Peer Pressure

Friday, October 1, 2021

21 The governor asked, “Which of the two do you want me to pardon?”

They said, “Barabbas!”

22 “Then what do I do with Jesus, the so-called Christ?”

They all shouted, “Nail him to a cross!”

23 He objected, “But for what crime?”

But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”

25 The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”

26 Then, he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped and then handed over for crucifixion.

Matthew 27:21-26 The Message

Verse 21: And the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”

Verse 21 study: The crowd loved Jesus on Sunday because they believed he would inaugurate his kingdom. Then, they turned right around and hated him on Friday because it looked like his power was broken. When it was a time to speak up when Jesus was in trouble, people were afraid to speak up. The crowd’s choice was Barabbas, a murder and revolutionary over Jesus, the Son of God. Even today, people are picking Barabbas over Jesus. People prefer the tangible force of human power over the salvation offered by the Son of God.

Verse 22: Pilate *said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” So they all *said, “Crucify Him!”

Verse 23: But he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” Yet they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”

Verse 24: Now, when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; you yourselves shall see.”

Verse 25: And all the people replied, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”

Verse 26: He released Barabbas for them, but after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

Verse 24 study: Pilate believed that the religious leaders were jealous of Jesus, so Pilate hesitated at first. Then, the Jews threatened to report Pilate to Caesar (John 19:12). That scared Pilate because the historical records showed that the Jews threatened to lodge a formal complaint against Pilate for stubborn flouting of traditions. That complaint would have had Pilate recalled by Rome. His job was in jeopardy. One of Pilate’s main duties was keeping the peace and doing what it took to maintain stability. At the time, the Roman government couldn’t afford to put many troops in all the regions under their control. But the decision was a no-decision because Pilate made the decision to let the crowd crucify Jesus. Even though his hands were washed from the decision, the guilt was there. Just because you washed your hands from a situation doesn’t mean guilt will still hang around. You will have a false sense of peace. You take responsibility for your decisions, don’t make excuses.

Father, I think of kids responding to peer pressure, just like Pilate did with the crowd. I pray that parents educate their children to do what is right and not respond to the peer pressure of other kids. In Jesus’ name. Amen!