Whose Side Are You On? – Those Who Witnessed the Passion
– by Carlos Mantica
VII. The Carry-on Mob
Let’s now try to see how the portable carry-on mob is moved from place to place and operates as a means to shape “public opinion”, the voice of the people.
Behind it are those who throw the stone but hide their hand, those who slander without showing their faces. We find these by the cross in Matthew 27:41-42: “So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him [grumbling among themselves and passing on the slogan], saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.'”
The soldiers are the first to repeat the slogan. This is recorded in Luke 23:36: “The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!'”
That looks like a mere coincidence. But the carry-on mob goes on repeating the slogan, until finally, as is recorded by Matthew 27:39-41, “those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the son of God, come down from the cross.” (Where did I hear that before?).
You can see that Matthew notes that it was “those who passed by”, because Christ was crucified by the road, close to the gates of Jerusalem, on a holiday when the city was packed with people because of the Passover. It is the ones who passed by, and yet they already know something that is supposed to be known only by those who had been present at the house of Caiaphas and at the Sanhedrin: that he had been falsely accused of having said that he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. And they repeat the slogan that the organizers of the rally were saying just among themselves, “Save yourself and come down from the cross.”
What a sad role the mob plays! What a sad role partisan mobs play urged by need and servility! And what a sad role we play when we repeat so readily what others want us to say, without first pondering it in our hearts! Many more people have been crucified and continue to be crucified by our tongues, by “public opinion”.
Carlos Mantica is a founder of The City of God community (La Cuidad de Dios) in Managua, Nicaragua, and a founding leader of the Sword of the Spirit. He served as president of the Sword of the Spirit between 1991 and 1995. Adapted from the book, From Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a Christian), © copyright 2001 Carlos Mantica.