“You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” John 19:11 (NIV)
Jesus was on trial for His life. Pilate, the judge, had asked Jesus where He was from. Jesus did not answer him. Pilate was afraid of this prisoner and very upset at the dilemma he was in. The crowd outside clamoured for Jesus’ death but Pilate knew Jesus was not guilty of a serious crime.
Pilate’s sense of justice was in a battle with his sense of expediency in the matter. He desperately wished to release the prisoner but also wished to appease the crowd outside who cried for the man’s blood.
When he asked Jesus where He was from Jesus did not answer. Perhaps He was finished with this unjust court that had five times declared Him not guilty but would not release Him. We do not know. However Jesus’ refusal to speak upset the already distressed Pilate. So Pilate said in frustration, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you know I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” John 19:10 (NIV)
So Pilate tried to get the prisoner to talk by reminding Him of who was in charge. It is clear to discerning readers that Pilate was extremely upset and the writer indicates Pilate’s fear in John 19:8.
The comeback comment by Jesus was loaded with fear producing warning. First Jesus said the words in our verse for today. Jesus reminded Pilate that his power was assigned to him. This meant that Pilate would answer for how he used or abused his power in the situation.
Then Jesus made a comment on the sin that was committed in His arrest and trial. He said to Pilate, “…the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” John 19:11 (NIV). So Jesus said in effect that Pilate was a great sinner but there was one worse than he. Pilate was confronted with what he likely knew on some level. Pilate understood that he was committing an injustice to say repeatedly the innocence of the prisoner but not releasing Him immediately.
It is possible that one of my readers has been falsely accused, your reputation has been dragged through the mud. You cannot clear your name of the charges. Any effort by you to sort the problem out would be useless.
Take comfort in what our biblical scene teaches us. God makes everyone answer for how they have used their power and opportunities. Jesus suffered the most terrible injustices possible and thus knows the frustration of someone who suffers without cause.
The statement by Jesus assures us that those who do evil will be called to account some day.
Meanwhile you can come to Jesus and pour out your sorrow and frustration at suffering because of the sins of others. Jesus has been there and done that. He can sympathise with you as no other can. Jesus will help you through the problem and some day it will be fully resolved.
Never lose sight of the fact God is in control of His world and shall one day make everything right. He will call evil doers to account for their sin. Trust Him today for all your tomorrows.