Hailed Him, Nailed Him
Counsellor & Trainer
Focus On The Family India
Sailed with Him
The disciples were with Jesus the past three and a half years. They gave up their sailing for fishing and followed Him. They gave up a life of routine and security they knew, for one of uncertainty and challenges. While followed Jesus in the hope of finding the truth and probably redemption, they were provided for – physical needs, spiritual needs, and emotional needs.
There were crowds that followed Jesus too. They undertook journeys and outings that did make them uncomfortable and probably threw life out of gear for periods of time during which they were away from home. They did get spiritual nourishment out of it.
They sailed with Him. It was all smooth sailing till now, and the boat was about to pick up a little speed only to be rocked pretty soon.
Until now, Jesus had kept a low profile as far as possible. He told the public (Matt 12:16), His disciples (Matt 16:20, Mark 9;9), Jairus’ household (Mark 5:43),
But now we see Him, after instructing the disciples for the arrangements, making a public entry into Jerusalem, and in acceptance of the crowd’s proclamations (Matt 21:1-11). In fact, He even defended the crowd’s shouting much to the indignation of the chief priests and teachers of law (Matt21:16).
Bailed on Him
The boat is truly rocked now. Judas planted a kiss – the first of many devious actions that Jesus’ detractors would indulge in during the rest of the week.
Self-preservation is a strong, innate force in all living things. It is not being selfish, but an attempt to make sure that one survives. Individuals, families, groups, communities, and nations – they all strive for self-preservation.
But at the moment, when Jesus was arrested, after a short show of bravado, the disciples could only think of individual self-preservation. (Mark 14:50 – Then everyone deserted him and fled.) Even Peter, who claimed he was ready to go to prison and to death with Jesus, denied any association with his master thrice to save himself. They bailed on Him as soon as the sailing got rough.
Railed against Him
Now that they managed to get Him arrested, the religious leaders wanted to make sure they did put Jesus away for good.
Brigette Gabriel, the Lebanese-American author and activist, speaks of how countries and religious groups consist of a vast majority that is largely peaceful. She goes on to argue, with great detail given to numbers and percentages, that it’s the extremist minority in each group that drives the action, relegating the peaceful majority to idle bystanders.
Here it is even worse, the minority religious leaders recruit and egg the majority crowd on to ask for Jesus’ crucifixion. They brought religious accusations against Him (Mark14:58), and projected Him as a threat to the reigning political regime (Luke 23:1).
We do not know if the entire crowd shouted and asked for it, but the representation, volume, and the emotion with which they railed against Him were enough to have an impact on Pilate’s decision.
Finally, they nailed Him.
1. Figuratively – They made it seem like they nailed Him in the act of blasphemy, in the act of heresy, in the act of rebellion, when they knew it was all an act they put up in their attempt at self-preservation.
2. Physically – They made sure he was given the worst possible punishment that was in vogue – physically punishment to the point of death while adding insult to injury. To be punished publicly and left to hang on a cross for all to see.
Those nails driven into His limbs represent every single sin that was ever committed by you and me. Nails that tore into His flesh, spilled His blood, held Him up like a sinner and hung Him like a criminal.
Today, we hail Him in the Church with peals of praise, hymns of hallelujah, and meaningful memes. But, with every lie, every wrong, every grudge, every word of anger, every act of wrath, every word of denial and every denial of service to others, we fail Him. We ought to be mindful, wary, troubled and indignant at ourselves every time we fail Him. Because each time we fail Him, we nail Him.