(The following is the February 29 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Mark 15 and pay close attention to verses 6-15.)
Are you a people pleaser? What do you think of others you would describe as people-pleasers? We can use the label positively or negatively depending on the circumstances. Pilate was a people-pleaser; in his case, it was not for the best.
Pilate knew regarding Jesus that “it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over” (v. 10). As the crowd shouted to crucify Jesus, Pilate asked, “Why? What has he done wrong?” (v. 14). He knew Jesus did not deserve crucifixion. He saw through the ploy of the religious leaders who wanted Jesus dead. Yet, “wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified” (v. 15). Pilate’s desire to please the crowd directly contributed to the unjust crucifixion of the innocent Lamb of God.
We choose multiple times daily whether we will please others, ourselves, or God. Ideally, some decisions please all three, but we can’t count on that outcome. Pleasing one may fail to satisfy others. In that case, how do we decide which path to take?
As Christians, our priority should be pleasing God. There is no justifiable reason for choosing a path that displeases God, regardless of how many others we may satisfy. Sometimes we please God and others, which should also delight us. Other decisions please God and ourselves, leaving others disappointed. Such times may be hard to explain to those dissatisfied, but the choice is correct when following the leading of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word.
Pilate’s experience should remind us that our top priority is to please Christ and never displease him. Doing so will reliably and consistently be the best decision.
Are you facing any tough decisions? Evaluate your options according to whether they please God, others, or yourself. What insight does that analysis provide in making the right choice?