Throughout His three-year earthly ministry, crowds of people often surrounded Jesus. At times, the crowds were so great that Jesus chose to teach from a boat or to escape across the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:18; 13:2; 15:39). Sometimes these crowds stood and listened, while at other times, they sat down and ate food that Jesus miraculously provided (Matthew 13:2; 14:19-20).
Near the end of His ministry, crowds of people praised Him. In Matthew 21, as Jesus triumphantly enters the city of Jerusalem during the last week of His life, “Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road” (Matthew 21:8). They went ahead of Jesus and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). For about three years, the crowds of people loved Jesus; they loved what He did and what He taught.
Eventually, though, the crowds condemned Him. At Jesus’ arrest in the garden, Judas was “accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs” (Matthew 26:27). Just hours before His death on the cross, the Jewish leaders “persuaded the crowds to ask…to put Jesus to death (Matthew 27:20). It was also the crowds before Pilate who said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:24-25). Jesus never changed, but the crowds around Him went from astonishment and amazement to calling for the death of an innocent man.
Crowds of people continually surrounded Jesus because of who He was. The same words and actions that would cause one group to praise and honor Him would also motivate another to put Him to death. The crowds should remind us that no one ever spoke, lived, or died like Jesus, the Son of God.