I learn a lot from the trial of Jesus and how illegal and unfair it was, and yet in the end Christ was still crucified with a landslide majority vote. Everyone knew that Jesus was innocent and that it was Jewish politicians, the so called Pharisees, Sadducees and other members of the Jewish Parliament that wanted Jesus dead. Politicians felt threatened by Jesus because against their expectations, the number of his followers kept swelling every day. Jesus was very radical in his approach and stood against everything that politicians of his time stood for. As a result, the Jewish authorities had anticipated that Jesus would fail to garner support for his radicalism. But on the contrary, he was gathering more influence than them, and they began to panic and schemed his death. So the political establishment decided to get Jesus hanged.
Even Pontius Pilate the governor of Judea who presided over the trial of Jesus, just like any other official who handled the trial of Jesus that night including the fierce Herod, saw no case to crucify Jesus for. And yet, when Pilate decided to let Jesus go free for his innocence, Jews shouted and threatened to report him to the Emperor in Rome to get him deposed. Pilate gave in and got Jesus crucified in one of the greatest miscarriage of Justice in the history of man.
But why is it that nearly all Jews at the castle of Pilate ganged up against Christ and protested against Pilate’s intention to release him and shouted, “Crucify him!” “Crucify him!” “Crucify him!?” They knew pretty well that he was innocent? They knew he had healed their sick, fed their hungering, raised their dead and gave hope to the hopeless.
Here is what I have always suspected happened: the large crowd that attended the trail of Jesus that night went there out of mere curiosity to see what would happen to Jesus after his arrest not to condemn him to death because they loved him. But when Pilate asked about crucifying Jesus, a member of the political establishment, a Pharisee shouted from the crowd and said, “Crucify him!” then another Pharisee shouted, “Crucify him!” and then another joined and in the end, even Christ’s own followers that had just came to witness the trial out of curiosity, most of whom did not even know what was happening because they were far from the trial chamber where Christ stood, just joined the mob and begun to shout as well, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And in the end, everybody said crucify him without a proper reason.
If Jews were to be asked later why they shouted crucify him, they would not have given a convincing answer, because they only followed a few that started the shout. And it was those that started the shout, the Pharisees, that knew exactly why they wanted Christ dead, and it was because he stood against their political and religious power in the Jewish society.
As we worship today, may we reflect on the trial of Jesus and its subsequent miscarriage of justice that he suffered out of mob pressure, just to ransom us from our bondage of sin. And may we make daily effort to be better followers of Christ, in our deeds, thoughts and relationships. (Lyson Sibande