1998-04-09 - Authority and Meekness
The Cross Series, Part 34
John 19:10-11 Pilate therefore said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" 11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin."
Matthew tells us that even Pilate's wife warned him of a troubling dream she had suffered regarding "that righteous Man". Pilate wanted to free Jesus as badly as his wife wanted him to do so. Matthew also tells us that Pilate knew the Council had delivered Jesus up on charges because of envy.
These were men of great authority in the government of Israel. They were more politicians than priests. The Sadducees did not even believe in the spiritual realm or the resurrection. The Council has sadly allowed their personal desire to remain in political position to drive them to murder this man they see as a threat to that position. They do not dispute that Lazarus or Jarius' daughter were raised from the dead, or that many people were healed of diseases of varying severity. The law made provision to have a leaper declared clean again. Until Jesus healed the leaper who dared in faith to ask Jesus to be healed, those instructions had lain idle with no prospect of ever being dusted off. Jesus had demonstrated authority over disease, demons and death itself. The twelve disciples had certainly yielded authority to Him as well as the people who followed Jesus.
Pilate is the authority of Rome in Palestine. He is used to having things go the way he wants them to go. And yet, he gets no help from Jesus in what should be a simple matter. In frustration, Pilate parades his authority and the threat of crucifixion in front of Jesus to try to get the Lord to answer his questions. Jesus tells Pilate that the authority he has over Jesus is only there because God has ordained it, for just this moment. What must Pilate have been thinking? His mind must have been reeling.
Here is the ultimate example of meekness. Jesus, being God in the flesh, has absolute authority right down to the will He extends to hold the atoms and quarks of creation together. In a moment when it would be to His benefit to exercise that ultimate authority, He declines to do so. We see absolute power under complete control. Meekness is not being a door mat, but the ability to maintain control over our resources: authority, strength. Jesus keeps His eyes fixed on the goal and prize: the salvation of the human race.
Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The joy set before Jesus was you and me, our redemption and salvation. Jesus restrains His power and authority to maintain the plan that had been set down in eternity past to redeem fallen mankind. Jesus had to go to the cross, and He had to die in our place. But to do so meant He had to stay His authority. The fact that He was innocent of the charges was of no consequence to Jesus. He would allow the abuse of authority by the Council to take its course, orchestrated to complete the plan of salvation.
Lord Jesus, help us see the goals - the joys You have set before us. Give us the courage to exercise meekness when it is helpful to reach one of these goals You have for us. Amen
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.