Crowd Demands

Journal Entry // April 6, 2022

So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.

Luke 23:24 ESV

I always find the story of Pilate interesting. As I read these portions of the story in the Gospels that present Pilate to us, I see this duality in him that seems to make him sway back and forth in doing the right thing. On the one hand he can readily see that Jesus is innocent of any crime that deserves death, but on the other hand his cruelty enjoys making a mockery of any prisoner. He seemingly has a conviction of truth that he has determined as judge, yet is so fearful of what everyone thinks about him that he determines to let the crowd decide the fate of Jesus and give over his authority. In the name of “peace,” Pilate sided with the leaders and rulers of the people – the ones in power – instead of being brave and performing his duty as judge. His fear of man was greater than his fear of the Lord.

I find this same scenario at work in my heart every day. Every single day, I continue to have these moments of listening to the crowds or listening to God. The crowds (the world, the flesh, and the devil) are insistent and loud with their voices. As they were with Pilate, so they are with me (Luke 23:23 ESV – But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.) Those voices that think they know the truth, that think they are absolutely correct in their understanding, those voices that are set against the things of God will continue to cry out to me. They continue to cry out to me to compromise my belief and understanding. They cry out for me to listen to the wisdom of the crowd. For of course this is where the experts are located and this is where the truth can be found. The crowd must be right because there are so many of them and they all agree that they know the right and proper way to understand the world around us.

This pressure to compromise is so tremendous at times. The crowd is so insistent and unrelenting.  It’s like waves crashing into the shoreline. And just like Pilate, I will at times give into the crowd and the compromise they are offering. I move the line of God’s law just a little. Just a fraction. Just enough to where the crowd is satisfied for the moment. But it doesn’t stop there of course, because the crowd is never satisfied until the line is completely removed. So I keep moving the line little by little. I keep looking for relief. Until one day I look back and I see the line of God’s law is so far behind me and that I am deep in sin and rebellion against him. I have given over to the crowd and joined them.

But God… He has placed his Sprit within me. It is his Spirit that guides me and convicts me and speaks to me and teaches me. It is my loving Father that deals with me gently and with compassion. Jesus knows the struggle and adversity and strife of living a life committed to the One True God. He lived it perfectly. He was tempted to the utmost and never gave in. He never compromised. He understands. This is such a tremendous help and blessing to me. Knowing that my Jesus is here with me and will strengthen me for every trial. He is continuing to teach me about humility and patience. He is drawing me closer to himself through prayer and his word. He continues to teach me these basics of abiding with him. He continues to develop and nurture our relationship. He continues to give me the desires of my heart. He continues to point out sin in need of repentance and then brings mercy and forgiveness to this same sin.

It is the strength of Christ in me that keeps me from following Pilate’s example of compromise with the crowd. There will be peace and rest, when the Lord calls me home to himself. Until that time, there will be struggle and adversity. Yet, I can rest in the simple blessing of the trials. The blessing that the trials are meant to expose my weakness and magnify the strength of Christ. These trials continue to teach me that I need Jesus and Jesus will always want me. So I take my burdens and my troubles and I give them over to Christ. I look to him for humility and patience. I recline at table with my Savior. I rest at ease with him. Knowing that he has rescued me and I am his completely, forever.

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