15.04.09 Mt. 27:22-23; Lk. 23:20-23 (See also Mk. 15:12-14)
JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION DEMANDED
Mt. 22 Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?”
They all answered, “Crucify Him!”
23 Then he said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”
But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” all the more.
Lk. 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify! Crucify Him!”
22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What has this man done wrong? I have found in Him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore, I will have Him whipped and then release Him.”
23 But they kept up the pressure, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And their voices won out. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand 25 and released the one they were asking for, who had been thrown into prison for rebellion and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.
“What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?” Pilate specifically referred to Jesus who is called the Messiah. Some translations read, “Jesus, who is called the Christ” Why? It might be because two of the oldest versions of the New Testament – the ancient Syriac and Armenian versions – present the name of Barabbas as Jesus bas. This is supported by two early church fathers, Jerome and Origen, who agreed with the translation.  If true, this is probably the reason why Pilate referred to Jesus, who is called Messiah or the Christ in Matthew 27:17 and again in 27:22. It should be noted that Jesus was a common name, as were the names Matthew and Simon.
“They all answered.” Due to the significance of understanding the term all, please see comments in 15.04.08.Q1 above – “Does the word “all” mean the entire Jewish community; every Jew in the land?”
“Crucify! Crucify Him,” Literally, “crucify him, crucify him.” The Jewish leadership not only wanted Jesus dead, they wanted Him cursed because the Mosaic Law stated that anyone who was “hung from a tree” was cursed (Deut. 21:22-23). This method of execution was reserved for the worst of criminals, including Zealots, who frequently rebelled against Roman authority. While the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and the Persians all practiced a form of crucifixion in the first millennium B.C., the Romans popularized it.
15.04.09.Q1 Would God punish all people because of the decision of their leaders?
The leader of a nation directs its prosperity, peace, and even its cultural changes. The position of a king or national leadership is extremely important in the eyes of God. When the Sadducees had Jesus crucified, they cast the direction the Jewish people would take for centuries to come. Their own Hebrew Bible is full of historical accounts that preserved the results of poor leadership decisions. Note these examples:
- When the Pharaoh of Egypt took Sarah into his court, his household got sick (Gen. 12:17).
- When Abimelech planned to take Sarah, all the women in his household became infertile (Gen. 20:18).
- Centuries later the Pharaoh’s sinful decision not to permit the Israelites to leave Egypt resulted in numerous plagues upon his people, the deaths of all “first borns,” his own death, and the loss of thousands of Egyptian soldiers (Ex. 9 – 12).
- When Moses sent out spies into Canaan only two returned with a favorable report, yet everyone had to endure forty years of wandering aimlessly through the desert. Why? It was because they had made a decision against the desires of the Lord.
- When the Philistine soldiers took the Ark of the Covenant, their families and neighbors developed cancer tumors (I Sam. 5:6; 6:1-12).
- When King David disobeyed the Lord and took a census, he had the unusual choice of three punishments: famine, conquest, or a plague. He chose a plague and seventy thousand of his citizens died (2 Sam. 24:10-15; 1 Ch. 21:7-14).
- When Joshua and the Israelites captured the city of Ai, a certain man by the name of Achan stole silver and other valuables in disobedience to the Lord’s command. As a result, he and 36 other individuals of his family perished (Jos. 6:16-26).
The consequences of the decisions of a king upon his people are proverbial. The writer of Proverbs 29:4 said, “By justice a king gives a country stability.” The Sanhedrin, which served as Israel’s legislative body as well as its supreme court, failed to mete out godly decisions and justice which eventually led to increased instability that resulted in destruction.
It should be stated that the converse is also true. When the careless Jews failed to examine and purify themselves prior to Passover (2 Ch. 30:18-19), the righteous king Hezekiah prayed that God would pardon those who failed to purify themselves. The result of one godly king was that, “and God heard Hezekiah and healed the people” (2 Ch. 30:20). Passover, like communion, is a highly important soul-searching event. The Apostle Paul said death would come upon some who took communion lightly (1 Cor. 11:27-30). The decisions of a national leader can be either a blessing or a curse upon the people. It is a principle of life.
. The terms Messiah and Christ both mean Anointed One.
. Barclay, “Matthew.” 2:361.