I initially began writing about how gutted I was that America does not celebrate Easter with yummy chocolate eggs because their chocolate is painfully lacking in good taste levels. (UK chocolate is far superior). Then I checked myself and thought I’d articulate the true reason for the season, and even gave it a new title.
The power of a crowd
‘Don’t follow the crowd’ was my first title for this story, but after writing this I reflected that since a crowd is so powerful, why not follow the crowd?! Instead use a crowd to your advantage the next time you need to achieve a goal – but in the right way for positive victories!
In Luke 23, Pontius Pilate’s weak desire to appease the crowd led him to hand over an innocent Jesus to be crucified rather than a convicted murderer with time still to serve, Barrabus. Clearly, the crowd’s decision to free Barrabus was not their finest hour. When they look back at this point in their lives years later, perhaps Barrabus has struck again, they will realise how dangerous their pack mentality had been, and feel guilt and shame at their actions.
‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’
For the third time he spoke to them: ‘Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.’
But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified and their shouts prevailed.
Although the reaction by Pilate to the crowd’s shouts was a good example of a leader following the requests of the people, we all know that sometimes the right way is not the way most favored by the masses. But who in that situation would have had the gall to defy this angry mob? Even Jesus’ disciples were nowhere to be seen. We read in Luke 22:54-62 that Peter disowns Jesus three times! It was a difficult time to stand up for what one believed was right and true. They were afraid to suffer the same fate for defying the will of the people who had so much power that they would free a murderer and condemn an innocent man – the Son of God. And I don’t blame their fear! Have you ever heard the adage: ‘fear is simply a fantasized experience appearing real’? Well, in this scenario their fantasy could have turned to reality in a heartbeat. These were dangerous times. Followers of Jesus had the potential to cause as much damage as Jesus himself – and later on in Acts this potential is revealed through miracles and an increase in believers from then until this present day.
So even though it was a horrible experience to be crucified an innocent man, it was all purposefully laid down by God to reveal his power on earth through his son, Jesus Christ. Through his resurrection he conquered death and justified us so that we can have freedom and everlasting life if we believe.
I found this poem by A.R. to reiterate the Easter experience:
Thank you, Christ for saving me!
For without you, God my life would not be.
Though worldly desires seem sweet to me
From darkness give me the strength to flee
Lest I forfeit my freedom – my life after death.
Never let me forsake you. To my dying breath
I will speak of hope, grace and mercy, your death on the cross,
The blood you shed: God’s sacrifice and loss.
Thank you for your death; yet your resurrection is sweeter.
Victory, life and eternity now feature in my future!
So I’ll share this knowledge of Christ Immanuel
Because with ‘God with us’ how can we fail?
So raise your hands, fall to your knees
And earnestly read this Salvation plea:
Thank you Jesus for dying for me,
I’m a sinner, unworthy yet you forgave me.
I welcome you into my life – make me whole, make me clean
And cover me with your blood: Salvation’s sheen.
I believe in who you are, the sacrifice you made.
My God! For my sin, you were humiliated and shamed.
Yet when you shed your blood and rose from the grave
From my sin and guilt I am now saved!
And now I have purpose and limitless possibilities,
Freedom, new life: all come to those who believe.
So why shall I fear? I’ll step forward in faith.
All my burdens I cast on you, Author of my fate.