Scripture: Luke 23:13-25
Key verses: (20-23) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” 23 But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed.
Reflection: The town of Montreat has one of the oldest fourth of July parades in North Carolina. There is always an Uncle Sam, dogs dressed in their best American flag outfits and of course bag-pipers. This is where my family and I spend our fourth of July every year, camping in Montreat. The crowds line the streets of this little town, putting out chairs the night before to get a good spot. Others line out picnic areas and linger all day. What I love about this place or this moment in time is the crowds represent a variety of political opinions. And yet, the crowd remembers today that we are family. This crowd believes in freedom. This crowd believes in celebrating and honoring our Veterans. This crowd believes in loving our neighbor and letting love lead.
The crowd does not always lead with love as we see in this passage. The crowd screamed out loudly, “Crucify Him!” Was it a political fear? Was it that the leaders were afraid that Jesus would cause a revolt and bring the wrath of the Roman Empire down on their heads? Or was it jealousy that worked them up to such a frenzy? Were they upset that Jesus was drawing such large crowds and on more than one occasion had made them look like they didn’t know anything? What would cause people to demand the death of a man they had followed, a man that they had seen do miracles, and that was innocent of any and all crimes? Were they motivated by greed, anger, or lust for power? Was it the power of the crowd?
The crowd that day was not only made up of the political leaders of the day. It had the same people in it that had cried out, “Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” They had worshiped Him and shouted and sang songs of praise. In that crowd there were ordinary people, just like anyone else. They got swept up with the crowd. People just like me… and people like you.
Let us step away from the crowd and continue to follow Jesus who always invites us to lead with love.
Prayer: Almighty God, give us unity and not uniformity. May we hear your voice amidst anger and division calling us to lead with love, offer mercy and live in grace. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].