The Door-Step Evangel

The Atmosphere Surrounding The Crucifixion
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

What was the atmosphere of that fateful night, that actual, historical, night? Was it a calm evening with the warm breezes blowing with the light smell of flowers in the air? Or, was it a night filled with smells of crowds and animals, filled with loud sounds of crowds, noisy children in strange beds, devious men on missions of destruction, women of the night plying their trades; a night of evil?

Let's look at the atmosphere of the night of the Crucifixion. It was Passover time in Jerusalem. While it was the Jewish High Worship time, it was also a time when the city population swelled several times its normal size, where crowds thronged everywhere. We are told that Jewish people living in other lands, who spoke other languages were there. In Acts 2:8-11 we read about that,

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? [9] Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, [10] Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, [11] Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

And again in Acts 21:20 at another Passover time, but it does show us the atmosphere surrounding this time.

And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

Still more, we see in Luke 23:27 the crowds at this Passover.

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. Luke 23:27

We can imagine venders in the streets í"hawkingí" all kinds of wares, every available housing full and, at the city's edge all kinds of temporary living quarters for perhaps a mile or so beyond the city's walls. People are arguing, jostling each other, correcting children, etc., in different languages and tones of voice. Some are preparing their food to save money while others are purchasing it from the venders, the smell of various foods is thick in the air.

Howling mobs of people are moving throughout the city who could easily be stirred to blood. And a Satanic/daemonic presence dominated all the city.

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. John 13:2, 27

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. [6] And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. Luke 22:3, 6

Then to add to that there was added military presence during this time. Notice what these following verses show us.

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. Mark 15:16

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. Matt 27:27

Herod, not normally in Jerusalem, was for this occasion, and with his special Men of War.

And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked [him], and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. [7] And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. Luke 23:11, 7

There would also have been an extremely anxious air throughout the city. Behind the scenes a deep diabolical conspiracy was brewing.

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, [15] And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. Matt 26:14-15.

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: Matt 27:1.

And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. Luke 23:5.

The Pharisees and the Devil hated Christ.

Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. [65] And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands. Mark 14:64-65.

And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, [18] And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! [19] And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. [20] And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. Mark 15:17-20.

And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. [64] And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? [65] And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. Luke 22:63-65.

The pressure was put on Pilate to crucify Jesus.

And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. John 19:12.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Matt 27:24.

A tumult was already stirred to blood and was on the verge of becoming much, much worse.

And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. Luke 22:50.

Can we imagine the evil energy in the city of Jerusalem at this time? And how many of us reading this have ever been in such a time or place in which such an environment surrounded us? Can we not understand somewhat with the Apostles when they, ... all forsook him, and fled. Mark 14:50. Only three followed Jesus as far as can be discerned, at least for a while.

And they all forsook him, and fled. [51] And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: [52] And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. Mark 14:50-52.

Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. [55] And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them Luke 22:54-55.

(Can we sympathize with Peter rather than cut him to pieces as we realize that he did go into the High Priest's house with Jesus, even if he did deny Him?)

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest John 18:15.

(If going to their fire was compromise for Peter, then both this disciple and Peter compromised their faith. I rather think they stood with Jesus when ALL the others fled.)

Oh, the spirit of that night! I truly believe that there has been no other night like that night. No other night with such hatred, such conspiracy, such pressure to do cruelty on a person, from both men and demons. Such was the atmosphere surrounding the crucifixion.

The Door-Step Evangel is published in the interests of Evangelism and information as a Church paper, sincerely devoted to the cause of Jesus Christ. We are in favor of everything that is right and opposed to everything that is wrong.

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