by Stuart Gray
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Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified (Mark 15:15).
Read Mark 15:12–21
Wanting to satisfy the crowd is a very powerful motivator. Many leaders fall into the trap of pleasing the crowd even though it may not be the best line of action or act of leadership.
It is often easier to follow the crowd rather than stick up for what you might believe in or think is right – such is the power of the crowd.
The crowd Pilate wanted to satisfy with their cries of ‘Crucify him’ only a week before was proclaiming Jesus with shouts of ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming of the kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the highest’ (Mark 11:9,10).
In the first section of Mark 15, Jesus is handed over to Pilate, who is confused as to why the crowd wants to crucify Jesus. ‘What crime has he committed?’ Pilate asked (verse 14). But Pilate also recognised the motivation of the chief priests, ‘knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him’ (verse 10).
But even though Pilate was in charge, he did not use his authority and gave in to the crowd. ‘When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility”’ (Matthew 27:24).
In today’s Western world, the crowd has little time for God and religion. The crowd mocks believers; it wants to deny the influence Christianity has had on the lifestyle we now enjoy, and it wants to further tear down the vestiges of Christian observance in our institutions, like starting sittings of Parliament with the Lord’s Prayer.
It takes courage to resist the crowd, as there is a great risk of being isolated, ridiculed and ‘cancelled’. Through God’s love, we have the power to be in the world but not of the world.
Heavenly Father, help us to resist the crowd that wants to eliminate you from our lives. Through your Holy Spirit, give us the courage and wisdom to stand apart from the crowd and be a true witness to you in the world. Amen.
Stuart, with his wife Pamela Dalgliesh, lives in Mansfield, Victoria. Stuart has a background in agricultural science, rural journalism and corporate affairs. He loves living on a small farm in the beautiful High Country of Victoria, being involved in the Mansfield community and travelling, having in the last three years done extensive travels in Western Australia, Queensland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.