April 5 | Mark 15:14
“But Pilate said to them, “What evil has He done?” But they cried out exceedingly, “Crucify Him!”” (Mark 15:14)
Studies on crowds show they develop a “mob mentality.” It’s as if everyone who can think for themselves turns it off and joined in with the rest of the group, forming a new brain ruled by popularity. The religious leaders of Israel used it masterfully.
Pilate did not want to crucify Jesus. He made his living in the Roman Empire by avoiding conflict, the pragmatist who gave a little reward to each side to keep the peace, and made sure he got the credit for everything good that happened in Palestine.
He admitted Jesus was innocent. The Romans weren’t in the business of killing innocent men. The only reason Jesus stood before him was the accusation that Jesus claimed to be a King. Even Pilate could not grasp the truth of that claim.
He just wanted to avoid a riot, showing the Romans he could keep the peace in the Palestinian province. So, it was kill an innocent man or allow the religious leaders to cause a riot. Pilate decided even before he defended Jesus before the crowds. Jesus drew the short end of the stick.
Roman crucifixion was brutal. Any description of it makes us modern readers queasy. They meant it to be brutal, to subjugate people in the provinces, to keep them from rioting. It was their form of policing. Pilate gave in to the crowd, even though he knew they were wrong. How do you handle peer pressure?
Action Step: Do you go along with the crowd? Evaluate your choices and allow your redeemed ethics and morality be part of your decisions.
Jesus, help me walk the path You laid out for me. I don’t want to stray from what I know is right. I want to follow Your morality and ethics. Even if I experience peer pressure, I want to do what pleases You.