Mark 15: Going along with the Crowd
Pontius Pilate was a man who was put into an interesting position in Mark 15. On one hand, he knew that the chief priests had only delivered Jesus to be crucified because they were envious of Him. However, he was also afraid of the people. He did not want a riot on his hands if he decided to release Jesus.
Mar 15:12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?
Mar 15:13 And they cried out again, Crucify him.
Mar 15:14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
Mar 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
Interestingly, the people had no response for what evil Jesus had done. I wonder why nobody even made one up. Pilate asked for a reason, and all they said was that they wanted to crucify Him.
I think that happens so many times today. People don’t have a rational reason for rejecting Christianity. Many times, the response is emotional. Of course, this is often times that problem of evil in a nutshell. Even though it is generally accepted that it is logically possible that God could have sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist, many people will take the emotionally driven position that it is not experientially possible. That is like the crowd in this situation.
Then we come to Pilate. He wanted to do what was popular, and in many academic circles, the popular decision is to reject Jesus. Even though they might have reservations like Pilate did, many people seem to be pressured to go along with the crowd.
I think then this is instructive for us. We clearly do not want to be like the crowd. We don’t want to reject Jesus on purely emotional grounds. They never gave a reason which leads me to wonder if they had one outside of pure emotion. However, we also don’t want to be like Pontius Pilate. We don’t want to be pressured into rejected Jesus one we have our own suspicions inside. If it is possible that Jesus Christ was everything He said He was, then we better do our homework because that decision could have enormous consequences.