Thursday, March 22, 2012

Follow After Jesus or Peer Pressure?

Many reading this can either remember or currently related to all the pressures that come with being in school. There is the pressure of making good grades. The pressure of being in athletics, band, choir, or any number of organizations connected withe the school. Then there are the pressures of friends, relationships with that special someone, and simply the pressure of not being an outcast.

Those types of pressures don't stop with High School or College, in fact; they are present in most of life. The question then is: Do we allow these pressures (influences, factors, circumstances) shape who we are and what we do? Or, Do we turn to Jesus for His guidance and direction?

Mark 15:1-21 records the events that directly led to the crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate had tried on a number of occasions to simply release Jesus. After all, he found no reason for Him to be arrested and certainly no reason for Him to be put to death. Pilate was sure that the people would change their minds. But that didn't happen. The people, being stirred by the Pharisees and other religious leaders of that day, continued to put pressure on Pilate to put Jesus to death.

Pilate gave them a choice between the release of a notorious murderer named Barabbas and the release of Jesus. Notice the chief priests began the chant for the release of Barabbas. And when asked what to do with Jesus the people's response was simply: "Crucify Him!" Pilate asked why but the crowds shouted louder - "Crucify Him!" "Then, willing to gratify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. And after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified" (Mark 15:15). 

Did you see it? Pilate gave into the pressure of those around him. He knew there was no reason for Jesus to be crucified. Jesus was not guilty of any crime. But nonetheless, Pilate allowed that pressure to determine his decision. What or who do you allow to determine your decisions? Does pressure from various places determine who you are or what you do? Or, are you following after Jesus so passionately that only He is your guide in making decisions?

Praying today for:
(1) The Lake O' the Pines Community of Lassater
(2) The State of Ohio
(3) The Nation of Kosovo
(4) The Sub-Saharan African Peoples throughout the World.

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