So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (Mark 15:15 ESV)
Peer pressure stinks. No one likes feeling the speculative weight of a mob settling over them. Rarely are the expectations of culture and society easy to manage. The Romans did it by shaping the culture of their conquered lands to reflect their own—and it was wildly successful.
For Pilate, as he scrambled for some reason to release the innocent Jesus, and avoid a riotous uprising, the pressure became too much. The cost was too much. Pilate gave in to the crowd. Jesus would be crucified to appease the bloodlust of the fickle mob—while the murderous brigand Barabbas went free.
Thinking back across my life I can recall many of my own moments when I sought to satisfy the crowd. Stupid decisions, hurtful things, and regrettable memories were made under the pressure exerted from outside sources. Because the mob can be ruthless, their judgment can be merciless, and it takes a strength that comes from something bigger and better than myself to resist.
As I have matured this has nearly became a non-issue. I am my own man. I don’t feel the need to impress or be impressed. I have freedom and security from all of that, but only because I found it in Jesus. I don’t have to fear the mob all because Pilate wished to satisfy the crowd.