But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. – Luke 23:23 NLT
The envy of the religious leaders turned the crowd into an angry mob. Their hatred of Jesus had whipped the people into a frenzy, causing them to demand the death of Jesus. All this in spite of three separate pleas from Pilate asking them to reconsider. He told them, "You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent" (Luke 23:14 NLT). Pilate could find nothing about Jesus that was worthy of death, so he offered to release him. But they demanded his death. Pilate even argued with them because he knew that Jesus was innocent of all charges. But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Finally, out of desperation, Pilate asked, "Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death" (Luke 23:22 NLT). But once again, their angry shouts drowned him out. Their voices prevailed.
The vocal minority won the day. You have to remember that it was still very early in the morning when all of this took place. The crowd that had gathered for this spectacle was more than likely hand-picked by the religious leaders. They would have gathered their friends, associates, and family members in order to present a show of force to Pilate. They would have wanted it to appear as if all Jerusalem was in an uproar over this dangerous radical. But the truth is, most people would have been asleep or going about their morning affairs as all this was taking place. But the crowd that was there prevailed. They got their way. Ultimately, Pilate gave in to their demands, washed his hands of the whole affair, and turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
The amazing and sad part of this story is that there was no one there who spoke up for Jesus. When you think of all the people whose lives He had touched, not a single one was there to support Him or to testify on His behalf. That's why I believe the crowd was prearranged. I have to believe that if some of those whom Jesus had healed had known that He was there, they would have shown up to defend Him. But during each one of His trials, not a single solitary soul showed up to speak up for Him. Not even His own disciples. Isaiah prophesied about this very day. "He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care" (Isaiah 53:3 NLT). Jesus was alone. The shouts of the crowd rang in His ears. "Crucify Him!" He looked around at those screaming for His death. He saw no one He knew. There wasn't a friendly face to be found. But the faces He saw reflected the true feelings of the majority of those He came to save. They hated Him. Even though most of them did not even know Him. They knew nothing about Him. All they knew they had been told by the religious leaders. Their knowledge of Jesus was based on false accusations and faulty information. They were demanding the death of the Son of God and they didn't even know it. Today, countless millions reject the Son of God, based on false accusations and faulty information. They turn their backs on their only hope because they have received bad information. They've listened to the crowd. They've bought the lies of the so-called "experts." Which is why we need to speak up. Our voices need to shout the truth. We need to proclaim the reality of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for mankind on the cross. We need to boldly drown out the those demanding His death with shouts of "Worship Him! Worship Him!" We need to beg people to place their faith in Him. Paul reminds us that the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. We exist to proclaim the truth regarding the life-transforming power of His death and resurrection. Our lives need to be living, breathing testimonies of what faith in Christ is all about. As we talk and share about Jesus and what He has done and is doing in our lives. may our voices prevail. May our shouts of joy, thanksgiving, praise, and witness to His saving power drown out all those who would wish to render Jesus dead or irrelevant.
May our voices prevail. Give us the boldness to proclaim the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. May what we say and how we live give daily witness to the reality of Jesus' life transforming power in our lives. We have remained far too silent for far too long. We have a message to tell to the nations. Give us the courage to shout what we know about Jesus from the rooftops, so that our voices truly do prevail. Amen.