This whole chapter is about the crucifixion of Jesus. The mob of Jewish leaders is screaming out for him to be crucified, and Pilate is scared to death to do it. But, he ultimately does, Jesus dies on the cross, and is buried in a nearby tomb. I’ve read this chapter so many times before, but today the Lord really drew me into Pilate’s part of the story, especially the part where Jesus makes it abundantly clear who’s in charge.
Pilate is about to send Jesus to the cross. He’s trying to find a reason not to. He asks Jesus a question, but Jesus doesn’t even respond. Pilate then actually says to Jesus, “Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” At his point, Jesus does respond by simply telling Pilate the only way he has any authority is if the Lord gives it to him.
As I was reading this, I was thinking about how stupid it was for Pilate to think he actually had authority over the Son of God. I mean, it takes guts to be that bold, especially right to Jesus’ face. But then the Lord hit me with some serious truth. I do this exact same thing. All. The. Time. Every time I try to control things myself, every time I try to do things my way instead of his, every time I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit but ignore it, I’m looking Jesus right in the face and saying, “Don’t you know I have authority over you?”
That was hard to hear. But I needed to hear it. Desperately.
It’s just way too easy to slip into a pattern of rejecting Jesus’ authority without even realizing it. I mean, just look at Pilate’s circumstances. He was in a very powerful government position. He was, in fact, the one whose words would dictate whether Jesus was put to death or released. It was him the mob was yelling out to. It was him who commanded the soldiers that had Jesus in their custody. Everything about that situation pointed to the fact that Pilate had full authority over Jesus. Why would he think anything other than that?
But, he had no idea what God was doing behind the scenes. He had no idea that this moment was one of the most important in the epic story of God’s redemption of man. He had no idea that even though he could say the words that would send Jesus to the cross, he could not actually condemn Jesus to death. The resurrection would prove that. He had no idea that he actually had no control at all.
My circumstances can so easily make think I’m in control of my life. I can so easily slip into that destructive pattern of doing things my way and rejecting the authority that Jesus has over me. But, here’s the problem with that. It NEVER goes well for me when I do. I don’t have a clue what I need. I may think I do, but I just screw things up when I leave Jesus out of the equation. Maybe one day I’ll figure this out and stop trying to be in charge.
He is on the throne. I am not.
He is the authority. I am not.
I am not in charge.