…While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas …
Pilate then addressed the chief priests and the crowds, "I find this man not guilty."
…Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, "You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him."
But all together they shouted out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us." (Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder.) Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, but they continued their shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Pilate addressed them a third time, "What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him." With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. (Lk 22,14-23,56)
Today’s reading gives the narratives of the passion and death of Jesus. In this reading, we see Jesus with his disciples at the Passover meal and with the leaders and the officials and the soldiers at the time of Trial and crucifixion.
I would like to reflect on the role of the crowd at the passion and death of Jesus. When Jesus is arrested they are found with Judas. At the time of Trial they are there with Pilate and cry ‘crucify him’.
Pilate tried three times to release Jesus.
At the first instance, in front of the crowd, he says; “I find this man not guilty"
Pilate and Herod do not find him guilty. So Pilate says “I shall release him”
Pilate addressed them a third time and said; “I shall release him”
But the crowd shouted saying; release Barabbas but crucify Jesus. So the crowd finds Jesus guilty of capital punishment while Barabbas is found to be not guilty (seems so)
So the crowd together with the religious leaders has shifted the blame from the guilty to the innocent. Neither Pilate nor Herod could do anything about it. The voice of the crowd ruled the day and brought justice to the ground. But God worked his way through.
Earthly rulers will fail; crowd will mislead; yet GOD WILL WIN.