28.03.10 CROWD

Posted under Reflections on March 27th, 2010 by

 …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. 


Posted under Reflections on March 26th, 2010 by

…So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish." He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him… (Jn 11, 45-56)


Jesus’ activities are getting a political colouring.  The rulers are worried that because of Jesus the Romans will take over the land and the nation. In fact the Romans had taken over the whole of the Middle East. Only in John’s gospel, the author speaks openly about the Romans (This is the only place where the word ‘Romans’ appears in all four gospels).

The officials were worried that Jesus was gathering a crowd around him. The crowd gathered around him because of his miracles (healing and raising the dead etc) and teachings.  Some considered him to be a prophet and others a messiah. Supposing Jesus entered into Jerusalem with this crowd, and if the Romans got the wind of it, then that would be the end of any national hope. That would be the end of the nation. Hence the leaders were worried about the nation.

Hence the plan of Caiaphas could be seen as a prophecy. A prophecy, that says that Jesus would die for the nation. The leaders were plotting a judicial murder to save the nation.

John interprets it as a divine prophecy.  He has been saying that Jesus is the ‘lamb of God’, ‘Jesus is the temple to be rebuilt in three days’, ‘Jesus is to be lifted up like a serpent’ etc. So, Jesus dies to gather the scattered children of God. 

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