The condemning crowd 9 April 2017

A reflection/meditation for Passion Sunday

What a week it’s been.

I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like it.

The sights, the smells, the food.

It’s been intoxicating.

We’re getting closer and closer to passover, when as families, we will recall the story of our ancestors’ slavery in Egypt and we will eat the food which reminds us of that.

Salted water for the tears we cried.

Bitter herbs for the bitterness of enslavement

Haroset, a sort of chutney thing, a mixture of apple, nuts and wine, for the mortar and bricks we used as slaves

an egg, a symbol of rebirth

and a lamb shank to remind us of the blood which was put around our doors, so the passover angel would quite literally pass over our ancestors’ houses.

During the week, I’d made sure we had all the things we’d need for the passover meal. The final bit we needed was the lamb. It would be part of one of the lambs sacrificed in the temple.

All those lambs being sacrificed meant there was the constant sound of bleating.

And the smell of death in the air, as we remembered what our ancestors had been through.

As we remembered God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

But though I was enjoying the whole wonder of this week, I could never be alone.

The crowd was everywhere, wherever we went, there was throngs of people.

Arguing, sometimes fighting, jostling for position.

Now, I was in a crowd which wanted something. Something from the Roman Governor, Pilate.

For at this time of year he would appease the crowd by release a prisoner.

And there before us were 2 men.

Jesus of Nazareth, who was the man who had ridden into the city on a donkey

The one we had welcomed with Hosannas into the city only a few days ago.

The other, Barabbas, was a murderer, a rebel

Which one did we want released, Pilate asked.

Which one?

Jesus, of course

but there began a murmur through the crowd.

Was I hearing right?

Surely not

They seemed to be whispering Barabbas

It grew, louder and louder

Then all at once it turned into a shout




release Barabbas

I was confused.

I couldn’t understand

We’d shouted Jesus’ praises only a few days ago, and now we are condemning him to die.


As I thought about it, I found myself joining in with the crowd.

No longer was it a few people in the crowd shouting Barabbas, wanting Barabbas to be released.

We all were.




We kept shouting




Yes, that was the right man to set free.




What shall I do with Jesus? Pilate asked

Crucify him

Crucify him

Crucify him