Rise Above the Crowd

Wendy Pope

Day: 31 | Plan: Luke

Today’s Reading: Luke 23:1-25

Luke 23:12 (NIV) That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.”

There are a few movies I like to watch over and over again. Even though I love them, each one has a part I wish would play out differently. In Lonesome Dove, I want Augustus to live. In The Sound of Music I want the von Trapp family to be able to stay in Austria and live happily after ever. The same feelings flood my soul when I reread the account of Jesus’ trial.

I know He was born to die but the cruelty was so harsh. The crowds, the very people who commended Jesus, now condemned Him.

The harsh treatment of Jesus was ordered by Herod and Pilate, two rival leaders. Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. (Tetrarch signifies ruler of fourth of a region.) Pilate was the governor of Rome. The exact cause for their rivalry isn’t known. However, it is speculated the enmity began when Pilate had Galileans murdered as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. (Luke 13:1-2) Regardless of their animosity toward each other, unity against a common cause turned enemies into friends … if only for a day.

The crowd's passionate hate for and cruelty toward Jesus became intense. How quickly a common cause can unite individuals! I found myself thinking of days prior when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As He rode in on a donkey, He was praised, adored and fanned with palm leaves. The crowds that shouted “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38) now shouted "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Luke 23:21b)

Nothing brings people together like a cause. In a day where protests, rioting, looting and free speech are common, we have to be certain we know the foundation and cost of the cause we champion.

Falling in with a crowd can be dangerous. Hatred is infectious and can spread quickly. If we aren't careful, we can become part of something we had no intention of being part of and responsible for something we will later regret. Let’s pause and weigh the consequences of being part of the crowd. In not doing so we may be asked to pay a price too high and placed in a situation that we will regret forever. I want to believe the crowd that day lived with regret. 

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have gone along with the crowd because it was easy and popular. Help me not to cave to the pressure of others’ opinions. When an unruly circumstance arises, may my response be one that honors You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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