Summary: An investigative look at Jesus’ last days before crucifixion All of us are familiar with what is called the "mob mentality." Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers pictures the power of a crowd with these words: "It’s always best on these occasions to do w
Leveraging the Crowd Mentality
An investigative look at Jesus’ last days before crucifixion
Michael Wiley 04/13/03 Matthew 27:20
All of us are familiar with what is called the "mob mentality."
Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers pictures the power of a crowd with these words:
"It’s always best on these occasions to do what the mob [does]." "But suppose there are two mobs?" suggested Mr. Snodgrass. "Shout with the largest, " replied Mr. Pickwick."
Whether it’s a pep rally, a revival or a lynch mob, a crowd can easily dilute the morality of an individual.
Prelim. Jesus’ trial, READ – Mt 27:11-26
Transition: Sometimes our problem is in knowing what to do in a given situation. But more often our struggle is in doing what we know we should do when surrounded by those who might not agree.
It’s not simply a question of knowledge; it’s equally a question of courage and will.
Let’s take a look at the crowd
1. The Power of the Crowd
Sociologist Gustave Le Bon, in his classic work "The Crowd: A Study of Popular Mind, describes how a crowd can manipulate an individual:
"Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian...An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid the other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will. He goes on to say, “Whoever be the individuals that compose it, however like or unlike be their mode of life, their occupations, their character, or their intelligence, the fact that they have been transformed into a crowd puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would feel, think, and act were he in a state of isolation. There are certain ideas and feelings, which do not come into being, or do not transform themselves into acts except in the case of individuals forming a crowd.”
People can drastically change in a crowd, called “Crowd Mentality.” Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian - that is, a creature acting by instinct.
A chain of logical argumentation is totally incomprehensible to crowds, and for this reason it is permissible to say that they do not reason or that they reason falsely and are not to be influenced by reasoning.
Soren Kierkegaard ...a crowd in its very concept is the untruth, by reason of the fact that it renders the individual completely impenitent and irresponsible, or at least weakens his sense of responsibility by reducing it to a fraction.
We have seen such examples: [Remember, November 1984 riots after Indira Gandhi’s assassination? Or the 1992 riots in Bombay? The 1991 Rodney King Riot in Los Angeles, In the Fall of 200 the University of Georgia football fans inflicted over $100,000 on Sanford Stadium after their win over Tennessee.
Fans ripped out most of the once-sacred Sanford hedges that have lined the field since the stadium was built in 1929, knocked down fences, ripped up seats and dismantled fence railings, and tore down the $14,000,00 goal posts.
But even worse than the property damage, was the human cost -- a 19-year-old UGA student sustained a serious head injury in the stampede, apparently trampled as the primarily student horde rushed the field.
2001 the people of Cincinnati rioted after police shot a young black man.
April 0f 2002, 43 people were killed in a European Soccer stampede –people trying to get in.
2. The leaders leveraged the Crowd Mentality
The chief priest and the elders had seen what the crowd could do. They were there and or heard about his march into Jerusalem.
- After healing to Blind men and calling Zacchaeus to himself He stopped at Bethphage.
John tells us Jesus visited Mary, Martha, and Lazarus “six days before Passover.” Probably the next day many Jews came to see Jesus and Lazarus (Jn 12:9)
It was probably Monday that Jesus entered Jerusalem (tradition).
John MacArthur says that the additional support comes from Mosaic requirement that the lamb must be chosen on the tenth of Nissan and Sacrificed on the 14th. In the year Jesus died the 10th was on Monday.
If so Jesus fulfilled even this minute detail. The nation received their ultimate Passover lamb!
On the march they Yelled, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
100 years earlier was yelled to Jonathon Macca beus as he delivered them from Syrian domination.
So, here, knowing the crowd mentality, they incited the crowd. Crucify Him!
3. Overcoming the Crowd Mentality
In an article Charles K. Bellinger Professor at Brite Divinity School wrote, I was re minded of the genocide, which occurred in Rwanda during 1994, was the one of worst outbreaks of violence in the 20th century. Many members of the ethnic group known as the "Hutus," spurred on by the government, massacred approximately 800,000 "Tutsis" in less than a year.