Giving Over Jesus: When Cowardice Trumps Conviction

Recently,  I read through Mark 15 and was once again challenged at how easy it is for leaders to “satisfy the crowd.”  Even though none of the charges against Jesus stuck, the Jewish leaders stirred the crowd to release the murderer and insurrectionist Barabbas (as was Pilate’s custom at that time of year), and sent Jesus off to be crucified.  “Why, what evil has he done?”  No answer from them, but in the drumbeat of rage they continued, “Crucify him.” 

Verse 15 is telling of Pilate’s cowardice:  “So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released from them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”

All leaders have a bit of Pilate running around in them.  Their cowardice overruns and overrides their conviction.  Pilate knew Jesus was innocent (even his wife knew this as well), but in order to keep the peace, He gave over Jesus.

As far as a church is concerned:

  • Anytime a preacher of the Word preaches in order to satisfy a crowd rather than preach the unvarnished truth of God’s Word give over Jesus and His unvarnished gospel of God’s plan of salvation in the world and in the church.
  • Anytime a pastor shepherds the church in order to satisfy the parishioners rather than counsel them, “speaking the truth in love,” gives over Jesus and His work to grow and mature them in the faith.
  • Anytime a deacon serves the church in order to satisfy the parishioners rather than to roll up the sleeves, meet the physical needs of the people, and help along the pastors in the work of the ministry, we give over Jesus saying that our plans and way of running the church is better than Jesus’ plan.  (Keep in mind, it’s Christ’s church, not ours—Matthew 16:13-20).
  • Anytime a leader or person of influence seeks to satisfy the crowd (or even their own heart) in setting a direction for the church, we give over Jesus.  In fact, we will be working to usurp His role as the prophet, priest, and king of the church.  It takes great courage to defer to Jesus’ direction.  It takes great cowardice to fear that He doesn’t know what He’s doing, and we then try to take over.

What others ways to you see how leaders can become Pilates—where the cowardice trumps the conviction?


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