Summary: This sermon takes a look at why the crowd cried crucify Him, when previously they had shouted Hosanna.
Why the Cry to Crucify?
Text: John 19:5-16
By: Ken McKinley
The title of my sermon this morning is “Why the cry to crucify?” This is one of those questions you get asked in seminary. The professor asks, “Why did this crowd; that had openly welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, now want Him dead?” I mean Pilate himself said, “I find no fault in this man.” But the crowd screamed out all the more loudly, “Crucify Him!” And then you’ll get all sorts of speculation. Was it political fear mongering? Was it that the Jewish leaders were afraid that Jesus would cause a revolt and bring the wrath of the Roman Empire down on their heads? Or was it jealousy that worked them up to such a frenzy? Were they upset that Jesus was drawing such large crowds and on more than one occasion had made them look like chumps? What would cause people to demand the death of a man they had followed, a man that they had seen do miracles, and that was innocent of any and all crimes? Were they motivated by greed, anger, or lust for power?
And a wise and very knowledgeable theology professor will ask you these questions in an attempt to try and get you to think on a deeper level about this event. And we could come up with all kinds of conclusions, and we could debate it but at the end of the day, the answer to that question, “Why the cry to crucify,” is a lot closer to home than we like to admit. Yes there was political unrest, and yes there were religious power struggles, and yes I’m sure there was some jealousy involved, and maybe fear, anger, and greed were motives as well. But if we are going to come to the conclusion about why men can cry “Crucify” we are going to have to look at ourselves.
The crowd that day was not only made up of the scribes and Pharisees. It had the same people in it that had cried out, “Hosanna, Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” They had worshiped Him and shouted and sang songs of praise. In that crowd there were probably young adults, middle aged people, and elderly people. They were ordinary people, just like anyone else. Men and women. Some were probably farmers, some were sheep herders, some were business men, some were religious leaders. And here they were saying, “Crucify Him!” Let me tell you what kind of people do that. Sinners! People just like me… and people like you.
Now that might make you feel a little uncomfortable, and it probably should, but that’s actually part of the good news. Paul wrote in 1st Timothy 1:15, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” 1st John 1:8 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” So it was sinners who said in verse 15, “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” And the thing is, that sometimes, even today, we are still saying the same thing. And people say, “I’d never say that!” But how prominent is Christ in your life throughout the week? “Away with Him; while I’m doing MY thing!” “Away with Him; while I’m watching this movie!” “Away with Him; while I’m thinking those thoughts!” Believe it or not there are some people, who are attending services this morning, all throughout the world, but the minute they leave the church its “Away with Him!”