Lesson 107

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

Today's Scripture

19:8 When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid. 19:9 He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. 19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power to release you, and have power to crucify you?"

19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin."

19:12 At this, Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!"

19:13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called "The Pavement," but in Hebrew, "Gabbatha." 19:14 Now it was the Preparation of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"

19:15 They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!"

Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?"

The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"

 Today's Lesson 

When Pilate heard that Jesus had called Himself the Son of God, he became alarmed. This man did not appear to be insane or a schemer bent on deception. Jesus had neither begged for mercy nor shown fear of him. So he returns to Jesus and asks Him, "Where are you from?" At first Jesus does not respond to him and so Pilate threatens Him. "Don't you know that I have power to release you, and have power to crucify you?"


Jesus answered him saying, "You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin." Jesus realizes that Pilate is not really in control. There are greater powers at work here than Roman and Jew. Spiritual forces are at work. The ultimate authority in all things is God's will. Though Satan was attempting to thwart Him even now, God's will would turn even this atrocity into a sacred act.


But Pilate is not absolved of sin in this situation. Though the greater sin lay on those who had delivered Jesus to him, Caiaphas or Satan in whichever way you might interpret this, their sin was only greater than Pilate's in magnitude. Several times Pilate has proclaimed, "I find no charge against him," and still he allows Jesus to be crucified. A lesser sin, but still sin.


At hearing this, Pilate seeks half-heartedly to release Jesus but the Jewish leaders would have none of it. They threaten Pilate with treason to Caesar. They claim that if Pilate lets Jesus go he is no friend of Caesar.


So Pilate steels himself and brings Jesus before the seat of judgment at the noon hour. He presents Jesus to the crowd with the proclamation, "Behold, your King!" As the crowd calls for Jesus to be crucified, Pilate asks them, "Shall I crucify your King?" And the chief priest of the Jewish people answer, "We have no king but Caesar!"


In those words are the most shocking betrayal. "We have no king but Caesar!" For the chief priest of Israel to acknowledge any king but God Most High was the height of blaspheme and betrayal. How smug Pilate must have felt to use this situation to draw out such a statement. For years these stiff-necked people had refused to bow before Caesar. And now because of their hatred for this man, they would acknowledge Caesar as king.


Here is the bitter irony when men pursue their passions beyond their beliefs. The leaders sought to crucify Jesus for blaspheme and yet they were willing to bow before a gentile ruler instead of their own God. They were handing over the Chosen One of God to be executed. We must watch closely what we presume to know. We must carefully examine even our most valid assumptions to be sure that it is God that guides our steps. The very moment that we believe we know the path and run ahead might be the very moment God is calling us to move in another direction. Following Christ means always being dependent on His leadership.


Are you listening for God's direction? Or, are there times when you're sure you already know what He wants?


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