Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The traditional Gospel readings during Holy Week are rather long. The intention is to read the arrest, trial, and crucifixion account from each of the Gospels.
Jesus entered Jerusalem with crowds singing his praises and welcoming him as a king. Less than five days later he was arrested and tried in the night. He was then condemned to death, with crowds calling out for him, rather than Barabbas, a known criminal, to be killed. What happened in this time? Why did public opinion shift so radically?
We look specifically at Luke 23:18 and following to make it plain. The crowd around Pilate's headquarters, where he issued judgments, was demanding the freedom of Barabbas and the death of Jesus. They were ready to condemn Jesus, no matter what.
Who made up the crowd around Pilate? It was composed of priests, scribes, Pharisees, Saduccees, household and temple attendants. These were people who had been involved in the arrest and alleged trial of Jesus.
Jesus was brought to Pilate early in the morning. Influential Romans received visitors at the first hour of the day, shortly after dawn. We might think of it as a before-breakfast meeting. At that time, they would grant favors to those who came to them with pledges of faithfulness. They would receive tokens of appreciation for past favors done. Those who were in positions of authority as a judge or a governor would hear brief cases and issue judgments. The Jewish leaders brought Jesus and his charges at this early morning time for that specific purpose.
The leaders who brought Jesus were accompanied by their own attendants, making a crowd in the courtyard. These people were supporters of the high priests. They wanted Jesus dead.
We read slighly later, in verses 26 and following, that public sentiment had not changed since Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. As Jesus was sent to the place of crucifixion, a large number of people of Jerusalem, some natives and doubtless some who were just there for the Passover celebration, followed along, mourning him. They didn't want Jesus dead. He was showing himself to be a Messianic figure. They had welcomed him as the king.
In our world there are those who want Jesus dead, and there are those who want Jesus alive. Regardless of what they want, Christian testimony is clear. Jesus was killed for our sins, rested in the tomb, and rose again the third day, to eternal life. He also delivers eternal life to all who believe on him. We want to be those who would receive him as the king and ruler of all.
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