Summary: A look at Pilate's desire to please the people and the ways that we often behave in the same way.
AN EASY TEMPTATION: We want to satisfy the crowd.
- Mark 15:15.
- Most of us like being liked. We want people to approve of us.
- And it is nice when everyone is backing what we’re saying or what we’re doing.
- This is probably the most important phrase in our passage for understanding Pilate. We’ll dig into some of the other verses momentarily, but this one gets at the biggest piece of the puzzle of what’s going on inside Pilate.
- For all his power, he is unwilling to go against the crowd. We’ll talk in a minute why that’s true in his case.
TWO OF THE BIGGEST REASONS WE DO THAT: Preserving our popularity and maintaining our power.
- vv. 13-14 show the crowd shouting for Jesus’ crucifixion.
- We don’t want to lose our social position.
- We don’t want to endanger our friendships.
- Examples where this could happen today:
- Your circle of friends trashes someone. You think it’s cruel and incorrect, but don’t say anything because you’re unwilling to go against the crowd.
- Seeing a friend go down a self-destructive road, but not saying anything. Sometimes someone will walk down a bad path with no one saying anything, only to have everyone say after the inevitable disaster, “Yeah, I thought it was a bad idea.”
- One of the sad things about this is that we’re selling out for essentially very little: someone’s approval.
- It’s kind of like when we sell our integrity for $15 worth of office supplies from our workplace – if you’re going to sell out, at least don’t sell out cheap! That makes it doubly pathetic.
- John 19:12.
- They tell Pilate “if you release this man who has claimed to be a king, then you are no friend of Caesar’s.” This, they know, will have an impact because Pilate by this point is in a tenuous relationship with Rome. He can’t afford to have much more trouble or rebellions or he risks losing his power and position.
- Examples of where this might happen today:
- Your boss asks you to do some things you find ethically questionable. You go along because you like the role you’re in at work.
- Your boss asks for a workload from you that demands that you not give your family the
THE PROBLEM: Trying to make everyone happy is a stupid approach to life.
- Mark 15:11, 14.
- There are a couple verses in here that are reminders of how easily swayed people are:
a. v. 11 – Many of these were probably the people who were cheering for Jesus just a few days earlier. Now, because a few people get the crowd stirred up, they side with a murderer over this popular teacher.
- It’s amazing how easily moved we are when the rest of the crowd seems to be going in that direction.
b. v. 14 – Once we’ve committed to something (however ill-thought), we tend to hold to that.
- In the face of Pilate’s (gentle) rebuke, they don’t take a moment to think through their previous statement to discern whether it was wise. Instead, they do like most of us do – they double-down and just start yelling louder.
- You’d like to think that people have solid and carefully-considered reasons for what they believe. Not usually true.
- You’d like to think that when confronted with evidence showing they might be wrong that people would thoughtfully consider their original thoughts. Not usually true. We just tend to shut that stuff down.
- This is a big part of the reason that we can’t live our life to satisfy the crowd. They often are in favor of stupid things!
- It’s another reason why just because they do a poll and the majority of Americans believe a certain thing, that doesn’t mean that is true. It just means the generally thoughtless opinions that the people have happened to have shifted in that direction.
- There will inevitably be times when we have to stand against the crowd. It’s just bound to happen in a world that is not moving in God’s direction.
- There will be awkward moments when we have to speak up with a dissenting opinion.
- What is the issue or situation or problem about which you’ve said nothing because you don’t want people (or one person) to be mad at you?
- Many of us are people pleasers.
- Many of us are confrontation avoiders.
- “What went wrong? I was just trying to make everyone happy.”
- What went wrong is that you were trying to make everyone happy.
- How can I please God and keep everyone happy too?