Summary: We must always do the right thing and not follow the crowd.
The Messiah and Mob Rule
Text: Matt. 27:11-26
1. Illustration: In a recent NCAA cross-country championship held in Riverside, California, 123 of the 128 runners missed a turn. One competitor, Mike Delcavo, stayed on the 10,000 meter course and began waving for fellow runners to follow him. Delcavo was able to convince only four other runners to go with him. Asked what his competitors thought of his mid-race decision not to follow the crowd, Delcavo responded, "They thought it was funny that I went the right way." Delcavo was one who ran correctly. In the same way, our goal is to run correctly; to finish the race marked out for us by Christ. We can rejoice over those who have courage to follow, ignoring the laughter of the crowd. As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness."
2. It's easy to follow the crowd; it's hard to do the right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing. However, the right thing is always the right thing even when it is difficult.
3. We learn three things about Pilate...
a. He thought he was in control.
b. He wanted to let Jesus go.
c. He gave in to public opinion
4. Let's all stand together as we read Matt. 27:11-26.
Proposition: We must always do the right thing and not follow the crowd.
Transition: The thing about Pilate is that...
I. He Thought He Was In Control (11-14).
A. Much to the Governor’s Surprise
1. The religious leaders have managed to get two men to agree on the same lie against Jesus, and they find him guilty. However, they cannot sentence him to death because only the Roman governor, Pilate, can do sentence someone to death.
2. So as our text begins, "Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. 'Are you the king of the Jews?' the governor asked him. Jesus replied, 'You have said it.'”
a. This verse is important theologically as well as historically.
b. It stands behind the inscription on the cross (v. 37) and prepares the way for Christianity, which rests on the conviction that Jesus of Nazareth, who rose from the dead, is indeed the promised Messiah, the King of the Jews—basic themes in Matthew even in the prologue.
c. In other words, the vindicated Lord is the crucified Messiah (Carson).
d. Matthew does not tell us exactly what the charges brought against Jesus were, but we can deduce from Pilate's question that Jesus was charged with claiming to be a king.
e. Their intent was to paint Jesus in the worst light possible, so they want to portray Jesus as a threat to Pilate, the Roman governor.
f. This accusation troubled Pilate, because as the representative of the Emperor Tiberias who had decreed that anyone claiming to be a king must be put to death.
g. So on the one hand he had to deal with Jesus or it could get back to the Emperor that he hadn't followed his orders.
h. However, Pilate also knew that the Jewish leaders were the problem and not Jesus (Horton, 615).
3. Then Matthew tells us something very intriguing. He says, "But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent."
a. If Pilate would have sentenced Jesus immediately if He had claimed to be an earthly king, but since he did not the Jewish leaders accusations again Him continued.
b. Their accusations are not laid out for us in detail, however, we can assume that they tried to show how dangerous Jesus was not only to them but also to Pilate (Horton, 615).
c. What is intriguing is Jesus says nothing about their accusations!
d. Now I don't know about you, but if someone is standing in front of me and telling someone else lies about me, I'm going get in their face and say, "you're crazy!"
e. However, Jesus, again in line with what is prophesied about him in Isaiah 53:7, "And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth."
4. Then Pilate confronts Jesus, saying, “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise."
a. Although Pilate saw Jesus' answer as an acknowledgement, he also knew that Jesus was anything but political, so he tried to prevent the sentence of execution from being carried out.
b. Pilate encourages Jesus to defend himself, but Jesus remained silent. It would have been very easy for Jesus to refute the charges, but that was not Jesus' objective.