And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
How could all this have happened so fast? All the circumstances that occurred to bring Jesus and all these people to this place, this moment were carefully orchestrated by God Himself. The people stood beholding, and there were many kinds of people in the crowd that day to witness the crucifixion of our Lord.
Some who were there were hostile. Perhaps they had been part of the crowd who had shouted to crucify Jesus and release Barabbas. The priests and the Pharisees were there, watching their cruel plot play out. Maybe they even felt like they had accomplished some great victory over this man Jesus who had been a thorn in their side. Maybe they watched with delight as He suffered and died on that cross.
Maybe some came out of curiosity, not taking sides, but just watching the events unfold to see what would happen. Some were soldiers, doing their job, obeying orders, going through the routine of another execution. Others who came were followers of Jesus, those who believed on Him, those who served and loved Him. All these different groups witnessed the same event, but their perspective on it was different. Some were glad to see Jesus die, while others wept for Him. Maybe some were indifferent or confused about what was happening.
Everyone today also stands beholding. Many look on with hatred and malice, scorning and scoffing at Christ still today. Many would mock and deny Him to His face. Some are still indifferent. Even if they would acknowledge Jesus’ existence, they don’t want anything to do with Him, don’t want to fit Him into their lives. They give nothing more than a passing glance at our Savior crucified. And then there are those who behold Jesus and, like one of the thieves crucified with Him, see Him for who He is. They behold a man dying on a cross and realize He is the Son of man, realizing He did nothing wrong, realizing He is dying for their sins and not His own.
What part of the crowd do we identify with? Are we hostile toward Jesus, or have we accepted Him? Do we go about our lives indifferent to the fact that a Savior died for us? Are we at the foot of the cross out of a sense of soldierly duty and not a burning desire to serve our Lord with all that is in us? Are we just going along with the crowd? Are we asking Him to prove Himself to us, or can we simply accept His love by faith? Jesus died for everyone there that day, though not all would accept Him. And He died for each of us who live today. He is our hope if we would only trust in Him.