18Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” 19(Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.) 20Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. 21But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
23But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. 25As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
Wow, talk about pure pressure. Pilate is put in a tough situation. He is the leader but the people he leads do not like his decision. Does he sack up and stick with his hard decision or give in to his subjects and follow the popular opinion. Well, as we know from the end of this passage, he gives in. He follows the popular opinion. I wonder what would have happened if he didn’t. Would he have been overthrown as the ruler? Would the people revolted against him and killed him?
We are faced with things like this all the time through our life. Do we stand up for Jesus or pretend we do not know him in order to be popular or liked. Do we stand up for Jesus or cast him aside so we can get ahead in our jobs, in life. Every time we go along in sin with someone else is just acting like Pilate and casting Jesus aside. Putting someone down with a group of friends? Yep. Covering up for a friend that did something bad so that they would still be your friend? Yep. Stealing a piece of candy from the store so your friends will think you are cool? Yep.
It usually starts out small. Sacrificing a small piece of integrity to get a head. A small little lie here and there. Then it grows to something bigger.
Who is the authority in your life?