Summary: We know the story of the crucifixion very well. Different look at the story from the faces of people from Jesus’ perspective.
Faces In The Crowd
We are at an important juncture today. We are starting into the NEW TESTAMENT as we continue our survey of the Bible. I want us to look at a very familiar story found in all four of the gospels, the death of Jesus. However, I want to look at it from an unfamiliar angle. I want us to look at Jesus from the faces that were in the crowd the day he was crucified. Maybe, you will recognize your face in their faces.
I. Angry Faces
A. Jewish leaders
1. The first faces Jesus saw were faces filled with rage.
2. When they saw Jesus, they didn’t see the Messiah, they didn’t even see a human.
3. They saw a piece of trash, a dangerous threat.
4. With his death would be their victory.
5. So he had die.
B. Jewish crowd
1. A week ago, the crowds were shouting his glory
2. Now a crowd was shouting for his death. Why the change?
3. I think this was a much different group of people.
4. Over 1 million people were believed to be in Jerusalem for the Passover.
5. The court where Jesus stood before Pilate probably held a couple of hundred at most.
6. Here was a select group of people, either duped by the religious leaders, or part of their cause calling for his death.
7. As Jesus looked into this crowd again he saw only hatred,
8. And still he loved them.
C. The faces are different today, but the feelings are the same.
1. There are people today who wouldn’t hesitate to spit on him, ridicule him and kill him all over again given the chance.
2. We see it how people respond to Christianity.
a) It’s not enough to reject Christianity; they want to eradicate it from any public mention.
b) When they talk about Christians, you can hear the scorn in their voices.
c) We are pretty lucky to live where we do because most people around us either believe in Christ, or are at least not hostile to Christianity.
d) But all you have to do is turn on a TV to see the angry faces that Jesus saw.
II. Cold indifferent faces
1. Here was the one man who really held Jesus’ life in his hands.
2. He could simply have set Jesus free, but gave in to the cries of the crowd.
3. I was reading a book about the people in Jesus life and found some very intriguing background about Pilate.
a) This book proposed that Pilate was not near as hapless as he is pictured in the Biblical story of Christ’s death.
b) He was a very ruthless governor; a military man; a very political man.
c) Whatever he had to do to get advanced and recognized, no matter how sleazy, he did it.
d) The author feels that the trial before Pilate could very well have been manipulated by him to make him seem innocent, yet giving the Jews what they wanted.
e) A short time later he lost his governorship because of several massacres at his orders.
f) His seemingly weak nature at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, just doesn’t fit with how he was at any other time of his career.
4. Whatever the case, when he had the power and opportunity to release Jesus, he didn’t.
5. Scripture seems to indicate he saw Jesus as an innocent pawn and still ordered his death.
6. If that isn’t cold indifference, I don’t know what is.
7. I wonder what Jesus saw when he looked into Pilate’s eyes?
B. Roman Soldiers
1. The soldiers who were given the orders to crucify him were no better.
2. They had to follow orders, but it seems they were very glad to follow the orders of condemning Jesus.
3. They gave him a formal flogging of all condemned people.
a) This flogging was known as the intermediate death.
b) It was a whip with pieces of bone at the end of the lash so it would shred the back into hamburger.
4. After that they mocked him and gambled in front of him as to who would get the man’s clothing.
5. He was simply another non-Roman criminal who didn’t matter.
C. Again the faces are different, but not the emotions
1. How many people look at Christianity as a crutch for losers?
2. How many people mock Christians for their beliefs?
3. They may not harm them, but they sure don’t care.
III. The Many faces of Believers
A. The Centurion
1. In Luke 23: we read about a centurion who was present at his death.
2. He was probably in charge of the guards responsible to dealing with the crucifixions that happened that day.