Have you ever heard the statement, “there are too many cooks in the kitchen”? You probably have. What does it mean? It means that there are too many people trying to determine what’s for dinner, or too many people trying to be in control. A love or desire for power is one of the most deadly things in humans. If people use their influence in a positive way, it can be a blessing to those around. However, let someone get in an influential position, and have personal ambitions, and it can be a powder keg waiting to explode. I would simply point you to politicians in this country. What they fail to see, and what we often fail to remember is where the power comes from. This desire to be the “master of your own destiny” is as old as time. We see it back in the Garden of Eden. Satan played on Adam and Eve’s desire to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong. In today’s text, we are going to see a godless Roman ruler act as those he has the power to do what he wants.
The religious leaders have delivered Jesus over to Pilate. Pilate has examined Jesus once, and hasn’t found any fault in Him. However, in a move to try and pacify the crowd, Pilate has Jesus scourged. Some soldiers mock Jesus, and they put a robe and a crown of thorns on Him. All of this is an attempt to humiliate Jesus, so that when Pilate brings Jesus back out, the crowd will calm down. Pilate humiliating Jesus is meant as an act that demonstrates that Pilate is superior to Jesus. When this doesn’t work, Pilate tells the Jews to go and crucify Jesus themselves. However, they know they have already violated the Law they claim to love and follow in several different ways in how they have dealt with Jesus. They at first say that Jesus should die because He says He is the Son of God. This terrifies Pilate, because the Romans were scared to anger any god for fear of retribution against them. Therefore, Pilate goes back inside to talk with Jesus, and He asks Him where He is from. But Jesus stands there and says nothing. Then we read this exchange, “Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Are You not speaking to me? Do you not know that I have the power to crucify You, and power to release You?’ Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been give you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin'” (John 19:10-11). There are a few lessons we can learn from this exchange.
The first lesson is having peace in the midst of chaos because of your trust in God. The religious leaders have been lying about Jesus, and making His life miserable for some time. They have done everything in their power to see Jesus killed. Yet, Jesus doesn’t retaliate. He knew why He had come. He knew how things were going to play out. While you and I may not know every detail about how things will play out, we do know as a child of God, in the end we win. Therefore, we don’t have to fear or make a fuss when life is chaotic, because we know that God is still on the throne and in control of it all. The second lesson is that power comes from God. Yes, Pilate was in charge. However, Pilate was in charge because God had placed in him charge. There is a lot of political turmoil in America right now. There are competing visions on what is best for our nation. There are a lot of attempts to remove people from their positions, simply because people don’t like them. However, as Christians we must understand that God is the One who instituted government, and it is for our good (Rom. 13:1-4). And, it is God who puts politicians in place, and it is God who removes them. At the end of the day, we must remember that God is the One in control of all things, at all times. The final lesson is to understand our role. Jesus said that those who delivered Him to Pilate had the greater sin. This doesn’t mean that Jesus was saying that Pilate was guiltless. Pilate was a sinner like everyone else. He knew the right thing to do, and yes he tried to release Jesus a couple of different times. However, in the end, Pilate went along with the crowd. Therefore, he bore guilt in the crucifixion of Jesus as well. Let this serve as a reminder of what James wrote in James 4:17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.”
By His grace and for His glory,