As our family has been reading about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus in Matthew, we have been trying to understand the people who did these terrible things. And not doing very well.
The Jewish leaders – how dumb were they! It seems to be that either 1) Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God – in which case, pretty stupid to mess with Him. Or 2) He was a fake. I would think that the less said the better. Oh, sure He’s popular now, but if He’s a fake, the people will probably get tired of Him when He does not do all the wonderful miracles and things they hope for. Oh, wait. He does. Back to option 1). But we know that Jesus is the Christ. How well do we follow His counsel? If we don’t, aren’t we denying Him?
Pilot was Roman, so we don’t expect him to be a believer or to know the scriptures. Yet he seems to almost at least wonder a little, to sort of want to know, but to be a little afraid of what that would mean. At the very least he knows that Jesus does not deserve what is happening to him. And yet he goes along with it because he is afraid of the people. Some conquering ruler he is. How many times have I not stood up for the right because I was afraid?
The soldiers. Ok, some of them are just following orders and I understand the Roman army could be pretty strict. Still how can human beings torture anyone or anything? – even under orders I don’t think I could. I would like to think that I would rather be tortured that inflict torture, although coward and wuss that I am, I don’t know what I would actually do. But they not only obeyed orders, they went beyond the whipping to the taunting. To enjoying the pain, humiliation and suffering of another being. An innocent one at that. To torture and torment even a guilty person is just not right. How can people do that?
The people. Really. What is with people? How could people so thirst for anyone’s torturous death?! Let alone someone who had only done good?! Were some of the people the same ones who had cheered His entry into Jerusalem with waving palms? Some of them probably were. People who were always looking to see what interesting/exciting entertainment is going on. People who want to be in on the action whatever it is. People who are easily swayed by mob mentality. These people I don’t think were acting out of fear of the populace like Pilot. They gave their brains and emotions to the rabble rousers – they thought, did, said, felt what the mob leaders wanted them to do. They must be people who pretty much don’t THINK. I just really hope I would never be that kind of person. Have I ever gone along with the crowd when I should have stood up against them or at the very least walked away? Have I bought into what someone else was saying without finding out if it was right, true, or good?
My heart goes out to His disciples and especially His mother and other special women. He tried to prepare them. He told them what was going to happen (perhaps not in gory detail). But how could anyone be ready for the horrible reality? Did they doubt Him when they saw Him like that? Did they understand at all that this was His choice, that He was allowing this to happen? How shaken was their faith? Not completely, that’s for sure. They met together in prayer while He was dead. They didn’t chuck it all and go home saying, “Well, I was stupid. That was a wasted 3 years.” They still believed. They may not have fully understood HOW it was all going to work out, but they believed. They still loved Him. If they thought He had been lying to them, would the women still have gone to the tomb to anoint His body? They still loved Him and wanted to serve Him. Now THESE are role models. We want to be found with the other faithful, praying and awaiting His word.
How great is our Lord and His selfless, immeasurable redeeming love!