Luke 23 Lesson

The Dangers Of Peer Pressure

PEER PRESSURE

Peer pressure is defined as:

“Social pressure by members of one's peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted.” (Source: dictionary.com).

According to study.com, ninety percent of today’s teens report that they have experienced some form of peer pressure in their lives.   Twenty-eight percent report that their social status was elevated after they gave in to peer pressure and conformed.   

Peer pressure puts our souls at risk because it changes our behavior.  It is a clear and present danger to our souls because it can make us commit sins and do things that we otherwise would not do.   

JESUS BEFORE PILATE 

The twenty-third chapter of Luke’s Gospel is all about peer pressure!   As Jesus stood on trial for His life, the leaders of that time were heavily influenced by the crowd around them. 

Pilate did an “about-face” once the crowd’s influence got a hold of him.   As Jesus was brought before Pilate, the crowd accused Him saying:

  • “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” Nevertheless, they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.” – Luke 23:1-5.

Pilate’s initial response was, “I find no guilt in this man.” – Luke 23:4.    That should have been it.   Jesus was accused.   Pilate made his ruling.   And Jesus should have been free to leave.   Right?   Sadly, we know that is not what happened. 

PEER PRESSURE CHANGED PILATE'S MIND

The bloodthirsty crowd and the power-hungry leaders of the day pressured Pilate to find Jesus guilty. Pilate for his part passed the responsibility to Herod when he learned that Jesus was a Galilean (and therefore, fell underneath Herod’s authority).   Luke writes:

  • “And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.  And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.” – Luke 23:10-11

Herod would not make any decision regarding Jesus’ guilt or innocence.   The pressure from the crowds got to him.   Both Pilate and Herod knew they were making historical decisions, and neither one of them wanted that responsibility.   Pilate tried to pass the responsibility to Herod, and Herod gave it right back!

This brings us to the teachable moment for today’s lesson.   Instead of doing what they believed to be right, they gave in to peer pressure.   That can happen to us too if we are not vigilant.

We need to make decisions based on what the Bible teaches us is right and wrong, not what is popular with others.   What good is it to be popular on earth if our souls are condemned for eternity?

BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD MORALS 

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote:

The people around us have tremendous influence over our behavior and the decisions that we make.   We need to be careful who we associate with, and ask ourselves, “Do my friends build me up, or do they tear me down?"   Like Pilate, maybe we start off trying to do what we know is right, but then we become susceptible to the negative influence of others, and we allow them to change our minds. 

There is an acronym for that:

S.N.I.O.P. = Susceptible to the negative influence of other people.

We need to protect ourselves from being negatively influenced by the company that we keep.   It is critical to our salvation that we surround ourselves with people who encourage us to become better Christians, not people who are constantly inviting us to partake in sin.  

CONCLUSION

Satan is a powerful adversary that is constantly seeking to destroy us.   One of his most effective tools is peer pressure.  

To protect ourselves against his attacks, we need to surround ourselves with people of faith, study the Bible, and apply what we have learned.

As we read the Bible, our faith will become stronger, and so will our ability to resist Satan.   The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:

  • “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” –   Romans 10:17.

As we grow in our faith, we will become less affected by what others think, and more reliant on God’s Word to shape our actions.   As people of faith, God wants us to have the courage to stand up for what we know is right, even when it is unpopular, or our peers are pressuring us to go in a different direction.  

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we acknowledge the Bible as our "true north" when it comes to decision-making.  No longer will we follow the world's way of thinking; we will follow God's commandments.  

We will end today’s lesson with the following quote taken from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans. It reminds us to think differently, and to allow God to transform us into the Christians that He created us to be:

  • "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2.

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

Click To View The Discussion
Kia

My husband is under severe peer pressure to fit in he denounces God and does not believe in Jesus. I pray that he repents before it is too late. I pray also that I will continue reading my Bible and spending time in prayer.

Reply
John
Kia

Thank you for sharing Kia. I just said a prayer for you and your husband. I hope that Virtual Bible Study allows you to continue reading the Bible and that your faith continues to grow. God bless you!

Reply
Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

Reply
Dan Wheeler

It takes a decision to put yourself in the right position to obey God. If it is true that "evil companions corrupt good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33), then wise Christians will choose friends and other associations that will help them be strong and be accountable. That's a good step to "keep yourself in the love of God" ( Jude 1:21).

Reply