Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 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 19:8-11)
The Mistaken Power Of Men
Political rulers possess the misgiving notion they are all-powerful holding sway over the masses because of their position of authority. Kings rule from thrones of dominion over vast parcels of land with authoritative dominance declaring their wills upon the subjects of their tyranny. Political leaders strain their positions of the grandeur of self-worth seeking to secure their names on the pages of history with memorials, great feats and historical significance. The struggle of men to attain self-importance in the political world drives the fury of many who desire the mantel of power to rule over the land with might, authority and cruelty. Pontius Pilate was no exception to the many rulers of the Roman Empire who reveled in his political power to exercise control over the people. Pilate was the sixth Roman procurator of Judea and he slaughtered many of the Jews. He constantly was in trouble with the people of Judea with his brazen acts of suppression, insult and murder. His greatest challenge would come when the Jewish leaders brought him a man from Nazareth accused of sedition. At first, Pilate told the Jews to take Jesus away and judge Him according to their law. They insisted on the judgment of the Romans to put their fellow countryman to death. Pilate questions Jesus and finds no satisfactory answers. Believing that Jesus was innocent, Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him and sought to release his victim to the crowd. Hearing the accusation of the Jews that Jesus had made Himself the Son of God, Pilate became afraid and asked Jesus where He was from. Jesus refused to answer. Angered and frustrated, Pilate demanded Jesus to answer him. The Lord remained silent. Pilate declared that he alone had the authority to crucify Jesus or to release him and demanded Jesus to answer him. The Son of God weakened from the scourging, peered into the face of Pilate and uttered the words of eternal truth when He told the Roman ruler that he had no power but what was granted to Him by God.
Pilate had ruled over Judea with the might of his own power but he was unable to move the spirit of this one man who stood before him. Jesus was not defiant as a rebellious man but in His own way, spoke with such authority it terrified Pilate. From then on Pilate sought to release Jesus but the political sway of the crowd would lead Pilate to have Jesus crucified on a Roman cross. Jesus died in nobility as a man without sin and bringing peace to the world. Years later, Pilate would commit suicide and bring no joy to the world in his death and little remembrance. The powerful procurator of Judea ruled for a time but then he died in disgrace. All of the power he possessed went to another and after many more generations, the Roman Empire disappeared from the face of the earth. The kingdom of Pilate imploded in self-destruction forgotten in the years of history but the legacy of Jesus Christ endures unabated for two thousand years.
The irony of the picture of Jesus standing before Pilate with the Roman telling the Son of God that he had the power to crucify or to release Him will be duplicated in the Day of Judgment when the Roman ruler stands before the Judge of all men and hears the words, “Depart from me, you cursed.” It is then Pilate realizes the accusation of the Jews that Jesus was the Son of God were, in fact, true and now whatever power he possessed as a Roman will not save him from the wrath of the Father of the man he condemned to die. His power was an insignificant component in comparison to the wheel of eternal justice. Jesus had to die and the cowardice of Pilate fulfilled the will of God. The only reason Jesus was scourged and crucified is that it was the plan of God. Pilate had no power and no authority except what was given to him by God. This remains true in all nations that rule today. Kingdoms rise and fall at the will of God. Presidents are elected and removed in accordance with the wisdom of the Father. All kingdoms rule to the discretion of the will of the Creator. Pilate believed he had all power but what a sad irony to see that like all men, he stood before the great I AM and thought he was in charge. In the end, the Roman procurator of Judea was nothing more than a man in need of salvation like all other men.