What Jesus Did! 'Their Voices Prevailed' — Luke 23:18-25

Monday, December 18, 2023

[After Pilate pronounced Jesus innocent,] a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, "Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!" (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

For the third time he demanded, "Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him."

But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.

— Luke 23:18-25 NLT

Key Thought

Pilate didn't have the fortitude to buck the crowd's will. Instead, he read the poll numbers and followed the will of the crowd rather than doing the right thing. So Pilate "turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished." They had insisted that a murderer be released and Jesus be crucified. As insane as this insistence seems, that type of thing is what often happens when a crowd determines the agenda. All throughout Jesus' ministry, the crowd had sought to possess him and make him into what they wanted him to be. Jesus didn't let them. Now the crowd called for his death because they couldn't make Jesus do their bidding and because the religious leaders had incited the crowd against Jesus. The crowd got its wish with Pilate. Will the crowd get its wish with us and with our lives? Or will we choose Jesus and the way of the Lord? Let's remember that the way of Christ is quite often unacceptable to the crowd. If we ever doubt this truth, all we have to do is to be reminded of the cross and the Savior.

Today's Prayer

Father in heaven, help me never base my life on the will of the crowd, but to have the courage to live the way of the Lord. In his name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 2:23-25
  • John 6:14-16, 25-27
  • Luke 6:26


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Illustration of Luke 23:18-25 NLT — "Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.