Daily D – John 19:11
“You would have no authority over me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” JOHN 19:11 (CSB)
Pilate was the governor, the supreme authority figure of Rome in Israel. When Jesus was thrown in front of him by the Jewish leaders, he treated Jesus like a criminal and had him flogged. You know how brutal that alone was. You know people bore those scars and that emotional disturbance for the rest of their lives, if they survived.
Pilate thought that was enough. The Jewish leaders did not. They wanted him dead. Not merely dead, but a humiliating, excruciating death. That word excruciating draws its meaning from death on a cross.
The Jewish leaders made their accusations against Jesus and their demands to Pilate. Seeing that he was caught between a rock and a hard place, he began questioning Jesus more thoroughly than he had before. Maybe it was because the Jewish leaders said, “he made himself the Son of God,” (verse 7).
Pilate asked, “Where are you from?” No answer. “Pilate said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you know that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?’” (Verses 9 and 10)
Pilate was the governor, the supreme authority figure of Rome in Israel. However, this was no plum position. It was not the kind of position one was assigned who was honored by Caesar. This was the kind of post where so-so performers were placed. This was a dead-end.
Neither Pilate nor Caesar had supreme authority. Such authority resided not in Rome but in Jesus. Jesus replied to Pilate, “You would have no authority over me at all if it hadn’t been given you from above.” A little over a month later Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,” (Matthew 28:18).
In these days of government turmoil and turnover, let us remember who has all authority. Let us acknowledge who is supreme over all things. Let us recall that there is a day coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10, 11).
The supreme leaders in China and North Korea will bow. Putin in Russia will bow. The President of the United States will bow. All government authority is delegated authority. Those who administer that delegated authority are accountable to God for how they handle it. It is good for presidents and popes and potentates to remember this and to serve accordingly. It is good for us to remember as well.
All authority exists under authority. All authority is responsible and accountable. All authority should be administered faithfully by servant leaders who understand that ultimately they are not in charge here no matter the pomp and circumstance.
President Washington kneeled. President Lincoln bowed. Our nation and our nation’s leaders stand tallest in such postures.
I will pray for servant leaders who know how to kneel in submission and know how to bow in prayer.
Our Father, bless this nation and this world with servant leaders who freely kneel in submission to your ultimate authority. Bless this nation and this world with servant leaders who bow in prayer to you seeking your wisdom and guidance. Deliver us from self-centered and party-centered leaders who seek to rule with iron rods and fists of mail. Deliver us from arrogant and manipulative leaders who seek their own good above all. Thank you that your rule and reign endure forever with firm love, robust instruction, and necessary reorientation. Amen.
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Jeremiah 18:1-4 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Philippians 1:4-6 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 17:7, 8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)