Giving in to popular opinion has its price.
I mixed in with the substantial crowd, trying to get as close to the front as I dared. It wasn’t far, well into the rear as I remained with the other women and children so as not to be noticed. This was one excited, angry crowd, and I didn’t want to get myself hurt or trampled. I listened to those around me for the latest news on Jesus’ sentence.
Would he be killed, or released? I prayed for the latter ever since I learned of his arrest. I had heard Jesus speak many times, and heal the sick, wounded, even the dead. Surely, after so many miracles, this man had to be the Messiah my people were promised.
Many of the other women I stood around believed as I did. They wept and keened to God for Jesus’ deliverance. I cried and prayed as well, though I covered my head with my hood and tried to remain quiet.
Pilate, having a strong, resonant voice spoke saying he found no fault with this man. I cheered as did many of the others, not because Jesus would be flogged, but that he would be released.
But the majority of the crowd drowned out our cheers by screaming, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”
I lowered my arms, stunned to silence.
Pilate yelled out why we thought he must kill an innocent man. He again stated Jesus would be flogged and then released.
The crowd pushed forward, causing me to almost stumble to the ground and get trampled. I heard many terrified screams of those who did fall, made worse when their cries suddenly stopped.
As one the crowd chanted, “Crucify him!” over and over.
Even those who had been begging for Jesus’ release now pumped their fists into the air and chanted the same.
I thought I would turn to stone in terror at those around me. I even felt a few furious glares as some noticed my silence. I slouched, pulled my hood down farther over my face and tried to blend in even more.
Then right in front of me a young teenager yelled at the top of his lungs proclaiming Jesus’ innocence. For a second I wanted to add his voice with mine, to stop this . . . evil.
I’m glad I didn’t after what happened next. I won’t describe what the people standing next to him did, except to say the mob silenced the poor boy quickly and permanently.
I glanced at the faces around me, many of whom I knew and loved, all now red and furious, begging for Jesus’ death. These were the same people who believed and convinced me to believe Jesus was the Messiah, our King.
But now, I began to doubt all this. After all, if Jesus really was the Son of God, couldn’t he end this travesty with a single word? Yet I heard nothing except the crowd, getting louder and more excited as the seconds passed.
When Pilate gave in and handed Jesus over to be crucified, I knew. Jesus was not our Savior. I raised my own fist and added to the chanting and the glee for this man to die.
I still believe I did the right thing. My actions had spared my life.
So why do I fear I killed my soul?