Summary: A sermon about Peer Pressure and following Christ.

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Mark 15:1-15

"24 Hours that Changed the World: Jesus, Barabbas, and Pilate"

Have you ever thought you had something in common with birds and termites?

Well, market research experts argue that we do have something in common with birds and termites.

Because, without even knowing it, we're often controlled by peer pressure.

For instance, researchers note how many bird species "rise from a field in complete sychnocricity as though they are doing a choreographed dance."

Scientists say that the birds are "acting as if they shared one collective brain."

And termites also act like they all just have one enormous brain.

"In other words," researchers argue, "only by observing and mimicking the behavior of its neighbors can a termite figure out what it should be doing."

Researchers observe that we human beings act in much the same way.

Just like those birds and termites, we, too, have a collective consciousness in that we size up what those around us are doing and modify our actions and behaviors accordingly.

"There is ample research to show that we instinctively look to the behaviors of others to inform the decisions we make--everything from which way we should walk, to what music we should listen to, to which kind of car we should drive.

It seems, in short, that we instinctively believe that others know more about what we want than we do ourselves."

Psychologists have a name for this phenomenon.

It's called peer pressure...and peer pressure can be terribly damaging.

It has powers that we can hardly even imagine...

...just look at some of the atrocities committed by groups of humans throughout history; and things we have done due to peer pressure in our own lives.

In the Bible, Pilate had the inclination and the authority to set Jesus free.

After all his hesitation, after all his resistance to the idea of crucifying Jesus, though, we come to one of the saddest lines in Scripture.

In Mark 15:15 it says, "Pilate wanted to satisfy the crowd, so he released Barabbas to them.

He had Jesus whipped, then handed him over to be crucified."

Pilate "wanted to satisfy the crowd."

Pilate knew it was wrong.

He had the power to stop it.

But the pull of the crowd was too intense.

Pilate sent Jesus to the Cross to satisfy the clamor of the fickle and unruly mob in front of him.

Think about it.

Can you see yourself in Pontius Pilate?

From the time we were small we have been dealing with peer pressure or the pull of the crowd.

From the clothes we wear to the way we wear our hair--we are caving into peer pressure.

When I was a kid, in elementary school, all the children wore a brand of jeans called "Tough Skins."

Anybody remember those?

They were the Sears brand.

And that was the only place you could get them.

By the time I moved on to middle school everyone who was anyone wore Levis.

Sure there were other brands--Lee, Wrangler, to name a few...

...but Levis was the only brand you could wear without being "made fun of."

And, of course, Levis were more expensive than the other brands.

And as far as sneakers were concerned, they had better have had that authentic Nike "swoosh" on the side.

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