Posted by Richard S. Lytle, Ph.D. in Blogs
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?”
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
As Easter approaches, we again realize the voice of the crowd still shouts loudly when leaders lead. Throughout history, this compelling collective “voice” often deceives and destroys leaders and nations. For example, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor asked of the crowd, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” Pilate asked. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw he was getting nowhere, but instead an uproar was starting, he took water and ceremonially washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”1
That’s not true! Pilate abdicated his responsibility, falling prey to the voice of the crowd. He failed to understand the significance of his God-given position. Thus, he failed his mission. For Pilate, the voice of the crowd was too powerful. He was terrified to exercise his leadership authority and responsibility.
Earlier we saw Aaron collapse when the panicked Israelites demanded the building of a golden calf idol brought on by Moses’ disappearance. In the Easter story, Peter was puffed up when he claimed that he would stand for Jesus, but weak when confronted with a crowd that had turned on his friend.
All leaders are responsible before God for speaking up. In God’s words, “If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.”2 Pilate did not speak up though he knew truth. How about you? How about me? Do we stand in the gap for our God when the voice of the crowd is attacking?
A Harsh Rebuke
A dominant teaching in SLI is abiding in Christ, developing an ability to hear the voice of God over the voice of the crowd. Strong rebuke comes to those who conform to the voice of the crowd. Jesus says, “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?”3 In fact, the power of the crowd’s voice is so significant, Jesus said the Jews “could not” believe because they loved the praises of men more than praise from God.4
Where will we find the courage to stand? The Bible says that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken”. 5 One of the things we consistently hear at the CEO Forum, is that senior executives appreciate having a community of like-minded believers around them to strengthen them. Today, CEOs face challenges that we haven’t seen in our culture before. Restaurants are being told they cannot open in public places because of some of the beliefs of charities to which individuals have contributed. Having the wisdom to handle that is not likely to be in the next sermon you hear. For over 25 years the CEO Forum has provided a safe environment where Christ-following business leaders can be discipled, transformed, encouraged and strengthened. God is with you in your work; so are we.
This Easter, take a moment in your office or home to be mindful that the voice of the crowd crushes leaders, but the voice of God creates leaders with power to change what really matters!
1. Matthew 27: 23–24
2. Leviticus 5:1
3. John 5:44
4. John 12:43
5. Ecclesiastes 4:12