During the festival, Pilate released one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. A man named Barabbas was locked up with the rebels who had committed murder during an uprising. The crowd pushed forward and asked Pilate to release someone, as he regularly did. Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” He knew that the chief priests had handed him over because of jealousy. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas to them instead. Pilate replied, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call king of the Jews?”
They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done?”
They shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”
Pilate wanted to satisfy the crowd, so he released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus whipped, then handed him over to be crucified.
Mark 15:6-15, Common English Bible (c) 2011
The crowd. No estimate on size. No description of individual participants. No longer are there are individuals. All have been sucked into something outside themselves, beyond their best judgment.
With a few choice words the crowd becomes a mob. Thinking, caring, rational human beings lose their identities, say horrible things, and act in ways foreign to their ordinary daily lives. No effort is made to consider the consequences. Caught up in the moment, there is no time for second thoughts.
As Mark tells the story, Pilate knew better but bowed to the crowd.
This business of going along to get along still happens today – even when we know it is not in our best interest. How do we resist?
-Teressa Clark, 2019
Lenten Reflections 2019: Following Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Tomb ~ Day 36