“…Do you not know that I have authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him. “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given to you from above.”
John 19: 10, 11 (ESV)
Regardless of His circumstances Jesus never minced his words. He spoke the whole truth all the time. He had no other choice because it was the truth that framed his message and leads us to the cross of our own salvation. And as he so clearly stated to Pontius Pilate, all authority ultimately rests in the hands of God. For nothing malicious ever befalls us which God is not acutely aware of and over which he does not have final authority. Such was the case with Jesus standing before Pilate. God had a very specific plan that required fulfillment. Pilate’s earthly position of authority was part of that plan, so Jesus, holding his immeasurable power in check, obediently submitted to it.
The question is, did Pilate see Jesus as an earthly threat to his control of the region or was he just an annoyance being stirred up by the Jewish leaders? Herod, of course, recognized the gravity of the situation. It is entirely feasible, however, that if Jesus had truly put up a defense, Pilate may have spared him. Jesus knew that as well, so he wisely maintained his silence when facing Herod who asked him several probing questions. Pilate, instead, was nothing more than an intermediary, a pawn in God’s plan. He had no wish to kill Jesus, only the Jewish leaders did.
If Jesus hadn’t followed God’s instructions explicitly, however, God’s plan of securing the establishment of his kingdom on earth and consecrating redemption for the entire world would never have occurred. And while our individual purpose in life may not be as profoundly weighty as was Christ’s, when our place in the body of Christ is taken in context, we too have an important role to perform, which invariably expands God’s kingdom ever outward.
Jesus forthrightly verified, in that fateful response to Pilate’s life or death question, that, in reality, God has all authority. We should, therefore, remind ourselves of that every day by stepping out confidently, in faith, knowing that God will faithfully guide and care for us on our own sacrificial journey. Unlike Jesus, however, our sacrifice is a living sacrifice, in which we set our lives apart for Christ Jesus, surrendering to his supreme authority every day, and in doing so bringing glory to the name of our Father.
Dear Heavenly Father, while we know that you justly administer all power and have complete and final authority over our lives, help us willingly submit to those that you have placed in provisional authority over us that your plan and purpose for our lives may be made complete. Amen.
A F Fischer