That Friday when angry Jews brought Jesus before Pilate, Pilate takes charge of the interview. Of course he does; Pilate was used to being in charge. He isn’t used to being either ignored or contradicted. Jesus did both.
Let’s walk together through this revealing dialog.
Pilate speaks: “Where are you from?”
Jesus stays silent: I doubt that Pilate’s questions often went unanswered.
Pilate: Probably offended by Jesus’ non–response – goes on the offensive, flaunts his authority, and starts his thinly veiled threats; “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” John 19:10 – Pilate is trying to set Jesus straight.
Jesus now sets Pilate straight – He contradicts the governor’s illusion of being in charge. “You would have no power over Me if it were not given you from above.” John 19:11
The whole conversation clearly exposes Pilate’s misunderstanding of power. He thought he was in charge. He had no idea that the One standing before him was the One in charge. Pilate missed the truth that 1 Timothy 6:15 makes crystal clear: God is the blessed controller of all things, the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Who’s in charge on Good Friday? Is it Pilate? Absolutely not.
God is the blessed controller of all things.
Who’s in charge During Creation? That would be God again. He is the one who brings matter into being, the one who turns chaos into order, the one who turns emptiness into abundance, the one who turns darkness into light, the one who continues until every wish of his is complete.
Who’s in Charge in Eden? That would be God again. He is the one who brings Adam and Eve to life. He is the one who provides all their needs. He is the one who warns them of danger. And he is the one who protects them from eternal danger by sending them away from the dangerous situation they had willingly entered.
Who’s in Charge East of Eden? That would be God again. The whole literary structure of Genesis 3 points to God’s coming victory over evil. Who’s in charge of evil. That would be God.
Who’s in charge during Job’s trials? That, once again, would be God. Read Job 1 and notice how carefully God restricts Satan’s activity. The Evil one can go so far, but no further.
Who’s in charge in today’s threatening world? Does God still exercise restraint over evil? Yes he does. Without His restraint the evil we see now would be much worse.
Who is in charge in my life? That would also be God, not me. It’s one thing to believe in the abstract that God is in control; it’s quite another thing to depend on His control when circumstances or illness or others choices threaten to yank from my hands something I find precious. How easily I start to behave like Pilate. I assume I can control things and give into fears when I my attempts at control fall short.
Troubled times are gifts meant to draw us near to the One who controls trouble. When I run out of resources, my desperation drives me near to the One who has the resources. When chaos seems to reign I need to remind myself that my life is hidden inside the God who is sovereign over chaos. When abundance seems to disappear, I need to remind myself that I live inside the God that turns emptiness into abundance. Each time the future looks dark, I picture and remember that I live inside the God who turns darkness into light.
And when I worry, I tell myself the truth that the God who is in charge has plans for me that will bring the peace and good that heaven contains.
Jesus, Pilate, and Power
© Lynne Fox, 2018