This passage is about human nature. Within hours of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people did a 180. And one of his best friends, Peter, denied him three times, with cursing and swearing at that. Why did they turn on him?
Peter feared for his life, but the crowd? I’m guessing some voices started infiltrating the ranks, making little disparaging comments here and there, casting doubt, and one by one the people changed their minds about Jesus. A little peer pressure created a raging wildfire.
I see this in our country today. If something’s said loudly and often enough, it can gain momentum and acceptance, even if it’s dead wrong.
For it to be that easy, it must be revealing what’s in the heart of the crowd.
So what did Jesus do while watching this spectacle? He stood his ground. He knew that everything that was happening was for a reason. He endured being beaten and mocked. He kept silent when someone skewed his words. (That’s a particularly tough one.) He did speak up later, which caused his death sentence.
If we were to interview people in the crowd, asking why they were against him, they might scratch their heads, because a few days ago they had loved him.
I ask myself, who would I have been in that crowd? A joiner? A coward? A lone ranger?
This is a reminder to search hard for the truth, even if it doesn’t fit neatly into the crowd’s manifesto. This is HARD because the crowd is LOUD, but Peter went back to Jesus and the crowd called for Jesus’s death.
There’s a difference in healthy “community” and peer pressure. Carl Jung said this. “The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology. If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone.”
To me, the takeaway in this passage is to listen for the voice I want to follow, then to have the courage to actually follow it, regardless of the crowds.