Author Topic: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?  (Read 1393 times)

Steven W Bohler

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Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« on: March 20, 2017, 10:44:42 AM »
Yesterday, at the adult Bible class, apparently the question came up of whether or not the crowds of Palm Sunday and Good Friday were entirely the same/mostly the same/somewhat the same/mostly different/entirely different.  I say "apparently" because I am not there for Bible class, as I am at the country church during that time.  According to my wife, the general consensus there seemed to be that they were almost entirely different groups.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.  Thanks.

Michael Slusser

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 11:03:45 AM »
Yesterday, at the adult Bible class, apparently the question came up of whether or not the crowds of Palm Sunday and Good Friday were entirely the same/mostly the same/somewhat the same/mostly different/entirely different.  I say "apparently" because I am not there for Bible class, as I am at the country church during that time.  According to my wife, the general consensus there seemed to be that they were almost entirely different groups.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.  Thanks.
I would agree with your adult Bible class. What is a crowd? How many came to Jerusalem because of Passover? It seems impossible to get the same crowd together for these two biblical events six days apart. If some were there on both occasions, how would we know?

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ptom

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 11:07:01 AM »
Probably mostly different crowds.  The one on sunday was people who were coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.  The good friday crowd(s) were probably made up mostly of those who wanted to see what was happening to this person who had been arrested  or had a morbid interest about the people getting crucified.  There were only a few who were there on friday to support Jesus.

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 11:20:59 AM »

The Rev. Dr. Paul L. Maier in his video Bible Study, "The Week that Changed the World" suggests that they were two different crowds.  He points out, among other things, that in Luke 23:27 we are told: "And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him."  Jesus had not lost His popularity between Palm Sunday and the Good Friday trial only to suddenly regain it on the way to the Cross with a multitude weeping and mourning after Him.  So who was the crowd at His trial?  The Sadducees had a large following, not to mention employees, who could be rounded up and turned out to pack the courtyard.



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Dave Likeness

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 12:09:12 PM »
The Biblical evidence provided by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in their Gospels
points to two different crowds  on Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

On Palm Sunday, a large crowd came to honor Jesus and welcome him into the city.
They spread cloaks and palm branches on the road and shouted "Hosanna" in the air.
These were the pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover and heard the
teaching of Jesus and seen his miracles in Galilee. There were also citizens of metro-
Jerusalem (including Bethany) who had been there when Jesus raised Lazarus from the
dead or had heard about it.

On Good Friday, a small "crowd" came to mock Jesus and gloat over his crucifixion.
The chief priests, with the scribes and elders mocked Jesus.  Those who passed by
the execution of Jesus taunted and jeered him. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 12:21:56 PM by Dave Likeness »

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 12:29:58 PM »
I think it's nice and comfortable to think that they were two different crowds. But human nature being what it is, I can see the voices that shouted "Hosanna" screaming "Crucify him!" rather easily.
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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 12:38:24 PM »
Discussion 1: The synoptics use different language in reference to the people on Palm Sunday.


Mark 11:8 defines them as "many" (πολλοί)
Matthew 21:8 defines them as "the large crowd" (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος)


Mark 11:9 defines them as "the ones going before and following" (οἱ προάγοντες καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες)
Matthew 21:9 expands it: "the crowds going before him and following" (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προόγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες)


Luke 19:37 defines them quite differently: "all the multitude of disciples" (ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῶν μαθητῶν, see also 19:39).


Generally, "crowd" indicates a group of people who are potential disciples. Both Matthew and Mark have different references of crowds following Jesus, but they don't have quite the same commitment as the disciples who have left everything to follow him.


Mark and Luke do not use ὄχλος in the Palm Sunday text, Matthew does and so does John 12:12, 17, but John does not use the word in his Passion narrative. The synoptics do in reference to the crowd who comes with Judas into the garden (Matthew 26:47, 55; Luke 22:47); and the crowd before Pilate (Matthew 27:15, 20, 24; Mark 15:8, 11, 15; Luke 23:4, 48).


However, all three synoptics have the disciples with Jesus in the garden and they fall asleep while Jesus is praying. They are there when he is arrested and Matthew and Mark tell us that they run away.


If we consider "the crowds" to be a character in the narratives, it seems clear that Mark and Luke do not have that "character" present on Palm Sunday, but they are present during the Passion. (Conversely, John has them present at the entrance but not during the passion.) Matthew has them present at both events.


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Steven W Bohler

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 12:45:57 PM »

The Rev. Dr. Paul L. Maier in his video Bible Study, "The Week that Changed the World" suggests that they were two different crowds.  He points out, among other things, that in Luke 23:27 we are told: "And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him."  Jesus had not lost His popularity between Palm Sunday and the Good Friday trial only to suddenly regain it on the way to the Cross with a multitude weeping and mourning after Him.  So who was the crowd at His trial?  The Sadducees had a large following, not to mention employees, who could be rounded up and turned out to pack the courtyard.

I think this (Paul Maier and his videos) is the prime reason that our Bible study group came to this conclusion -- they have watched these videos in the past.  My understanding, though, was that traditionally there had been an identification (to some degree) between these two crowds.  Does anyone know if I am correct or incorrect on that?  How did the early Church see it?  Luther?  In any case, it is an interesting thing to debate and consider, either way.

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 02:18:22 PM »
I think it's nice and comfortable to think that they were two different crowds. But human nature being what it is, I can see the voices that shouted "Hosanna" screaming "Crucify him!" rather easily.

I like this answer.  It's politically possible to see the bad guy religious leaders packing the courtyard with their minions; and yet it's not possible to take them out of the courtyard and find it empty.

Dave Benke

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 02:55:54 PM »
I think it's nice and comfortable to think that they were two different crowds. But human nature being what it is, I can see the voices that shouted "Hosanna" screaming "Crucify him!" rather easily.

I like this answer.  It's politically possible to see the bad guy religious leaders packing the courtyard with their minions; and yet it's not possible to take them out of the courtyard and find it empty.

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Tom Eckstein

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 04:53:18 PM »

The Rev. Dr. Paul L. Maier in his video Bible Study, "The Week that Changed the World" suggests that they were two different crowds.  He points out, among other things, that in Luke 23:27 we are told: "And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him."  Jesus had not lost His popularity between Palm Sunday and the Good Friday trial only to suddenly regain it on the way to the Cross with a multitude weeping and mourning after Him.  So who was the crowd at His trial?  The Sadducees had a large following, not to mention employees, who could be rounded up and turned out to pack the courtyard.

I think this (Paul Maier and his videos) is the prime reason that our Bible study group came to this conclusion -- they have watched these videos in the past.  My understanding, though, was that traditionally there had been an identification (to some degree) between these two crowds.  Does anyone know if I am correct or incorrect on that?  How did the early Church see it?  Luther?  In any case, it is an interesting thing to debate and consider, either way.

I remember speaking with Paul Maier about this several years ago, and I do not completely agree with his conclusion.  Even though Jesus obviously had followers from Palm Sunday that never completely rejected Him and mourned His death, there is evidence in Scripture itself that some from the Palm Sunday crowd ended up shouting "crucify!"

For example, in Luke 19:41-42 Jesus points out that the people of Jerusalem do not understand the kind of "peace" that Jesus is going to bring.  Those who were shouting "Hosanna!"  (Save us!) were likely thinking of Jesus saving them from the Romans and not from their sins via His death on the cross.  We can imagine some of them changing their opinion of Jesus when after Palm Sunday He does NOT do anything about the Romans but actually ends up being handed over to the Romans and does nothing to retaliate.

It's not unlike many still today who think of God as a "genie in a lamp" who exists to grant us our earthly wishes.  When such a "god" doesn't produce, people end up rejecting such a "god" altogether.

In any case, Paul Maier agreed that it is possible that some in the Palm Sunday crowd could have turned on Jesus by Good Friday.  Of course, there's no way to know for sure.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 04:55:03 PM by Tom Eckstein »
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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 07:08:21 PM »
My experience is that those who attended church on Palm Sunday were a rather different crowd than those who attended on Good Friday. That's actually what I thought your title meant!
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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 08:48:27 PM »
Pr. B.,

I am both intrigued and not yet entirely persuaded by Dr. M's reading of Luke. It is possible; but it is far from certain; same with the assertion that it is the same crowd. My guess is that it is mixed; some were at both, some not. But that's just a guess.

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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2017, 09:47:15 PM »
Moderator Richard writes:
My experience is that those who attended church on Palm Sunday were a rather different crowd than those who attended on Good Friday. That's actually what I thought your title meant!

I comment:
Me, too. I was about to post that this is why I always read the whole passion story on Palm Sunday, 'cause some of those folks won't be in church on Good Friday.
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Re: Palm Sunday and Good Friday -- Different Crowds?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2017, 09:56:27 PM »
Good Friday the Passion from John is read (interspersed with hymns).
Sunday of the Passion, the passion from the assigned synoptic is read as a reader's theater with different people playing/reading as the different characters in the story - and the congregation being the "crowd".


When I first started using the entire passion many people commented that they hadn't connected all the details of that last week.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]