In this season of Lent (giving something up to remember the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus) and as Easter approaches (the celebration of our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus), I found myself reflecting on specific people who could help me remember the importance of defending my faith.
God chose and orchestrated people in specific places to teach us about Himself and how much He loves us. Pontius Pilate was an interesting character to study. He was a Roman political leader who desired power and aggressively pursued it. He was a man who wanted to be remembered and achieved it, but not in the way he intended.
Not having been born into an influential family or a history of rulers, Pilate strategically positioned himself to be seen and rule in places he’d be noticed in the Roman aristocracy. He married well and surrounded himself with influencers who could advance his career. Gaining Jewish Rabbis’ favor wasn’t high on his list, but he included them because he needed them to advocate for him as a fair and just ruler in Rome. Much like today’s politicians who maneuver their political positions, Pilate manipulated his way to the top.
I began to ponder what would happen if social media was around at that time in history. What kind of tweets would Pilate have been tweeting? Unlike Pilate, who was appointed into a governing position of authority, today’s leaders must be elected by popular vote. Positioning oneself and gaining followers on social media is essential and powerful. Pilate had physical mobs that gathered. Today we have social media mobs. Social media followers are the Rabbis – the voices heard by politicians and business leaders. Making right and intelligent choices isn’t what is required. Being politically and socially current, witty, clever, and having associations with the right trending groups is the priority to be successful today. They take priority over what is right and truthful.
It’s a dangerous position to be placed in when you know the truth, but you’re forced to follow the mob for personal gain instead of doing what is right.
Pilate must have been in awe when the crowd, influenced by the Jewish leadership, started shouting, “crucify Him, crucify Him!” This same mob had just hailed Jesus in the streets as their King. What power and control the Rabbis must have had. It was the power of life and death.
Today those wanting a career in media and entertainment are thrown into situations tied to popular agendas, political thought, and trending cultural norms that are often opposite the Christian worldview and Biblical teachings. The pressure caused by not following opposing worldviews and giving into cultural demands is costing many their jobs.
How can we, as Christians, stand for truth when our careers are at stake?
It comes down to choice. Do you want to succumb to the voices of secular social media and political agendas that kick Biblical wisdom to the roadside? Or will you choose to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life that sets us free? Make no mistake, it comes with a cost and sacrifice. But it happens by knowing who Jesus is and choosing Him.
John 19:11 documents Jesus’ answer to Pilate when he asked Jesus who He was. Jesus’ grace and forgiveness are reflected when He told Pilate, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. This is why the one who betrayed me is guilty of an even greater sin.” Jesus was letting Pilate know He understood his power-seeking position and the guilt he must have felt of having to go along with the wishes of a mob that had been strategically manipulated. Pilate had been out-maneuvered.
It’s a lesson to be remembered today. Saying nothing and not standing up for your faith when people say, “oh, you must be one of those Christians,” is like washing your hands as Pilate did, and surrendering Jesus and Biblical truth to the popular thought of our culture today. We become more guilty of sin than those who deny Jesus because of their lack of knowledge. Deep in his heart, Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, and the guilt and shame he felt eventually lead Pilate to commit suicide.
We are instructed to defend our faith (2 Peter 3:15).
Are you willing?