Day Five (Continues)
The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
The Cruel Mob Which Crucified The Christ
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
Until one becomes familiar with the great turmoil and unrest which permeated the atmosphere in all Judea, during the greatest hours of the earthly life of Jesus, it would seem strange and hard to understand that, on Palm Sunday, the streets of Jerusalem were deeply lined with multitudes proclaiming:
"Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord," and then to witness, on the same street, of that same City, on the following Friday morning, those identical voices, enveloped in hatred and anger, shouting:
"Away with Him, Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"
One would naturally make this inquiry:
"Why the sudden and great change of attitudes?
Why, in a matter of a few fleeting hours, did this throng permit hatred and ill-will to take place of admiration and love?"
Because the enemies of Jesus had conspired to bring about just such a change in conditions in Judea.
Those delirious shouts of acclamation for the Master convinced His enemies that, ere long, unless stopped, the whole world would be following Him. And then, to be sure, the Pharisees and Sadducees, with their pityful and narrow versions of shallow, superficial creeds, would fade into the catacombs of complete oblivion-forever lost to the memory of men!
Thus we find that Caiaphas and his father-in-law, Annas, complete the deal with Judas Iscariot to betray his benefactor and friend, the Lowly Nazarene.
Then they incite the people to the realization that, as Jesus had so often said, He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom- therefore, they were following the wrong course if their dreams of an earthly king were to be materialize.
And so, they leave the Master all alone!
Let us now take a glance at the unruly, unholy mob, as they gloat over their captive Prisoner on that Friday morning, on the road leading up Calvary's hill:
To be sure, there was Annas, the disreputable, political boss of Judea, leaning heavily upon the arm of his corrupt son-in-law, the high priest, Caiaphas.
Those two were leading the frenzied multitude to the place designated for the cruel crucifixion. Immediately behind, we see the cowardly members of the discredited Sanhedrin, chatting amid the smiles of the Sadducees and Pharisees; and ignoring, of course, the groans of the Savior as He tries, in vain, to shift the heavy burden of the rugged cross to another position upon His sore and bleeding shoulder!
Yes, they were finally headed toward Golgotha- a place of the skull- a place hallowed by the fact that, in all the world, since the beginning of time, nowhere else can one find better or more convincing proof of Divine love for a lost world, and humble devotion to a Father's will!
Other places would appear more beautiful- but none as sacred!
And oh, what a motley crowd it was which made up the multitude, on that occasion. There they were- Jews of every size and age; priests, scribes and Levities; then the heartless Roman soldiers, being led by the coward, Pontius Pilate- the man who claimed to have washed his hands of the innocent blood.
Following closely behind, we see, in a small minority, a few of His friends, their faces filled with greif and fear.
Then, with greater courage, but broken hearts can be seen the disciple, John, with his arms about the shoulders of the mother of Jesus, as he tried to console that grief-stricken woman, whose eyes are filled with tears!
After Jesus falters, because of the great weight of His burden, along comes Simon, who was very probably a member of the colored race. He leans downward, as he undertakes to help the prostrate Christ back to His feet; clutches a portion of the heavy cross so as to lighten, to some degree, the awful weight which pressed against the bleeding body of Jesus.
This was done without a halt, in order that the procession of evil men might continue their steady march to the place of murder!
As the crest of Calvary is reached, the Roman soldiers, under the directions of Annas and Caiaphas, begin the nailing of his hands and feet to the cross, as it is lying flat upon the ground.
Then, with their brute strength, He is lifted up into an upright position, between the two thieves.
But there was one character missing from the unholy scene- Judas Iscariot! He was not privileged to see the culmination of his treachery, because, by now, he is a suicide, buried in potter's field, purchased by the high priests with the same filthy silver which was used to effect the betrayal.
It might be said that, officially, the crowd was not in the trial, nor active participants in the subsequent crucifixion; but, by their presence, they became the thoughtless puppets of these unscrupulous leaders- Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate- and therefore, they shared the guilt of what had happened.
To say the least, they rendered a disservice to Christianity, and helped place a blot of shame and disgrace upon the sordid names of those who did take active parts.
Also, they willingly joined their voices with the mighty crowd who were demanding the release of Barabbas, a confessed murderer, instead of the sinless Nazarene!
Binded and inflamed by the dire echoes of their own voices, they found themselves clamoring for the innocent blood of Him who had done no wrong.
Then came the consciousness of wrongdoing, for many were heard to say:
"His blood be upon us, and our children!"
And while they might have then thought that they were victorious by the enactment of that drama at Calvary, they later learned, with deep regrets, that they had gone through the darkest and most dismal hours of their lives.
Because the real and permanent victory was won by the victim of their vile deeds-Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God!
This needs to be added to the picture:
Immediately after the dying Christ announced that it was finished, and He commended His precious Spirit into the hands of His Heavenly Father, there was darkness over the land for three hours; and His Heavenly Father then took charge, causing the veil of the temple to be rent in two from top to bottom and made the earth around them quake, and the rocks to be rent- and then, one of the evil men in the mob, a Roman soldier, filled with horror and trembling, spoke for all present, and said:
"Truly this Man was the Son of God!"