He was a people pleaser

Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” John 19:4

Nothing wrong with being a people pleaser, life is so much simpler when everyone is happy.  I am sure Pilate felt exactly the same way.  Pilate was prefect or governor of the Roman provinces of Judea, Samaria and Idumaea. This meant he was the supreme power and might of Rome in these provinces.  His decision was final. He held this position for 10 years.

Jesus was brought to Pilate for one reason and that was to be crucified.  The high priest did not have the power to execute a criminal and needed Pilate to pass sentence. Therefore Pilate had a man he did not arrest in his possession.  Pilate questioned Jesus over and over again and could not find anything wrong with him. Did he do the right thing? Did he let Jesus go? Pilate was too concerned with pleasing the crowd and the high priest.  He decided to check with them first.  The crowd screamed for his crucifixion.  Pilate still tried to please everyone and brought out Barabbas, a known criminal, and informed the crowd that he would release one.  The crowd shouted for the freedom of Barabbas instead of Jesus.  Pilate had two choices. Please the crowd and the High Priest or do the right thing and free Jesus.

Pilate had Jesus, an innocent man, beaten 40 times with a whip designed to rip his skin off, with bits of sharp bones and metal balls, and then crucified him.  Pilate went down as one of the most famous people pleasing politicians in history.  He was literally moved by the crowd in his actions and did not consider the possibility of doing what was right.

In our lives we too must often make decisions based on whether we should please someone or stick to our convictions and do what we know to be right.  Pleasing others sure can make life pleasant in the short run, but living with the guilt of having done something wrong, just to satisfy others, can become a burden too heavy to carry.

Perhaps it is more important to please the one who always has our best interest at heart, and desires for us to do what is right, regardless of the consequences.  This would be God.  Instead of a people pleaser, we can be a God pleaser.

Stuck in a foreign land

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

It takes a lot of nerve to stand up to a King and say No! But these three Hebrew boys had plenty of nerve.  It came from Faith; faith in a mighty God and a desire to be obedient to him.  Well I got some good news.  This same God is alive and well and we can still find our strength in Him.

These men found themselves in a foreign land, ruled by a ruthless king who held all the power.  With just his word you could be put to death.  This same king decreed a law that had everyone bowing to a large statue. Seemed like an easy thing to do to stay alive. All you have to do is bow. But these young men were not about to compromise their beliefs in order to stay alive. They remained obedient to God’s word. Would the king have his way and send these young men to a horrific death!

Often we too are tested.  Pressure from co-workers, family, friends and even our spouses can be relentless.  We know better but it would be so much easier to just give in and get along.  Why not be just like everyone else, even at the cost of disobeying God’s word.  It’s hard to stick it out and be different. It’s hard to be the only one going to church, praying, believing in God and obeying His word.  It can often lead to rejection, isolation, insults or even persecution. But when we can stay faithful we will receive a greater reward.  For Christ is ever present in our lives. He fills us with a peace, a love, and a joy we cannot find in the world.  We also cannot forget that Jesus promises us a great reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12) for staying faithful in the face of persecution. Jesus also advises us to lay up our treasures in heaven “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego understood that a greater reward could be found in staying faithful to God, than in compromising their beliefs, even at the risk of losing their lives. The King was not impressed and was true to his word.  Into the fiery furnace they went. Then the shocker, the three young men and one other were in the furnace and no harm had befallen them. When we are faithful to God, He is faithful to us.

When you feel like you’re in a foreign land and everyone is urging you to compromise, remember great will be your reward for remaining faithful until the end. This reward is no less than a life that never ends; a life with Christ.

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