Mark 15:15 says, “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
Last spring another pastor said that he had a word for me: “God has your ministry on hold until you can stop worryign about what other people think.” OUCH! Do I really let what other people think affect my actions as a pastor. Am I a leader swayed by the whims of the crowd? Well, sure, I listen to others. We’re supposed to. After all, those of us in the Reformed family of churches believe that it’s easier to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in groups than in person…
But what about those times when I know that something is right, but I expect it to be unpopular. Or what about those times when someone sends me an email complaining about what I preached. Or what about the times when I know that addressing a particular verse in my sermon will set someone off… Do those things change my course of action? That’s not right!
Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent:
“‘Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.” (Mark 5:9-10)
So what did he do? He allowed Jesus to be crucified to please the people. That’s not the good kind of listening to the people. I don’t want to allow myself to be turned away from God’s will in order to avoid conflict…
I don’t want to satisfy the crowd at the price of crucifying Jesus – or even to satisfy the crowd at the price of turning from Jesus’ plan for me and for my church. The price is just too high.