A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. (Luke 23:22-23 ESV)
Aspects of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ are worth pondering on.
What struck me in this reading was the power of prevailing voices. It’s amazing the power of prevailing voices whether through an individual or a crowd. Here is Pilate considering the case before him on different occasions from different perspectives. As far as he could see there was nothing Jesus could be found guilty of worthy of the death penalty. Sure he was a minor irritant and a good flogging would suffice, but nothing to merit crucifixion. As the authority of the day his word should have been sufficient and should have been final. It would have been too were it not for prevailing voices.
The fervour, the intensity, the impassioned pleas for this man who had done no wrong to be crucified whilst a murderer was set free proved to be overwhelming. You could view it as Pilate caving into public demand. You could view it as Pilate taking the ferocity of the appeal in hand and thus for the sake of some peace in his area appeasing those with the clamour. View it as you will, the voices prevailed.
From then on in this episode it appears that these voices would continue to prevail up to the point of Jesus being nailed to the cross and hung up between two criminals. Even in this sombre scene, however, there is something powerful about the final voice we hear at the scene. The voice of the centurion who witnesses the gracious acts of the crucified Jesus – how he takes the verbal abuse as well as the physical agony yet still asks for forgiveness for them before breathing his last. The final voice acknowledges the innocence of this man.
It’s in this witness account that we see there being hope for all. Despite the voices that appeared to prevail, even as they buried him, there was a voice yet to prevail in the matter …
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden