Today’s Scripture: John 19:12-16
12 From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
We are coming to the end of our walk through the Gospel of John. Here in chapter 19 we see Jesus before Pilate, the Roman Governor. The Jews seem desperate to execute Jesus. In their eyes he has violated Jewish law and blasphemed against God. They want him killed. But they cannot execute without Roman permission. But it’s clear from the first verse that Pilate does not see the need to execute Jesus and keeps trying to release him.
The Jews try another tactic. “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor.” That would be a serious accusation that could get Pilate in a lot of trouble. So he brings out Jesus and asks “Shall I crucify your King?”
This is where things get interesting. The Jews respond, “We have no king but the emperor.” Think about that. They are so desperate for the power to kill Jesus that they sell out their own beliefs. They are basically pledging allegiance to Caesar to get power. They put their trust in the state instead of God to get their own way. “We have no king but the emperor.”
I wonder what things we put our trust in to get our own way? I wonder what power we trust instead of trusting in the power of God? I wonder what authority we listen to that pulls us away from the one authority we SHOULD be listening to? How would we fill in the blank “We have no king but _____________?”
It’s an easy thing to start trusting people, processes, political parties, you name it, instead of trusting God. We may not start out wanting to do so – but our goals and desires sometimes lead us to short-circuit God’s authority. We go with the powerful thing in front of us that can get us to our destination. But when we do that, we close ourselves off to what God can do and buy into a false power that ultimately leads us away from truth and away from God.
God forgive us when we place our hope and trust in something other than you. Give us the strength to rest easy in your authority and your power and your love of us.