The Man who only hours earlier was teaching at the temple (Lk. 21:37-38), who was anointed by close friends at Bethany (Mk. 14:3), was now among the two robbers hanging on a cross. At the foot of the cross, the soldiers cast lots for His clothing (Mk. 15:24). Meanwhile, everyone seemed to be piling on:
- “Those who passed by hurled insults at Him.” (Mk. 15:29-30)
- “The Chief Priests and teachers of the law mocked Him.” (Mk. 15:31)
- “Those crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.” (Mk. 15:32)
Even the sign placed over His head was intended as an insult: “The King of the Jews.” (Mk. 15.26)
No one wanted to be associated with Jesus. I wonder where His supporters were? Those He discipled for three years, those He healed, and those who believed His teaching.
Among the Disciples:
- Ten were in hiding (Jn. 20:19)
- Judas had killed himself (Mt. 27:3-5)
- Only John remained with Jesus at the foot of the cross (Jn. 19:26)
Among His friends:
- Only Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James & Joses, and Salome (Mk. 15:40)
- Joseph of Arimathea, who followed Jesus “secretly” (Jn. 19:38)
Among His family:
- Only His mother (Jn. 19:26)
None of those He healed are recorded as having defended or stood up to Jesus’ accusers.
It’s relatively easy to stand by Jesus today – we know the outcome: Jesus rose to conquer sin and save us. Likewise, it was easy to pile on when Jesus was put to death by the government – a government which could have ordered the same punishment for His followers.
But what good does it do to pile on – to join in with popular opinion against someone who has been unjustly condemned? Even your scared silence is better than seeking the approval of the wicked. Those ten disciples who went into hiding were restored by Jesus later. And Joseph of Arimathea stepped up boldly after Jesus’ death to honor His body (Mk. 15:43).