7740 - The Mob Rules

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Today we study the last of the seven examinations of Jesus. This final trial was before Pilate, the Roman governor over Judea.

I’ll read Luke 23:13-25, but we will also look at other passages.

Pilate called together the chief priests, rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him. "

With one voice they cried out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him."

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.

So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

When the crowd returned to Pilate from Herod’s place, Pilate called the Jewish leaders and the other people together and addressed them: “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him and found there was no basis for your charge. Herod also found no offense in him, for he sent him back here with no outstanding charge. It’s clear he has done nothing wrong, and certainly nothing deserving death. Now, I’m going to warn him and set him free.

This announcement from Pilate did not make the crowd happy. They were out for blood.

Pilate senses that it was out of envy that the chief priest had delivered him up for trial.

Furthermore, while he was hearing this trial, Pilate’s wife had sent him a note of warning for Pilate not to have anything to do with convicting this righteous man because she had been greatly troubled today by a dream about this man.

Pilate was being pulled from many directions. His conscience told him this was not right. His wife warned him he would be sorry. Yet the crowd yelled and shouted for blood. What was he to do?

Pilate was aware that it was customary at the feast for the governor to pardon unto the people a prisoner whom they would choose. He reasoned within himself for a moment. All the while the chief priests were working the crowd, stirring them up.

Then Pilate asked the crowd whether they would rather have Jesus released to them or Barabbas, one of the notorious criminals in the prison?

Coached by the Jewish leaders the crowd asked for Barabbas to be released. As Pilate thought this over the crowd increased their clamor for Barabbas’ release.

Pilate asked what should be done with Jesus? With a great uproar they shouted “Crucify him, crucify him! Release Barabbas to us!”

In unbelief Pilate asked “Why, what crime has this man committed? Then he said, “I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. His soldiers wove a crown of thorns and pressed it onto his head. They placed a purple robe upon Jesus, then struck him and beat him.

Finally Pilate brought Jesus before the crowd again and said I find no basis for a charge against him.

As soon as the chief priest and the crowd saw him, they shouted: “Crucify, Crucify.”

Pilate was afraid, because he had heard them cry out: “He claimed to be the Son of God, and for that he must die.”

Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting. The noise and clamor increased!

So Pilate decided to grant their demands. He released Barabbas to the crowd. Then Pilate granted their demand and surrendered Jesus to their will.

The mob had ruled over justice. Jesus would be crucified unjustly.