“You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong…” – Exodus 23:2.
It is basically a rite of passage. At one time or another, one or both of your parents, will admonish you to not just “follow the crowd.” It made sense, who doesn’t want to be blazing their own path rather than following the path of others. Who doesn’t want to be the rugged individualist?
The problem is nobody wants to be that different. There is a sense of normalcy found in being like our friends and peers. It is human nature to want to fit in. Fitting in is comfortable so we often follow the crowd almost without thinking. But as we have seen in the life of Daniel, it is important to tune into God instead of listening to the crowd. But that is easier said than done, because the crowd has a powerful voice.
In Luke 23, we read the familiar story of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. In verses 13-16, we read Pilate’s verdict: “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent…Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
The Romans had no problem killing people, but Pilate did not want to kill this innocent man. He wanted to set Jesus free and he had the power to do so. How is it then, that the story ended the way it did?
Pilate had to make a choice. Doing what was right or do what the crowd wanted. Pilate asked “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (Matthew 27:16) The mobs reaction was intense. Pilate raised his voice above the noise of the crowd asking, “What crime has He committed?” The crowd roared even louder. Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing so he washed his hands of the matter, literally and figuratively. Pilate was one of the most powerful men in the city, but he allowed the crowd to sway his decision.
Those who follow the crowd tend to get lost in it. Crowds can make good people make bad decisions. People are less likely to follow normal restraints and inhibitions and more likely to lose their sense of individual identity. We can’t escape the negative influences surrounding “the crowd” especially for our kids. There will always be a “wrong crowd” that will attempt to bring our children and us as followers of Jesus down. It is important that we as Christians are not swayed by the crowd. Instead of listening to the crowd, it is important to tune in to God.
It is His voice we should follow, no matter where the crowd leads.
- How have you experienced the allure of the crowd in your life?
- What can we do to minimize the pull of the crowd in our lives?