This is the sermon for Wednesday, April 14th, 2010.

John part 82

Who is in charge here?

John 19:9-16.

John 19:9-16 HCSB – 9 He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?” 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.” 12 From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” 13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s bench in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Hebrew Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!” 15 But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered. 16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified.

INTRODUCTION

Last time we saw that Pilate had Jesus flogged, possibly to appease the crowd, and the soldiers mocking Jesus as well.  We also saw that Pilate declared that Jesus was innocent of all the charges brought against Him.  The Jews in response to all that is going on shout, “Crucify!”  They want to be done with Jesus – to silence Him through death; not realizing that they are fulfilling the Father’s plan for Jesus.

Now before we go unpacking our text, have you ever been to a place of business where someone had the title of being in charge, all the while there was really someone else who ran the show?

Well that is the way it is in our text.  Pilate has the earthly authorization of being in charge, but in reality, He is not.  The ultimate authority over this event is God Almighty.

Let’s begin unpacking the text this evening.

Pilate and a question of authority.

John 19:9-11 HCSB – 9 He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?” 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.”

Pilate goes back into the headquarters to question Jesus because he is fearful.  Why is he fearful?  Well looks look at Chapter 19:7-8.

John 19:7-8 HCSB – 7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever.

I personally believe it was a fear of the possibility of sentencing and killing a god that Pilate was fearful of.  John Calvin states, “Pilate was perplexed and worried, because he was afraid that he would be punished for sacrilege if he laid his hand on the Son of God.”

Whatever caused fear to rise in Pilate, it was enough that he goes back and has a private conversation with Jesus.

He first asks, “Where are you from?” Calvin states, “He is not asking which country Jesus is from, but ‘Are you a man who was born on earth, or are you some god?’”  I personally agree with that interpretation.

Jesus gave Pilate no answer, thus fulfilling Isaiah 53:7.

Isaiah 53:7 HCSB – 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.

Notice Pilate’s response to Jesus not answering him, “You’re not talking to me?  Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?” This statement could have been an attempt by Pilate to intimidate an answer from Jesus, trying to show Jesus that His life was dependent on him.

But Jesus knows who exactly is in control, “You would have not authority over me at all if it hadn’t been given you from above.” God is the one who is in control; not Pilate.

The next statement is a difficult one to interpret, “The one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” “One” is a singular individual.  It is possibly Caiaphas most commentators feel.  Why is his sin greater?  Because he should have known better.  Also, there is a Hebraic idiom in Jesus statement here.  “Has the greater sin,” is an idiom that refers to a greater guilt caused by sin.  So Caiaphas’ sin in greater in the since that his guilt in bringing Jesus to Pilate is greater; for Pilate is a Gentile setting in judgment over a Jew.

Pilate wants to release Jesus while the Jewish leaders want Him dead.

John 19:12 HCSB – From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”

“Made ever effort” in Greek is IMPERFECT TENSE; which means Pilate tried to release Jesus several times.

The Jews now try to manipulate Pilate, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend.  Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” According to the Reformation Study Bible, “Caesar’s friend was a recognized title for political supporters of the emperor.”  So this statement by the Jewish leadership was a veiled threat to turn Pilate in to his superiors.

Pilate pronounces sentence.

John 19:13-16 HCSB – 13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s bench in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Hebrew Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!” 15 But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered. 16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified.

Verse 13: Pilate sets on the judgment bench.  This means he now will make the final decision to either release Jesus or crucify Him.

Verse 14: Pilate says, “here is your king!” Pilate may be fed up at this point.  The Life Application Commentary of John says of this verse, “It is as if he were saying, ‘you are a pitiful bunch, and this really is your pitiful king!’”

Verse 15: The Chief Priests answer, “We have no king but Caesar!” To this statement, John Calvin states, “Here is a shocking display, that Christ, in whom salvation of the people completely rested, on whom all the promises depended, and in whom the whole of their religion was founded, by rejecting Christ, they deprived themselves of the grace of God and of every blessing.”  The Jewish leaders by making this statement show just how depraved they really are.  They want as their king a pagan gentile, as opposed to their true Messiah, who came as their own.  All they want from Jesus is Him silenced and His death.

Verse 16: Jesus is taken away for crucifixion.

CONCLUSION

Is their anything that we can learn from tonight’s teaching?

Life lessons

  • Jesus understands rejection because He experienced it Himself.
  • Jesus knew His life was in greater hands than mere men; His life was in God’s hands.
  • Likewise, we will experience heartache and rejection, but take heart; God is in control.  Our lives are in His hands.
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