Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Mk. 15:15, NIV)
Is it ever possible to satisfy the crowd? Pontius Pilate tried. As the Rome-appointed judge of Judea, Pilate personally found Jesus blameless concerning the charges the Jews laid against Him. But because he hoped for the people’s applause (or to avoid their rotten tomatoes, anyhow) he caved in to peer pressure and handed an innocent Man over for torture and execution.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe,” Proverbs reminds us (29:25, NIV). In fact, history tells us that Pilate never really did win the Jew’s favor. Just a few years later, he was ordered back to Rome for offending the religious leaders in the way he handled a Samaritan uprising. When your main goal is to make people happy, you usually won’t win—or at least not for long.
Think about times when you may have tried to “satisfy the crowd.” Ask the Lord to bring to mind two or three specific instances. What happened? Did it turn out the way you hoped it would? What did you have to compromise or give up in order to try to please others?
Now ask Him to show you what causes you to need people’s approval? Is it a longing for affirmation? Acceptance? Belonging? Maybe it’s fear of rejection or abandonment? Or insecurity in your own ability to choose? What do you suppose God might want to do for you to help strengthen and heal you in these areas? Will you ask Him to do it? Talk to Him about it now. He can be trusted—He is not fickle like the crowds.