Lord for three years and seemingly made all the right noises. But his heart was was so full of hatred and envy towards Jesus that he seized the opportunity to betray Jesus after the Last Supper to the leaders of the church, which included the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin. The crowd that accompanied them to arrest Jesus as He left the garden of Gethsemane was perhaps as many as several hundred, including the soldiers. They were probably a carefully selected group whose only purpose was to arrest Jesus and ensure that He was executed.
We all know how this story end. With shouts of ‘crucify Him’ becoming ever louder from the now frenzied crowd, Pilate washed his hands and allowed Jesus to be crucified. Humanly speaking, a great miscarriage of justice occurred that Friday, for Jesus had done no wrong. Everything He said and did was, sinless, true and in full obedience to His heavenly Father. And yet the crowds rejected Him.
In considering this, let us not forget, what Jesus said in John 10:17-18; “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” It is without doubt that the Jews, the leaders of the Synagogues, Pilate, and the crowds that shouted ‘Crucify Him’ will need to give an account of their actions, but they didn’t take Jesus’ life from Him. Jesus laid it down willingly, in obedience to his Father’s will. Interestingly, when Peter preached his Pentecost sermon, he mentioned that God had made this Jesus both Lord and Christ, and many were cut to the heart, repented and believed. We read that about three thousand were added to their numbers (Acts 2).
The unbelieving world has always despised Jesus’ rule and the mission of His followers. Instead of coming to repentance and faith and reverently embracing Christ’s completed work on the cross, the world wants to find any excuse to reject the Saviour they so desperately need.
Nevertheless, God’s word is powerful and we as Christians need to be careful not to just go along with the crowd. Rather, with sober judgement, let us be discerning and when required, stand apart from the individual or crowd which is only intent on sowing discord and hatred. Instead, let us pray that the Holy Spirit would use us to show real love and care to a hurting world. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit would overcome people’s resistance to Jesus so that they willingly embrace Him as Saviour, Lord and King of their lives to the glory of God the Father. Who knows, it may be the Lord’s will to add three thousand to our numbers – indeed, may it be so! JZ.