SLD Blog

Scenes from Holy Week – Friday

What is Truth? (Christ and Pilate)
by Nikolai Nikolaevich
Russia

John 19:1-16 (NIV)

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “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 power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement. It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.  But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

Willingly Given

It is important to remember that, on the day of his crucifixion, Jesus always had the upper hand.  God the Father never canceled his power which included every agonizing moment while impaled on the cross. At any moment he could have stopped all trumped-up conviction proceedings and brought judgement down on his accusers and murderers.

It is important to note Jesus carefully chosen words uttered on the cross, “It is finished”.  He could have said, “I am finished” and that would have been absolutely correct, but he always had in mind that this was never about him but about the mission of redeeming the world to the love of God.  Therefore “It is finished” carried so much more weight, and strength for all mankind.

We also need to remember that Jesus never took his eyes off his source of power.  As Pilate flaunts his ability to free this Prisoner, he responds with confidence that God was in control.  “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…” (vs 13).  That is the strength of the One we serve.

“So finally, upon a rugged cross
They killed the man who would not suffer loss
And when at last they took what willingly He gave
He died, but could they keep Him in the grave

 They could not, They could not
Praise God, they could not
And when at last they took from Him what willingly He gave
Could they keep Him in the grave, could they keep Him in the grave,
Could they keep Him in the grave?
They could not…” 

Ron Harris & Claire Cloninger

Jesus kept his eye on the mission, which was (and is) to cancel the power of sin over you and redeem you to his side.  They could not stop him from loving you…whoever “they” might be in your life right now.  They could not!

Reflection

What is it that makes you doubt God’s love for you today?  Name it and place it at the foot of the cross.

Prayer

“O God, our Father, in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus you have given me the remedy for sin.  In him you have opened to me the way to forgiveness for all my past sins, and you have given me the strength and the power to live in purity and in truth.”

William Barclay

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