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"Hosanna" and "Crucify"

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posted on Apr, 9 2020 @ 05:03 PM
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The fickleness of the Jerusalem crowd is one of the great clichés of the Easter narrative.

At the beginning of the week they shouted “Hosanna!”
At the end of the week, they shouted “Crucify him!”
It’s a standard, frequently quoted, illustration of the way that mobs behave.

But this traditional charge needs to be examined closely. Yes, we know from the gospels that these things were shouted by the crowd that was present at the time, but was it the same crowd both times? Is the label “Jerusalem crowd” a misleading way of describing what might be two entirely different sets of people?

Hosanna!

Let’s look at the evidence for this one.

“And those who went before and those who followed cried out; Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark ch11 v9).
Jesus was approaching Jerusalem to take part in the Feast. Evidently “those who went before and followed” were approaching Jerusalem for the same purpose. They were visitors, then, not residents. When Jesus was recognised, the news of his presence among the travellers spread in both directions, which prompted the shouting. Many of the crowd, and possibly most of the shouters, would have been Galileans, knowing him from his work in Galilee.

“The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying; Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (John ch12 vv12-13).
Still the visitors to Jerusalem, but now including those who had arrived on previous days. In many cases, it is because they have heard about the raising of Lazarus The Pharisees complain that they can do nothing.

“As he was drawing near, the whole multitude of disciples began to rejoice… saying; Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke ch19 vv37-38).
Clearly identified as disciples. The Pharisees ask him to rebuke his disciples. Jesus complains that the city of Jerusalem is unwilling to learn from him, which makes it unlikely that the residents of Jerusalem were becoming his disciples.

“And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds said ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Galilee” (Matthew ch21 vv10-11).
Matthew confirms the tendency of the other gospels, by showing a clear distinction between the crowds and the city.
“The crowds” are those who went before him and followed him, as in Mark. In other words, the visitors. It is reasonable to assume that they are Galileans, because they know him, and that they are disciples.
“The city” means, mostly, the permanent residents of the city. Their reaction is not praise but simple curiosity.

So the gospels are giving the overall impression that the visitors from Galilee were shouting “Hosanna!”, and the real Jerusalem people did not know who he was.

”Crucify him!”

All the gospels report that the crowd in front of Pilate was stirred up by the chief priests and the elders. But what people were in the crowd, being influenced?

“Pilate said; You have a custom that I should release one man to you at the Passover… They cried out again; Not this man but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber” (John ch18 vv39-40).
“Barabbas- a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city” (Luke ch23 v19).
Surely this is a clue. There is a general consensus nowadays that Barabbas was not an ordinary thief, but a pollical bandit. As such, he would have had his own followers within the city.

If there was a custom that Pilate released one prisoner at the Passover, then the followers of Barabbas would have wanted to take advantage of it. Of course they would have known, in advance, that he was a condemned prisoner. If they were expecting to appeal for this privilege, they could have arrived in good time, securing places for themselves at the front of the crowd.

This accounts for “Release Barabbas!”, of course. It also accounts for the apparently gratuitous “Crucify him!” For on the premise that one condemned prisoner, and only one, would be released, the cry “Not this man, but Barabbas, to be released!” has the logical and necessary consequence “Not Barabbas, but this man, to be crucified!” Not so much “Crucify him!” as “Crucify him!” There is no need to suppose any personal animosity. If Pilate had suggested releasing Roderick or Brian, logic would have compelled them to give the same response. If you’re going to crucify all the prisoners except one, then crucify all of them except Barabbas.

The neutral citizens of Jerusalem would have been there, because it was one of their big occasions.

As for the followers of Jesus, there are at least two reasons why they might have been absent from the scene.
Firstly, they were not reacting fast enough. Not all of them would have known about the overnight events. If they knew that Jesus had been arrested, they would not necessarily know that he had been condemned so quickly. And they might not even have thought of this opportunity to get a prisoner released, especially if it was usually billed as Pilate’s gift to the people of the city.
Secondly, if they did know about the overnight crisis, then fear would have been enough to keep them away.

All the evidence seems to point to;
The disciples of Jesus crying “Hosanna!”
The non-disciples of Jesus shouting “Crucify him!”
In other words, nobody was being fickle and inconsistent.




posted on Apr, 9 2020 @ 05:04 PM
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A second explanation, “for entertainment only”. This one comes from a science-fiction story I read a few decades back.

Time travelling was invented, and created a new tourist industry. Naturally one of the most popular tourist “locations” was this time in the history of Jerusalem.

The central figure in the story was one such tourist. As he stood amongst the crowd in front of Pilate, and looked around, he started to recognise faces that he knew already. More and more of them, until he realised, to his horror, that EVERYBODY in the crowd was a fellow time-tourist. They were shouting “Crucify him!” because it was in all the books, and they did not want to seem out of place. In fact a brief excursion around the city showed him that all the genuine citizens were huddled in their homes, praying.

(The philosophical issues with this story include the problem of how this “loop” would have got started in the first place.)







edit on 9-4-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 9 2020 @ 05:47 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


If they were expecting to appeal for this privilege, they could have arrived in good time, securing places for themselves at the front of the crowd.

Kinda like crisis actors.

Great observations and explanation. I have never considered the idea of two different crowds.

I’d imagine that many who followed Jesus were not expecting him to be arrested. So there would be lots of confusion and concern. Most of the disciples figured out Jesus’s plan for salvation after he appeared to them after the resurrection. The idea of Jesus Heavenly Kingdom vs a earthly kingdom was expressed clearly by Jesus but based on the disciples actions maybe not understood the full ramifications.



posted on Apr, 9 2020 @ 05:51 PM
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a reply to: Observationalist
Yes, I suspect writers of articles and sermons are sometimes so pleased with the "fickle mob" idea that they don't stop to think. It's part of puttimg all the blame on the Jews.



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