Scripture:

Mark 15:1-2 “As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and the scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate.”
Mark 15:8 “And the crowd came up and asked Pilate to do as he usually did for them.”
Mark 15:11 “… the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barrabas 
Mark15:15 “So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”
Mark 15:43 “Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.”

Observation:

It was a collective effort to have Jesus crucified. (Chief priests in consultation with elders, scribes, and the whole Council)
And the “crowd” is a repeatedly invoked… 3 separate times.
The “crowd came up”, the crowd was “stirred up”, and the Pilate wanted to “satisfy the crowd”.
Not until after the crowd got what they wanted, and had finally dispersed was an individual act of courage taken.
Joseph of Arimathea was on that Council that was consulted in the beginning.
He was in the room and part of the crowd. And he was respected.
But only after the death of Jesus did he “take courage” and “look for the Kingdom of God” and “ask for Jesus”.

Application:

It seems crowds are easily fooled.
And it seems acts of courage are taken by individuals, or at least started by individuals, not by crowds.
Crowds are also easy to create and get excited.
Simply find out what people want and then promise to give it to them.
It’s my responsibility, as an individual, to determine if this is right.
Is the “crowd” right in their demand?
Is the one “stirring up the crowd” right in their offer to satisfy them?
And then, if I determine the crowd is wrong, will I “take courage”?
Will I “look for the Kingdom of God” or look to “the crowd”?
I’m reminded of CS Lewis who said, “Courage, itself, is not a virtue, but it is the form of every virtue at its testing point.”
Do I have courage to face “the crowd”? Whatever my crowd is today? People in my workplace, people in the community, people wherever I may encounter them?
And it seems I must make the decision to be courageous in advance.
In the moment, it will likely be very difficult, like Joseph at the Council.
I must routinely “look for the Kingdom of God” and “ask for Jesus” everyday.
So that I can “take courage” when I face “the crowd”.

Prayer:

God, thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus.
Thank you for ushering in your kingdom.
Give me the courage to seek it first everyday.
Strengthen me with the Holy Spirit to discern your truth from the crowd’s foolishness.
And thank you for loving me and forgiving me when I fail to do so.
Amen.