“Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’” vs. 23
According to Matthew the chief priests and the elders were not able to convince Pilate that Jesus deserved the death penalty. The case they had presented was full of half-truths and malicious gossip and Pilate believed that they were motivated primarily by jealousy. But they had convinced the crowd, and ultimately that was enough. It’s still easy to stir people up with well crafted lies and inflammatory rhetoric. All around the world we see crowds being used to shape reality and subvert the truth. Preachers and politicians alike delight in getting folks worked up about one thing or another. Logic and reasoned discourse are abandoned in favor of catchy phrases and shouted sloganeering. “Let him be crucified,” was the cry of the people in the streets of Jerusalem, and even the Roman governor was helpless before that repeated refrain. It’s likely that some of those who had shouted “Hosanna” just a few days before were now clamoring for Jesus’ death. And if we’d been there, there’s a good chance we would have joined the chorus. That’s the scary thing about all of this. History tells us that the perpetrators of some of the greatest evils were ordinary folks just doing what everyone else was doing! It takes real courage to stand against a mob–and like Pilate, many just don’t have it!
Thought for the Day: Why are crowds so easily duped?