Wednesday, November 11, 2015

John 19:1-15 comments: no king but Caesar

1 ¶  Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2  And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3  And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4  Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5  Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6  When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7  The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8  When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9  And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10  Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11  Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12  And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. 13  When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14  And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

Scourging was a particularly brutal whipping which tended to tear the flesh off the victim. There is no need to go over the details here as many sermons have been preached on the absolute agony and degradation that Jesus endured. The danger of that is to start to think that the scourging was so brutal it led to His quicker death, as Pilate was amazed Jesus didn’t linger and suffer longer as some did (Mark 15:44). But, Jesus died at the time appointed not because of the whipping but remember that He had the power to lay down His life as He had the power to take it up again.

John 10:18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Pilate then exposes this bloody mess of a man, our Lord, to the crowd and insists again that he finds no fault with Him, saying the great words, “Behold the man!” Perhaps this means that he hoped that the torture would be sufficient to satisfy the bloodlust of the mob. It wasn’t. Pilate even argued when the chief priests screamed to have Jesus crucified. Again, he says that he finds no fault with Christ.

The Jews respond that Christ must die because He declared Himself the Son of God, which is to say, that Jesus had made it clear that He was God in the flesh.

Luke 1:35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

This frightened Pilate who goes back to Jesus and asks Him where He is from. This indicates that Pilate has some stirring of concern about Jesus’ true identity. Perhaps he was becoming convicted as his wife had already told him that she had a nightmare about Jesus in Matthew 27:19. Jesus would not answer him.

An upset Pilate cannot believe that Jesus will not answer him. After all, he says, I have the power to execute you and the power to release you. The word power, in certain contexts, means authority.

Luke 4:36  And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.

Luke 9:1  Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

Luke 20:20  And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.

1Corinthians 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Revelation 13:2  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

This authority is given by commandment, whether it be from God the Father;

John 10:18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

…or, as in the case of Pilate, a human authority, and see in the following the connection between the commandment and the ability to rule over someone or have power…

Esther 9:1  Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)

Jesus then declares to Pilate that Pilate’s power comes from God Himself because without God’s permissive will Pilate would have no power over Him at all. This is something we forget. God’s hand in the leadership of oppressive authority, for a purpose, is something that the modern Christian cannot begin to understand.

When the era, unfortunately called The Enlightenment, came in Western history our way of viewing God changed first until the intellectual elite abandoned the idea of God altogether. Edwin Burtt, in the book The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, published in 1954 (from earlier editions in 1924 and 1932), pointed out that what modern scientific thought did, and I’m paraphrasing from numerous points he made throughout, was to change our idea of God from an active agent in every facet of reality to simply the First Cause. So, we now view God, not as He Himself declared in Job as bringing the prey to the predator, creating dirt clods out of dust, and making events happen in the furthest heavens or rain to fall in places on earth where no man is, but as the Creator who wound up the clock and watches it run.(34)

Face it, you have been brainwashed to view God as an absentee landlord to whom you complain when the plumbing leaks or a big brother you run to when the Devil roughs you up on the playground and not the God who made the plumbing leak and gave the Devil permission to go so far against you and no further. We have reduced God to a simpering, milquetoast who cannot even keep you saved, who has no power to preserve the Bible He wants us to have, and who is facing an almost equal, Satan, in a non-existent war for our souls.

But, the oppressive dictatorship of Rome was, at the very least, allowed by God and such governments will not end until Christ returns. Read Romans 13. On the other hand, government can do something other than for which it was ordained, which, according to Romans 13 is to avenge evildoing, and then it becomes an evildoer itself.

Pilate is about to execute an innocent man because of political realities and God is going to let him do it because it is part of God’s plan. But, Pilate is still guilty.

Matthew 18:7  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Luke 17:1  Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

We are enabled to resist human government when it goes against God, specifically, when we are forbidden to preach Jesus.

Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Jesus does not give Pilate a pass for his cowardly avoidance of justice in wavering about whether or not to free an innocent man but says that the Jews who delivered Him have the greater sin.

Pilate tries again to release Jesus but the Jews accuse him of treason against Caesar. In spite of that, Pilate presents Jesus as the King of the Jews. The crowd, consisting also of the leadership of the Jews, then proclaims that they have no king but Caesar.

Before you gloat over the Jews choosing a human king over God’s authority examine yourself. Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

The Jews had rejected God’s authority over them in favor of a human king previous to this.

1Samuel 8:4 ¶  Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, 5  And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. 7  And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

Matthew added this statement in 27:25  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

And so, it appears from history that they suffered mightily for nearly two thousand years. Paul noted that the Thessalonians suffered from the pagan Greek culture around them as the Jewish churches suffered from the Jews and that God’s wrath came upon them.

1Thessalonians 2:14  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15  Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16  Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Again, before an American Christian gloats over the Jews choice, though, he should examine his own placement of the state, meaning the government, in front of his worship of Christ. For many years of our history our worship of Christ was filtered through our patriotic devotion to the god of the state. Our ancestors and many of us only saw Christ dimly by looking through the flag. For many conservative Christians, at least in regard to unlawful wars and unconstitutional military interventions, though not in regard to helping our own citizens who needed help, the state has had a divine right in place of God to be God’s agent on earth. It was believed and is still believed by many that we send our military, not on a mission to support some ill-conceived foreign policy mandate or some secret, veiled business interest, but almost as a messianic crusade of good (us) versus evil (them). Everything the government does in regard to war is then couched in terms of good and evil and defending our freedom as if some goatherder in a cave in Afghanistan was more of a threat than our own government and if you don’t wholeheartedly support what the government of either party declares is its intention on the surface you are not supporting your sons and daughters in arms that you have gladly delivered into the arms of Molech.

Be aware. God is able to take your nation away from you as He took the Jews’ nation from them. Repent of your worship of the state before it is too late.

(34) Edwin A. Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science (1954, repr., Dover Publications, 2003), Kindle Edition.

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