Power, Surrender, and True Authority
The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” — John 19:7-11
The details of this interchange are interesting.
It begins with a retort by the Jews who state, "he has made himself the Son of God." Not that "he was" but that "he made," which is an interesting detail given the inscription Pilate will nail to the Cross.
But this statement was enough for Pilate to interrogate Jesus again, which is becoming both unsettling and irritating for Pilate. Notice how Pilate responds:
- Pilate took the "Son of God" statement seriously. We have to assume he feared Jesus might be some divine man. Remember, Romans did tell stories about god-men who descended to earth. But Pilate has already flogged, ridiculed, and passed over the potential pardon of this man.
- Pilate attempts to engage Jesus in a philosophical conversation (after Jesus has been flogged nonetheless). And the question, “Where are you from?” has no real bearing on the issue of treason.
- Pilate is unsettled, in contrast to Jesus, who remains resolute, which is quite the contrast now.
- Pilate resorts to a declaration of his power, and Jesus retorts with the truth about power.
The weak man in the room is not Jesus. It's Pilate. While Pilate had the mantle of Roman power, the Jews and Samaritans continued to make his life utterly miserable. Eventually, because of situations like this, he was removed from office and exiled to Vienna, where he committed suicide, similar to Judas.
Pilate's desperate grasp for control reminds me of our feeble attempts to control our lives, rejecting God's authority. But remember, we cannot outmaneuver God. Jesus, the embodiment of power, strength, and wisdom, tells us where all power, strength, and wisdom come from — God. So why do you try so hard to be powerful, strong, and wise? Instead, accept your limitations and let God be power, strength, and wisdom through you.
In what areas of your life are you trying to assert control or power, similar to Pilate, rather than surrendering to God's authority and plan for you?
Reflecting on Jesus' statement about authority being "given from above," how does this challenge your perspective on power, strength, and wisdom in your personal journey? How can you better align with God's will to let Him work through you?
DO THIS: Let Jesus be power, strength, and wisdom for you today.
PRAY THIS: Lord, guide me to humbly seek Your wisdom and strength in every moment. Teach me to surrender my will, trusting fully in Your unending grace and love. Amen.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.