Father, I thank You for the gift of this day. May I abide in Your presence and abound in Your power.
Read John 18:19-40
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“What do you think of Jesus Christ? No question is more pivotal. Jesus is the one figure who, like no other, has changed lives, shaped culture and offers one sure hope for the future” (John Stott, 1921-2011).
I’ve just finished a really engaging novel that hinged on the true identity of its main character being unknown. The plot only made sense once his identity was revealed and then, too late, people wished they’d treated him differently. When Jesus went on trial, his judges clearly had no idea who he really was, or they would have acted very differently.
In the trial before the high priest (19-23), John concentrates on Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in law and virtual high priest. John says little of Caiaphas, the reigning high priest, because he had prejudged Jesus earlier, ironically declaring, “It is better … that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (11:50). The high priest was supposed to be on lookout for the Messiah and welcome him. Now the Messiah stood before him, having openly taught in public, yet he was not recognized (1:11). Clouded by the cataracts of religious minutiae (28), they could not see the obvious and condemned the One they should have welcomed.
The Roman governor (28-40), Pilate, had a different agenda. Representing the world’s most powerful government, he could not let any sedition undermine it. The Jews had a reputation for being troublesome, especially at Passover time, so he was on his guard. Their leaders alleged that Jesus had claimed to be a king, but the simple Galilean who stood before him, weary and alone, didn’t look like one. Pilate struggles to square their allegations with the man he encounters. Is he really a king? Does he have any power? What is this claim to speak truth in a world where Rome decided what was truth? Their conversation proved a classic in non-communication, as Jesus and Pilate functioned on different planes over questions of power and truth. If only Pilate had known who really was on trial!
How accurate is your picture of Jesus? Is it obscured by myth and supposition? Read his story again with unclouded eyes.
Lord, I need to be like Jesus (1 Pet. 2:21). I pray for the courage, focus, and authority of Jesus. May the Holy Spirit make me more like him.