Luke 23. Forum Discussion

Peer pressure and the courage of our convictions

Luke 23. Forum Discussion

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.”

According to study.com, ninety percent of teens reported having experienced peer pressure, while 28 percent reported that their social status was boosted after they gave in to peer pressure. Most of us have experienced peer pressure in one form or another. It is a problem today, but what about in biblical times? Was peer pressure a problem back in the days that Jesus walked the earth?

The answer is a resounding yes!

The 23rd chapter of Luke’s Gospel is loaded with peer pressure. As Jesus stood trial, the leaders of that time were heavily influenced by the behavior of the crowds around them. Early in the chapter, Jesus is brought before Pilate and they accuse 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. The bloodthirsty crowd and the power-hungry leaders of the day pressured Pilate to find Jesus guilty. Pilate for his part passes the responsibility to Herod when he learns that Jesus was a Galilean and that Herod had authority over Galilean’s.

Luke writes beginning in verse 10:

“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.” 

Herod does not make any decision regarding Jesus’ guilt or innocence. He could have, but 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 tries to pass the responsibility to Herod, and Herod gives it right back to Pilate. Instead of doing what they believed to be right, they gave into peer pressure.

That can happen to us too if we are not careful. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he writes:

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33. 

We need to choose our friends carefully, as the company that we keep will have an influence over our behavior. Like Pilate, maybe we start off trying to do what we believe is right, but then we become susceptible to the negative influence of others and we allow them to change our minds. Maybe we are like Paul who said:

“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” – Romans 7:19.

Satan is a powerful adversary that is constantly seeking to destroy us. One of the many powerful tools that he uses is peer pressure. The best way to protect ourselves against peer pressure, is to strengthen our faith.

The Bible teaches us that:

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17.

As we read the Bible, our faith will grow stronger. As we solidify our own personal belief system centered around God’s commandments, we will become less susceptible to the various forms of peer pressure.

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. As we have learned, the people that we surround ourselves with can make that difficult, especially if we surround ourselves with, “Bad company.”

We can combat peer pressure by choosing our friends wisely and by thinking about positive things.

We will end today’s forum with the following quote from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.

Thank you for studying with us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Luke 24. We will be studying about doubt, and ways to increase our faith.  May God’s blessings be upon you until then.  Amen

Comments

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).

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