Read Mark 15:1-15.
“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
– Mark 15:15 NIV
You likely know what followed. We have seen the horrific reenactment of it on the big screen.
Pilate was a crowd-pleaser, a man who wanted to defend his own position, power, prestige, and popularity. He was so certain of Jesus’ innocence; he felt he had to wash his hands of any guilt pertaining to the shedding of innocent blood. At the same time, he allowed Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be delivered for a whipping and crucifixion. His motivation is summarized in the words “wanting to satisfy the crowd.”
At the heart of each of us is a yearning to be accepted by others, an inclination which, if not checked, will make a crowd-pleaser out of you and me. Do you find yourself in situations in which you know what is right to do but you don’t do it? You know what is right to say, but you don’t say it because of peer pressure?
What happens when pleasing others becomes most important?
The applause of others is fickle. Popularity declines and a person whose life is built on this will find themselves in serious trouble.
Whenever you are uncertain if a course of action you have taken will earn the applause of others, ask yourself simply, “Is it right?” Don’t ask, “Is it popular?” Make Christ the primary one you want most to please, and let all others line up behind Him.
As for me, God, as much as I like the applause, I would much prefer to pass on that in exchange for your words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Give me the courage to accept the challenge of Paul – “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:10 NLT).