Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. Luke 23:13-25
I was never part of the in-crowd in high school, never one of the cool kids. I was among the many watching from the sidelines. Yet, even from the sidelines we can get caught up in the crowd, go along with the prevailing sentiment, and shout it as if it was truly our own. I can be persuaded and then realize all too late how wrong I was. We would like to believe we would not join the demanding crowd, and yet we do, more often than not.
Jesus, after examination was found not guilty, but Pilate didn't want to lose favor with the crowd or the ruling parties. He was persuaded by the demanding crowd, to let an innocent man die and to release a known murderer. Politics are not always the friend of the innocent and we can all be Pilate and the crowd when we are angered or fearful enough. God reminds us today that it is very easy to be swayed by the crowd or the politics. We are invited to put fear and popularity aside and see God among us, working for the innocent at all times.
Today, I ask God to help me step out of the maddening and consuming crowd. May we be faithful to the One who has given us new life by working for the protection of the needy and the innocent at all times.