Crucify! Crucify!

John 19:6-7.

When the chief priests therefore and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye Him, and crucify Him: for I find no fault in Him.

The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.

The religious leaders of the Jews had whipped the people into a bloodthirsty frenzy. How could it be that the same people who had welcomed Him with palm branches and joy now screamed for His death?

The answer to that is clear, if you know the history. They thought He had come as Messiah, to overthrow Rome and free them from the merciless authority of Roman law. When they realized that wasn’t going to happen, they demanded (with encouragement from the priests and Pharisees) that He be executed in the most gruesome possible way.

In my Bible, words that have been added by the translators for clarity are printed in italics. They were not in the original manuscripts. Therefore, the people were yelling, “Crucify! Crucify!” perhaps like a chant as protesting mobs like to do.

Pilate had hoped, it would seem, that by presenting Jesus humiliated, bloodied and beaten beyond recognition, He would gain the sympathy of the crowd. It was enough, and they would be satisfied. He knew that the San Hedrin, ruling body of the Jews, did not have the authority for crucifixion. That particular horror was reserved to Roman authority. So when the people screamed, “Crucify!” Pilate rather sarcastically told them to take Jesus, then, and see to it. He, himself, found no fault in Jesus.

So the priests and Pharisees played their trump card: “By our Law, He deserves to die! He has made Himself out to be God!”

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