I praise You, Lord, that all authority is in Your hands. Thank You for willingly becoming the sacrifice for my sins.
Read John 19:1–16a
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
4 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.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 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.”
7 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.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 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.”
12 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.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 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.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of an area of life where you have some influence and power. How will you exercise that influence today?
In today’s reading, the stakes are raised, restraint is lifted and violence is let loose (1–3). As the religious authorities advance their demands, Pilate retreats in weakness and confusion, and at the center stands Jesus, virtually silent, bruised and beaten but still in control (11).
It’s all about power. Pilate reveled in the power he had over Jesus, and at the thought of losing it he was prepared to hand over an innocent man. Moreover he thought he had gotten away with it as he washes his hands (Matt. 27:24) and prepares to face down his wife (Matt. 27:19). But for 2,000 years, all over the world, week in, week out, the church has recalled his guilt: “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried” (The Creed). The religious leaders saw power in terms of control and in its pursuit were prepared to offer their allegiance to their enemies (15). What irony!
We may feel that we have little power, but all of us have some sphere of influence, and we need to exercise it with care and love. Otherwise, it may come back to haunt us!
How can you use your power today to help one of “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40)?
Help me today, O Lord, not to wield power for my own sake, but to exercise it for the well-being of others.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.