Do you think all of those who shouted “crucify him” and mocked and jeered Jesus had any idea what deeds of darkness had been done to get him on that cross? Do you think they knew of the 30 pieces of silver? Or machinations of the religious leaders?
I don’t think they had any idea. In fact, I think they believed he deserved this treatment precisely because they believed they were honoring God in their dismay at the charges against him. They believed what had been told them. They heard what had been said against him and trusted those who had spiritual authority over them because their trust in men was greater than their trust in Jesus, who had walked before them in tenderness and humility, serving rather than being served. Why did they so quickly turn on one who had fed them, loved them, spoken words of peace, hope and forgiveness to them, one who had healed their sickness, walked with them in their brokenness, restored their sight, taught them from the scriptures, washed their feet? On Palm Sunday they praised him in the streets, blessing his name. On Good Friday they demanded his humiliation and death. What could account for such an about face other than the religious tenacity of misplaced faith?
Perhaps this is why Jesus was able from the cross to humbly cry out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”