“Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.'” John 19:11
For this week, I decided to break up chapter 19 because I gained an understanding of this passage in John that I hadn’t had before. I was reading commentaries and found the perspective of Pilate to be quite interesting.
To start off, the very first verse gives us a background of what Jesus endured during this arrest. When it states that “Pilate scourged Him”, it is referring to a beating that the Roman Officers would administer to a prisoner to force a confession of his wrongdoings. They would use a whip that had shards of glass and led at the end and whip the bare back of the prisoner 39 times. Each time, the officer would whip harder than the last if the prisoner wasn’t confessing the crimes. But if the prisoner confessed his crimes, then each whip would be less and less severe.
Now, knowing Jesus as the sinless man, we know that there was not one crime He committed. You can imagine the pain and agony from this whipping that Jesus went through all without saying a word. Pilate witnessed this beating and had witnessed many prisoner beatings in the past that even resulted in death from blood loss and pain. But not Jesus. As they twisted the crown of thorns into His head and clothed Him for mockery, Pilate still found no fault in Him. He knew deep down that Jesus was no ordinary man.
So, Pilate is left with a hard decision. Go with the screaming crowd, or do what is right and release Jesus. He was so scared of what the “world” was going to do to him: Ruin his reputation. Cause an uproar or maybe revolt. Lose his political status. He couldn’t sacrifice losing something he worked his whole life to gain, could he? Well according to Jesus, Pilate had no power over what God had already preordained to take place. (verse 11) But what Pilate did have power over was his own destiny. Because he made this decision, he determined his destiny; he chose the wrong path. He chose to stand with the world than to stand with Jesus.
We often will come across many life decisions- some big, some small. It is believed that the average person makes 35,000 decisions per day. That’s 35,000 times we have access to the Holy Spirit for discernment. Yes, some may be not as life threatening or spiritually “demanding” per say, but know this: God cares about us, even in the little things. And some of the answers to these decisions are more obvious than others, but overall, we know deep down what is right and wrong. With Jesus, we have a choice to look “wrong” in the face and say, “you have no power over me”; or we can deny the Holy Spirit and live in our cage of sin. Live in the prison of our own bad choices.
I know I shouldn’t snap at my husband. I know I shouldn’t hold onto my resentment and look to hurt back. I know I shouldn’t gossip and label it as prayer requests. I know I shouldn’t let my mind wander too far into the future and steal my peace. I know those things are not pleasing to my Savior.
Every day I can choose to listen to the Holy Spirit and find grace waiting for me because those sins hold no power over me. The blood of Jesus and His act sealed that for me. Grace doesn’t just come when we need forgiveness; grace is sufficient and can strengthen us in areas we are the weakest. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
What choices do you face on a daily basis? Are you accessing all the grace you need?