Roman crucifixion sites were set up on prominent locations along the main roads and entrances to the cities. Crucifixion was a form of propaganda, to show people how powerful Rome was and what would happen to those who did not submit.
As horrific as it may seem to us, as they travelled here and there and went about their daily business, the people of that time would have been very used to walking beside dying men hanging on crosses.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” – Mark 15:29-30
It’s amazing how fickle the crowd is! A few days before they had acclaimed Jesus as their king, but now they are happy to viciously hurl insults at him as he dies. It is important to see what Mark and all the gospels report was the core of their accusations and therefore mocking, against him.
Christ had claimed in the first public pronouncement of his ministry that he would rebuild the temple. In doing that, he was claiming to be the Messiah. The crowd was mocking Jesus because he had disappointed them. The crowd never forgave him for this.
After all, if he had been the Messiah as he had claimed to be, he wouldn’t have ended up on the cross. And if he was going to save others, the first thing he had to do was obviously save himself. Yes, he was the Saviour of the world, precisely because he didn’t save himself.
Why did the crowd turn against Jesus? Fundamentally, the people turned against him because they followed their religious leaders more than Jesus. We run the same risk. The world has many leaders, in the political, cultural, entertainment, and religious spheres. Is your loyalty to Jesus above them all?
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