His mind was made up. He knew exactly what to do. There was no trace of doubt, no shade of indecision. He had never had such clarity on a verdict before. This man’s innocence was plain to see. He would release him. Decision made.
It’s funny how one conversation with the crowd can change everything. The certainty he had in the privacy of his rooms, now faltered under the thunderous roar of the masses. His feet once firmly planted, now compromised and shook as the angry mob screamed.
For a moment he wondered if he could be right when so many other people thought he was wrong. Was he wrong? No, he knew this man had committed no crime. He steadied his knees and with as much resolve and volume as he could muster Pilate declared the prisoner innocent. He would flog him and release him. It was firmly settled.
But this crowd was not taking no for an answer. The argument went back and forth and each time Pilate’s voice became a little shakier, his position ever weakening.
Then comes the statement in the record of scripture that changes Pilate’s life forever, “and their voices prevailed.” (Luke 23:23)
In a complete turnaround, a verdict of execution by crucifixion for Jesus swiftly follows. Everything pivots and rotates on the voice of the crowd.
From that moment on, no matter how hard he scrubbed at those hands, Pilate would never get the blood off them, the guilt now a haunting shadow that would forever follow in his wake.
And their voices prevailed…
You see words seem powerless, a vapour that once said, disappear. But the fact of the matter is they carry a weight and momentum that shapes both personal and corporate history. They sway people and nations. The voices that prevail dictate the landscape of the future.
So what voice is prevailing in your life right now? Is it the voice of truth? Or like Pilate are you being pushed around by the multitude of opinions surrounding you, bullied into living a life beneath the call of God upon you, hemmed in by suggestions and demands and verdicts that never came from God’s throne, but instead from a crowd unqualified to issue decrees.
And their voices prevailed…
It’s always been dangerous to listen to the crowd. The assumption that ‘the many’ are always right is a fallacy revealed all throughout history. After all the crowd once said with certainty, “The earth is flat.” Last I heard they were very, very wrong. Thankfully someone was brave enough to come out from the shadows of popular opinion and seek after truth, or maybe we would all still be living in fear of falling off the edge.
I’ll ask you again, whose voice is prevailing? Is it the voice of truth?
That’s the only voice that should be given permission to dictate your actions and decisions. The God of all truth is the only one who is qualified to do so. The crowd is not qualified; it has never been qualified.
Over Pilate’s life is written a legacy he would rather forget, a legacy of 4 short words – and their voices prevailed.
Be careful who you listen to. The voices that prevail dictate the landscape of your future.