Home > Bible Study, C. H. Spurgeon, John, S. Lewis Johnson > Was It Really The Same Group? The Triumphal Entry and the Crucifixion

Was It Really The Same Group? The Triumphal Entry and the Crucifixion


It’s a popular saying and idea, that it was the same crowd that cheered Christ at His triumphal entry, that later called for His crucifixion.  I think of the line in a Christian song (Star of the Morning, Leon Patillo), “the same ones who cheered, yelled ‘Crucify!’”  I recently read a Spurgeon sermon that echoed this thought:

You must not imagine that all those who strewed the branches in the way and cried “Hosanna,” cared about Christ as a spiritual prince! No, they thought that He was to be a temporal deliverer, and when they found out afterwards that they were mistaken, they hated Him just as much as they had loved Him and, “Crucify Him, crucify Him,” was as loud and vehement a cry as, “Hosanna, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.”

But was it really the same people? The gospel accounts indicate very large numbers of people in total (as do other historical records describing the yearly Passovers in Roman times).  Luke 23:27 mentions “a great multitude” of the people who followed Him, mourning and lamenting – the people Jesus told to “weep for yourselves” as He prophesied of the coming judgment upon Jerusalem.

S. Lewis Johnson (gospel of John series) goes into more careful analysis of what was really going on:

First of all, emotional enthusiasm for Jesus Christ is far different from earnest faith in Him.  Now the people who cried out, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord,” were likely to be people who had some attachment to the Lord Jesus.  It is not they who later on say, “Crucify Him, crucify Him,” as some Bible teachers have suggested.  As you look at these accounts carefully it’s evident that those who were shouting this were those who were familiar with His ministry from the Northern part of the land.

Continuing, Dr. Johnson points out the shortcoming of emotional enthusiasm, which is different from “earnest faith”:

 As I said earlier, the provincial recognition, however, did not carry national assent.  So they were shouting out of a failed and incomplete understanding of the Lord Jesus.  Later on, those in the city who were antagonistic to Him would be crying out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.”  But one thing you can say is this, that emotional enthusiasm is far different from earnest faith.  And while it’s not they who say later, ‘Not this man should be delivered, but Barabbas.’  It is, however, one of those very men who stood around the coals of fire and when asked by a little girl, ‘You’re one of them, are you not?’  He said, ‘I am not.’

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