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Frightened or Fearless? - John 19:8-9
When Pilate heard this, he was more afraid. Pilate went back inside the palace. He asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus did not answer him. (ERV) Full Text
Pilate is trying to find a way out of dealing with Jesus. He knows Jesus is innocent, but can't appease the crowd. What if Jesus is who he says he is? How can he convict an innocent man? How can he keep his constituents happy? Who is this Jesus and where is he from? Pilate loses his integrity unless he releases Jesus. He can't release Jesus without infuriating the crowd. Jesus will not answer him. Jesus refuses to be a pawn in Pilate's political game. He will follow the will of his Father and no one will deter his commitment to righteousness. Facing a choice about Jesus' identity, Pilate the ruler shows fear, gives up his integrity, and becomes a prisoner to the fickle will of the mob. In the face of death, Jesus shows courage, displays integrity, and demonstrates the freedom to be who he is truly committed to be no matter the will of the crowd. The stark differences in their choices and character remind us of the importance of the choices we make about Jesus and the will of God.
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Today's Verses in Context
Then Pilate ordered that Jesus be taken away and be whipped. The soldiers used some thorny branches to make a crown. They put this crown of thorns on Jesus' head. Then the soldiers put a purple robe around Jesus. The soldiers came to Jesus many times and said, "Hello, O king of the Jews!" They hit Jesus in the face. Again Pilate came out and said to the Jewish leaders, "Look! I am bringing Jesus out to you. I want you to know that I find nothing I can charge against him." Then Jesus came out. He was wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is the man!" When the leading priests and the Jewish guards saw Jesus they yelled, "Kill him on a cross! Kill him on a cross!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and nail him to a cross yourselves. I find nothing I can charge against him." The Jewish leaders answered, "We have a law that says he must die, because he said that he is the Son of God." When Pilate heard this, he was more afraid. Pilate went back inside the palace. He asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus did not answer him. Pilate said, "You refuse to speak to me? Remember, I have the power to make you free. I also have the power to kill you on a cross." Jesus answered, "The only power you have over me is the power given to you by God. So the man who gave me to you is guilty of a greater sin." After this, Pilate tried to let Jesus go free. But the Jewish leaders yelled, "Any person who makes himself a king is against Caesar. So if you let this man (Jesus) go free, that means you are not Caesar's friend." Pilate heard what these Jews said. So he brought Jesus out to the place called "The Stone Pavement." (In the Jewish language the name is "Gabbatha.") Pilate sat down on the judge's seat there. It was now almost noon on Preparation day of Passover week. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your king!" They yelled, "Take him away! Take him away! Kill him on a cross!" Pilate asked them, "Do you want me to kill your king on across?" The leading priests answered, "The only king we have is Caesar !"
John 19:1-15 (ERV)
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