Monday, March 30, 2015
Any student of human nature would not be surprised if some of those who hollered, "Hosanna!" on Sunday cried out "Crucify Him!" on Friday. There is something about the power of a group that causes individuals to act as they never would if acting alone. On Sunday individuals got carried away by the contagious spirit of excitement over future possibilities. On Friday individuals were seduced by the suggestion of one who proposed a thing unthinkable to a single person thinking only for himself.
What happened on that Friday in Pilate's court was the creation of a mob. A mob has a collective mind that is controlled not by the individuals who compose it, but by the power of the one who prods and manipulates in order to see some evil worked while being protected by the obscurity of being one among many. Thus, individuals in a mob do things together which one would never consider if a moment of acting alone. Only the leaders in the shadows truly understand the purpose of the community being created in the darkness.
Such a group stands in the presence of Pilate and Jesus on that Friday of the cross. Alone it is not likely one would have voiced a word about crucifying a good man like Jesus, but with a mob all manner of evil is possible. When Pilate refused to take responsibility, the mob was poised to do so. When Pilate wanted to vacate control, the mob was ready to take it. Someone in the shadows whispered, "Crucify Him!" and soon the smoke like whisper turned into a wildfire impossible to stop. Even as Jesus had seen the presence of the evil one in the wilderness after His baptism and many times on the journey to the Jerusalem, He surely knew as He looked into those individual faces of the mob that the evil one was once again on the prowl. Terrible things happened when the human heart is given over to the influence of the evil one--even if for just a moment.