The Evil of the Multitude

W. Randall Sexton
St. Joseph, Missouri

It is quite common in this day of religious error for men to try to justify a particular doctrine by the fact that many people follow that doctrine. "That many people can't be wrong," they may say. Of course, this is no grounds for upholding such a doctrine. There is no place in religion for "majority rule." It is my aim in this short article to point out that the majority is not always right. In fact, in religious matters we find that in most instances the majority of people act contrary to God's will rather than in compliance with it. Anything that is done religiously should be done because it is right and scriptural and not because a majority of the people is practicing it. Right is right and numbers do not make a bit of difference. As an old adage says, "might does not make right. Right makes might."

In Matthew 26 we find that "one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot" made agreement with the chief priests to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. "And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him" (Matt. 26:16). We find later that Judas by a kiss betrayed Christ. Jesus is then taken and "when the morning was come all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death." As was the custom at the Passover Feast, "the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would." This was done during the feast so that the governor might gain in popularity with the people. The Jews were given a choice -- Barabbas or Jesus. Barabbas was well known for his seditious spirit. We find, according to Lk. 23:19, that Barabbas was cast into prison for reason of sedition and murder. John 18:40 further designates him a robber. Given a choice between two greatly contrasting men whom did the people choose? Matt. 27:20-23 tells us, "But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you! They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, what shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ? They all say unto him, let him be crucified. And the governor said, why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified." Thus we see that it was by the hands of the majority or the multitude that Jesus was crucified.

Surely we would not want to be among the majority, knowing they would be eternally lost! Matthew 7:13-14 says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

The gate through which the multitude will enter is wide, the way broad, and the path leading to destruction. The strait gate, narrow way, the path that leadeth to life, belongs to the few. The path that leadeth to life is perilous, beset by many troubles and temptations trying to guide us astray of the strait and narrow way.

When doing anything, may we do it simply because it is right. May we not be influenced by numbers -- by what others do and think. But may we always remember the statement Paul makes in Romans 3:3-4, "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

November 1968