By Steve Wickham
"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
Jesus answered, "You would have no [authority against me whatsoever] if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
-John 19:10-11 (NIV modified).
Pilate was in the wrong place at the wrong time from his own viewpoint. There were various opposing, confounding forces that he couldn't possibly reconcile. He didn't want to put Jesus to death; neither he nor King Herod found anything of substance against him. If anything, there's a hint that Jesus was able to establish a remarkable rapport with Pilate. Certainly Pilate had showed respectful awe toward Jesus and fear that he was dealing with deity. Their rapport is notable in each interaction through the gospels. For instance, when Pilate first spoke to Jesus he used Jesus' native Aramaic, and could have been surprised to hear Jesus retort in Pilate's native Latin tongue; an intellectual joust.
If Pilate could not find cause to crucify the 'King of the Jews' what was the opposing force that forced his hand? Jesus' very own people of course. The High Priest that year, Caiaphas, played a remarkably salvation-honouring role which is a tremendous irony given the Pharisees hated Jesus. It is written in John: "It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was expedient and for their welfare that one man should die for (instead of, in behalf of) the people." -John 18:14 (Amplified)
The chief priests, scribes, teachers of the law and Pharisees made Pilate's choice very simple in the end -- there was no other outcome acceptable to them but crucifixion.
Of course, from the Christian viewpoint, it all turned out perfectly to plan. God the Father's master plan from the beginning worked out for all creation, for not only was Jesus to be raised to be the Saviour of the world; his death was to become the key symbol of truth in life. Whoever loses his or her own life (for God's purposes) will save it.
Who has authority over me? Only One. Nobody else. Who should I fear? No one but God. People can do anything to us or for us; God is the one that allows it. He gives and he takes away. True faithfulness is the response of praise at the time of both ecstasy and distress. If we thank him for the good times, why would we not thank him for times other than good?
John 19:11 is such an encouragement to all true Christians. It's a statement of reliance in only one power; monotheistic worship of the Godhead three-in-one. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing -- worthy is he to receive our fullest devotion.
Copyright © 2008, S.J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.
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