2. A second group at the cross was made up of the Jewish rulers and their attitude toward Jesus was one of bitter hatred. These rulers included the chief priests and scribes, and members of the Sanhedrin. Their hatred of Jesus grew out of the fact that he did not abide by the letter of the law they taught and because He called God His Father making Himself equal with God. But most of all they hated Jesus because He exposed them for what they really were – pious frauds, religious hypocrites. They knew that if Jesus had His way they would soon be out of a job so they took the lead in the plot to put Him to death. Their theme song was “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” and they continued to shout it until Pilate acting against his own sense of justice had signed His death warrant. Then they followed Him to Golgotha and mocked Him until his dying breath.
We look back upon these Jewish rulers with contempt but sad to say there are those in the world today who manifest this same attitude toward Jesus. They might not say it in so many words but by their actions they show their hatred of Christ. They reject His offer of love and forgiveness. They are critical of the church. They ridicule those who follow Him. And they hate him for the same reasons the Jewish rulers did – because He did not conform to their way of thinking and because He exposes them for what they are, what we all are, sinners who need forgiveness of God.