Early on in the Dying to Live series we watched how Christ died to the temptations Satan presented Him. Despite Satan’s attempt to persuade Christ to do what was against God’s will, Christ stood firm in His relationship with the Father. Time and time again throughout Christ’s walk on earth, we have seen Him die to the pressure those around Him were giving Him to perform miracles and healings that were not in accordance with God’s will. Christ understood the pressure imposed on Him by others, yet the deep oneness with His Father enabled Him to live only to glorify God by doing His will and thus die to the peer pressure around Him. He listened to and obeyed only His fathers voice. He heard so clearly from His Father that His voice was the voice that always won out.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:38-40
Today we look at the contrast of Christ’s strength to overcome peer pressure compared to Pilate’s struggle to do what was right in the midst of incredible peer pressure.
“Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, ‘You have brought me this man as one who subverts the people. But in fact, after examining Him in your presence, I have found no grounds to charge this man with those things you accuse Him of. Neither has Herod, because he sent Him back to us. Clearly, He has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will have Him whipped and then release Him.’ [For according to the festival he had to release someone to them.]
Then they all cried out together, ‘Take this man away! Release Barabbas to us!’ (He had been thrown into prison for a rebellion 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 has this man done wrong? I have found in Him no ground for the death penalty. Therefore, I will have Him whipped and then release Him.’
But they kept up the pressure, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And their voices won out. So Pilate decide to grant their demand and released the one they were asking for, who had been thrown into prison for rebellion and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.” Luke 23:13-23.
Pilate had been given ample opportunity to follow his conscience and release Jesus. Yet, he chose to listen to the voices and give in to their demand. Before we criticize Pilate too much, we have to examine our own hearts. Do we follow Christ’s example and die to the peer pressure around us or do we listen to the voices around us and give in to their demands? It is easy to demonize Pilate for not releasing Jesus, but do we ever stop to consider how we give in to the voices around us and forsake our relationship with the Lord?