How could things have changed so suddenly? The cries of “Hosanna!” on Palm Sunday were all but forgotten, as only a few days later the crowds, spurred on by the religious leaders, yell, “Crucify!” How could this have happened? There as several different reactions at the crucifixion of Jesus.
Pilate’s wife had heard about Jesus. She sent her husband an urgent message, “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of Him.” (vs 19 NIV) She feared for herself and for the governor because of this dream, so she warned him of it. His response—he washed his hands of the matter.
The soldiers mocked Him, placing a red robe and a crown of thorns on Him. Then they removed the robe and beat Him. They nailed Him to the cross, placing a sign above His head, “This is Jesus: King of the Jews”. (vs 37 NIV)
The people around the cross insulted Him. “Save Yourself!” “Come down from the cross, if You’re the Son of God!” “He saved others, but He can’t save Himself!” Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him!” “He trusts God. Let God rescue Him!” (vs 40-43 NIV)
God’s reaction at seeing His beloved, only-begotten Son on that cross, with the sin of the world upon Him, is the most heartbreaking. God is holy and cannot look on sin, so, He turned His face away. Jesus cried out the words from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (NIV) Then God reacted to Jesus death: He tore the veil in the temple from top to bottom, He made the earth quake opening tombs and “the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” ((vs 52 NIV)
One of the elite soldiers, a centurion, guarding the crosses witnessed all of this and made an astute observation, “Surely, He was the Son of God.” (vs 54 NIV)
Jesus died on that cross, bearing my sin and yours. So, whose example will you follow: the crowd’s crying “Crucify!”, the fear of Pilate’s wife, Pilate washing his hands of the whole affair, the mocking of the crowd, or the soldier who recognized Jesus for who He truly was? The choice is up to you.