After Jesus was put on trial before the chief priests and elders, they held a meeting and decided to bind him and deliver him to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus whether he was King of the Jews and Jesus responded, “You have said so.” (Verse 2) Despite the many charges made by the chief priests and scribes, none of which they could prove. Jesus made no answer and so Pilate wondered.
Now the reason they brought Jesus before the governor may have been twofold. First, as governor they needed his consent to put Jesus to death. And second, by focussing on the fact that Jesus was King of the Jews they hoped Pilate would sentence him to death on the basis that he would be perceived as a threat to the rule of Rome over the land.
As the event continues we see that Pilate recognises that the priests had brought Jesus to him not for any crimes committed, but out of envy. (Verse 10) Pilate had a tradition that he would release one prisoner back to the Jews at the time of the feast each year. Knowing the envy of the priests he chose to offer Jesus or Barabbas, who was a rebel and a murderer accused in the insurrection. The comparison between these two should have led to the release of Jesus for Pilate deliberately offered a truly evil man that no person in their right mind would want back on the streets.
However he underestimated the power and the will of the priests. They stirred up the crowd to call for the release of Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. Pilate was completely perplexed over this matter for he said to the crowd when they sought Jesus’ death, “Why, what evil has he done?” (Verse 13) In the end he gave over to the crowd and having scourged Jesus he delivered him to be nailed to the stake and released Barabbas. (Verse 15)
Here is a lesson for us today. There is a rule of the mob or the crowd. Riots and insurrection are caused by the rule of the mob. Crowds become charged with emotion and take on a life of their own which cannot be reasoned with and cannot be easily controlled. Look at any television report where there is a mob out of control. Look at the eyes of the people in the crowd as they run to cause violence and destruction. They are not in control of themselves but are driven by adrenalin and emotion.
Emotion is the tool of the devil. By whipping people into a frenzy they lose their self-control and can be pushed to all kinds of evil as the devil leads them. Mob rule is satanic for it ignores what is good, right and true because mob rule is based upon emotion and not reason. This is exactly what happened before Pilate when Jesus was condemned. It takes only a few well placed people with axes to grind to whip a crowd into a frenzy, which is how the chief priests whipped this crowd into murdering the Lord and Saviour of the world.
It is the same today. Occasionally you hear of riots that have been orchestrated by certain pressure groups. All they need is a crowd and a few people to drive the agenda throug emotion and the process is set off and running like a runaway train. It is literally a train wreck waiting to happen.
Stay away from mobs. If there is a large gathering of people getting together to protest an issue, beware. It does not take much for it to turn to insurrection and violence as the mood of the crowd is pushed and pulled by those who want to stir up violence. I say it again, beware of mobs and crowds that can turn to violence. There is no good to be done in such a situation, and if you find yourself in such a place…flee!
(Picture sourced from oChristian.com http://clipart.ochristian.com/)