Crowd-Pleaser or Voice for God?

I will post my “5 Stages of Sermon Preparation” tomorrow, but I want to interrupt my series of posts on preaching with a thought from today’s sermon. We looked at Mark 15.1-15.

In Mark 15, Jesus is brought to Pilate by the religious leaders with a charge of high treason (as opposed to blasphemy, which the religious leaders knew wouldn’t get Pilate’s attention). Pilate, the Roman governor, would rather frustrate the religious leaders’ attempts to use him for their own purposes (which is why he really wanted to free Jesus), but at the end of the day, he fears an uprising by the people.

The text includes this telling phrase …

Pilate wanted to please the crowd.

And so, in the end, Pilate did what was expedient (i.e., avoid an uprising), not what was right (i.e., release an innocent man). My point today was …

Pleasing the crowd keeps us from doing the right thing!

But I’ve also been thinking about this in the area of preaching. Anyone who is called to lead people struggles with the desire to please the crowd. We want to reach people. We want people to like us (who doesn’t?). But it’s when crowd-pleasing becomes the driving force that it becomes a problem.

With preaching, we have a choice: are we going to be crowd-pleasers or a voice for God? It’s about the motivation that drives us. A desire to honor God leads us to be a Truth-teller, whether it’s popular or not. A desire to please the crowd may keep the peace (for a while) but it also keeps us from being a voice for God.

This is not to say that crowds won’t like us if we refuse to be crowd-pleasers, but the “crowd” will be different. 🙂

I’m sure there’s more to this idea that could be fleshed out, but this phrase really struck me as having implications for those of us called to be a voice for God in the world!

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