“Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this Man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify Him!” “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has He committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify Him!”
Mark 15:12-14 (NLT)
Back in the early fall the son of a former American president was at a political fund raiser in my area. I only heard about it because an in-law of mine was planning to attend a protest against bringing hate into our part of New Jersey and made a posting about it on social media. So, on a lark, I went to see what all the brouhaha was about. “This’ll create a stir” I thought as I proceeded to equip myself with my new favorite red baseball cap. However, when I got there, an opposing mob had already gathered across the street. Well, because I was wearing the team colors already, I went over and joined them. Soon, I found myself participating in their chants. When it was over, I went home to resume my everyday life as if it was nothing. (I had fun but some things were sad to see)
Pretty soon we’ll all be in the midst of Resurrection Sunday and, technically, it is the biggest day in Christendom. Everything our Bibles teach leads to this moment. Some may mark the day with a special ham dinner, some will wear the “Easter” bonnet, a new shirt and tie, and we’ll all be hoping for a nice spring day, unfortunately all of that may make the Resurrection of Jesus Christ seem as blasé as watching Cecil B. Demille’s movie, The Ten Commandments, on television. We participate in it because we’re wearing the team colors, right? Sad, but true.
I know a lot of us will hear sermons about The Cross of Christ and how important it was for the Savior of the world to do what was needed to be done to wash an ungrateful people of their sin before a Might God. Many may be convicted enough to feel as if it should be they who should be hanging on that Cross. Well, technically, Jesus says pick up your cross and follow Him. For me, that means His Cross was His Cross, my cross is my cross to bear alone. Feel free to contact me if you see this otherwise, I look forward to rightly dividing the Word with you. Anyway…
Now that I’ve actually have gotten to participate in a “mob” I wonder what it must have been like to be there when Pontius Pilate presented, a visibly beaten, “King of the Jews” to the residents of Jerusalem. Chances are many of those faces in the mob weren’t following anyone who was calling themselves the Messiah, let alone wanted anything to do with Roman law and order. This was like the early afternoon matinee before they all had to participate in the Passover meal later on so why not pass the time doing this?
Now, it was known that Pilate simply didn’t like the Jewish people. He thought them a stubborn, rebellious people (that’s funny, so did YHVH) and was constantly suspicious of them. So, when the Jewish leaders brought Jesus to him, he immediately thought something wasn’t right. This guy was innocent in his eyes and after a second audience with Him, Pilate presented Jesus to the mob, “Would you like me to release the King of the Jews?” The answer was simply, “Crucify Him!! Release Barabbas!!”
It’s important to note here that Barabbas was a known insurrectionist to the Roman Empire and was chosen, by the Jewish leaders, to slight Pilate but because the crowd hadn’t really gotten to know who Jesus Christ was for and to them it was easy for the Sanhedrists to manipulate them in chanting, “Crucify Him!! Release Barabbas!!”, over and over again. And it’s at this point where I ask, “Is your face in that mob?” Are you one of those who is yelling, “Crucify Him!! Release Barabbas!!”? Yeah, that changes things, doesn’t it?
In the movie Gladiator there’s a scene where Proximo tells Maximus, “Win the crowd and you’ll win your freedom”, but where is the hope in that? To me, it seems that mobs are easily swayed by the loudest voice not by selfless actions but Jesus Christ wasn’t trying to win the mob, was He? He did what He did for…YOU. Sometimes we’re so busy trying to fit in, participating with, and wearing the team colors of the mob that we miss the simplicity of what Jesus taught in this verse…
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:34b-36)
…can a brother get an Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org