Summer Daily Devotional - John 19
The Noble and Righteous Path
“From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, 'If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar…Take him away! Crucify him!'…Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified” (John 19:12ff).
Caving to the mob is rarely the noble and righteous path.
It may be convenient, less painful, or even career-saving, but rarely is it noble and righteous.
And that’s mainly because the demands of screaming mobs are rarely noble and righteous.
Take, for example, our passage today.
It’s a disturbing account that’s moved me many times. The self-control of Jesus as He’s falsely accused by crooked politicians. The hatred spewed at the most righteous man alive by a mob of petty sinners. The horror of a loving mother watching her innocent son die a slow and agonizing death.
The humanity of it is overwhelming.
But there’s another character that stuck out to me this time…the nameless, outraged mob.
They break out in a riot to protest the 'injustice' of Jesus’ claims and threaten harm and disorder unless their demands are fully met (sound familiar?).
The dilemma grows as the mob’s fury focuses on Pilate. What will he do?
Two choices emerge…follow the truth (“I find this man innocent”) or relent to the mob (“Crucify him!”).
We’ll never know what went through Pilate’s head, but we do know he was conflicted. He did not believe the mob’s demands were just. But he had much to weigh in his decision. After all, the mob had influence, and he had a political future to think about.
So he made his choice. Mob wins.
In theory, his short-term calculation would save his reputation and political career. In reality, history would know him as the man who facilitated the most unjust act the world has ever known…the murder of Jesus Christ.
In the short term, it may help you avoid pain. But in the long run, this holds true: caving to the mob is rarely the noble and righteous path.
So, you ask, what’s the application for us today?
I’ve talked to multiple people this week who feel backed into a corner by the mob. The gender mob. The race mob. The politically correct mob. The diversity, equity, and inclusion mob. Take your pick. Our world isn’t short on outraged mobs looking for a target to shout down with threats of annihilation.
And the mob's demands are clear…full and unequivocal celebration of their demands or they’ll burn you to the ground. “Crucify him!” has a modern translation: “Cancel him!” Fail to bow to the woke doctrine of the day and it’s 40 lashes and 3 nails for you.
If you haven't faced it yet, don’t feel left out—you'll soon get your turn. Everyone will have their mob moment. Switzerland doesn’t exist in these current culture wars. The mob will come for you, and you’ll have a choice to make.
Just like Pilate.
If our story tells us anything, it is this simple truth: caving to the mob often results in the death of truth.
Mobs are fickle and easily manipulated. Mobs are blunt-force objects driven by slogans and chants. Mobs aren't nuanced or open to facts and reality.
Mobs don't listen and learn (like they require from everyone else). It is their perception of reality that matters. It is their experience that counts, not yours. It is their rights that matter, not anyone else's. It is their truth that matters above all.
This is why giving in to the mob is often how objective truth dies (and there is objective truth).
So take courage, Christian. The mob will come for you. And when it does, you will have the privileged opportunity to stand for truth. The truth of Jesus, the truth of Christianity, the truth of a biblical worldview regarding sexuality, gender, and race that actually upholds dignity and virtue and allows for human flourishing.
May God give you humble fortitude…in the classroom, boardroom, or sitting across from the head of HR…so that truth may live in our day and not die on our watch.
Because standing for truth, though it costs your reputation or job, is the noble and righteous path.