“Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.” (Luke 23:20-24)
In the end, it was prevailing public opinion that sealed our Savior’s fate. The darkest deed ever perpetrated was committed in perfect accordance with the will of the people. Far from being virtuous, the people proved themselves to be downright villainous.
Nothing is harder for the human race than to face the facts about itself. We desperately want to believe the words of President Ronald Reagan, words inscribed on his graveside monument, “I know in my heart that man is good.” We cling to the contention of Father Flanagan—“There are no bad boys”—despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary.
Try as we may to convince ourselves of our own innate goodness, the dark shadows of clear biblical doctrines, such as the doctrines of original sin and man’s total depravity, hang continually over us. When it comes to original sin, it has been astutely observed to be the only philosophy in the world empirically validated by thirty-five centuries of recorded human history.
There’s simply no denying it, no matter how much we try, there’s something horribly wrong with us; and that something is sin. It is not so much our sins (what we do), but our sin (what we are) that plagues us. We’re not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we’re sinners. Therefore, it is more than a mere salvation from our sins that we need; we need salvation from ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15).
The doctrine of man’s innate goodness is drowned out in this world by the clamoring crowd’s continuous demand to crucify Christ!