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 19:10-11)
I Have Power
Pontius Pilate was Judaea’s sixth Roman procurator (governor), appointed in Tiberius Caesar’s 12th year (A.D. 25 or 26). As the procurator, Pilate acted as a collector of revenue and judge in cases arising under it. He also had full military and judicial authority in the region and, like many Roman leaders, carried out his authority ruthlessly. Pilate angered the Jews when he brought the Roman standards with the emperor’s image to Jerusalem. Tiberius made him remove them. In his palace in Jerusalem, Pilate hung gilt shields with the names of idol gods on them. When Pilate took the Corban revenue of the Jews to build an aqueduct, the Jews rioted. Pilate sent in soldiers with concealed daggers, killing many of the rioters. Jesus refers to an incident where Pilate killed many Galileans while they were conducting sacrifices.
The Jewish leadership sought to bring Jesus before the Roman authorities to have Him killed. When Judas agreed to betray Jesus, the Jews found their time. Jesus was arrested and brought before the Jewish Council and then to Pilate. They caused a riot to have Pilate declare Jesus guilty and sentence Him to death. After Pilate had his soldiers scourge Jesus and beat Him, Jesus came out wearing the purple robe the soldiers put on Him along with a crown of thorns so that Pilate could present Jesus to the crowd. Pilate thought that might satisfy the crowd because he had found no fault in Jesus. The governor became upset when the crowd shouted to Pilate that Jesus considered Himself to be the Son of God. He returns to Jesus, asking Him where He was from. Jesus did not answer. This angered Pilate, who screamed at Jesus that he had the power to release Him or kill Him.
Bloodied, beaten, barely able to stand, and weakened by the scourging, Jesus looked into the face of Pilate and told him he had no power but what was given to Him by God. The only reason the Son of God stood before Pilate, nearly beaten to death, was because God allowed this to be done. Jesus knew what He was suffering was the will of His Father. He endured all of the beatings, scourging, and crucifixion because He understood before time began this was His sacrifice. Pilate was nothing more than a pawn in the scheme of God’s redemptive plan to save the world, yet Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, thought he had all the power. He had nothing.
The angels of heaven must look down upon mankind with an eternal sense of dismay. Men will exalt themselves in pride because of the arrogant power they think they possess. Despots have risen over the eons of history, trying to conquer the world and, without exception – failed. The Roman Empire is the greatest manmade dominion to exist on the face of the earth, but it was only a part of the fullness of time to show the greatest power on earth – Jesus Christ. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, the Japanese Empire, Saddam Hussein, and an endless list of leaders tried to rule the world and found the common denominator: death. All men who seek power fail.
God gives power and takes away power. He raises nations and brings them down. If God has a name for every star in the heavens and can hold the universe in the palm of His hand, what is man? Pilate stood before the Son of God, bragging about his power. When Pilate died, he came face to face with the One who had all power. You may not be the leader of a great country but if you think you have the power in your life, talk to Pilate. Refusing God does not make God go away. All men will stand before the only One with all the power and authority. And that person is not you or me.