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Crowds are pivotal in the last week of Jesus’ life Crowds welcome him into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and later call for his death. Might we consider: When does a crowd build up the Kingdom of God? Where is Jesus in the crowd? Where are we?

Mark 15:1-21

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do[a] with the man you call[b] the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted more, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters[c]); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18 And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt in homage to him. 20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam

 I once watched a program about a man who lived in the Alaskan wilderness. It consisted of films this man made as he built a cabin totally alone save for wildlife and the infrequent arrival of food and supplies delivered by a bush pilot. There were no other people. And there certainly were no crowds. This man was passionate about solitude and it worked out fine until he grew too old to sustain the harsh wilderness life on his own. Eventually, he went home to be with family.

When we are passionate about things, much is possible. The word passion is derived from the Latin root “passio” that means “suffering.” During this Lenten Season, in a metaphorical wilderness, we’ve considered the passion of Jesus Christ and how he suffered and died on the cross at the hands of those who were passionate about other things.

Passionate crowds are pivotal in the last week of Jesus’ life. There was the crowd that joyfully welcomed him into Jerusalem. There was the angry one that called for his death. Jesus loved people in both. He was passionate for them all. Now, as we remember his suffering, death and resurrection, he invites us to also be passionate followers. Let us welcome him lovingly with palms and passionate grace-filled lives knowing in Him we are never alone. In Him, we are home.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Pam