The (in)justice of the mob in Luke 23

We pick up the story with Jesus before Pontius Pilate,

And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

Pilate then sent Jesus to Herod, and when Herod was done with him,

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 

The crowd would have nothing of it.  They demanded Jesus be crucified.  Pilate continued,

22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 

You can almost feel sorry for Pilate.  It’s hard to resist the mob and maybe hardest of all for a politician to do so, even one as awful as this one.  The raging crowd often gets its way, and that is what happens here, but is seldom altogether right in what it demands.  Mob scenes are never a good place to carefully debate all the options, but ideal if your goal is to make bad things happen.

Exodus 23:2 says,

You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice.

In this case the sinless Son of God was sent to his death, a slow, arduous, humiliating, hellish death.  Of course, we can be happy for that.  It was part of God’s plan to use evil to bring about good.  The worst injustice that ever occurred on planet earth accomplished the greatest good for the maximum number of people. 

As we read in Romans 8:31-34,

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Thank you Jesus!

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