Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sentenced

Sentenced
April 11, 2011
John 19:11 "Jesus answered, 'You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above . . .'"

Before Jesus was sentenced to die on the cross, He was taken before Pilate. Pilate had the power to choose the fate of Jesus. Well, sort of. Pilate was the governor at the time who had been given authority to make decisions, final decisions. When Jesus was handed over to be crucified, He ended up before Pilate to receive the final decision regarding His death. Would Pilate sentence Jesus to be crucified or set Him free? When Jesus was standing in front of Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus to speak, but He refused. Pilate said, "'Do you refuse to speak to me; don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?'" It was right for Pilate to think that way; it certainly appeared in his job description that he had the power to pronounce a final sentencing upon someone. But listen to the words of Jesus in response to Pilate's power: "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above."

Despite Jesus' recognition of where Pilate's power came from, Pilate was still the one who sentenced Jesus to die. Jesus knew it had to happen. Jesus knew He would be sentenced to death, with or without Pilate. Pilate was just a tool used in God's grand scheme of things for mankind. Though the sentencing of Jesus seemed a shock to everyone at the time, it was all part of a bigger plan. The sentencing did not come as a surprise to Jesus; He knew it was His purpose to die on the cross. Jesus possessed foreknowledge, something you and I lack. We do not have the ability to understand or know the future. We really have no idea what is going on, despite thinking we have a clue. This causes great frustration in our lives when we are delivered a "sentence" that feels unjust. Many people experience rotten things in life that seem like a final sentence. You may be experiencing one right now. Maybe you've received terrible news from a doctor's report. Maybe you've received final notice from a bank or an employer. Maybe you've been stuck in a horrible situation that seems like a death sentence handed down from Pilate. It may seem like a shock to you, trying to understand WHY, but what you are going through is not a surprise to God.

Only God knows what "sentencing" we might receive in our lifetimes. Only God knows what is really going on in our lives, as we live out our situations that feel like final sentencing. But the words of Jesus should comfort us whenever we go through these times. Remember what Jesus said to Pilate: "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." Jesus spoke directly to His life sentence, recognizing it was part of God's bigger plan. While I will not pretend to know what is going on in your life, there just might be a bigger plan than you realize as you look your sentencing in the face. God might actually have a clue as to what is going on, and it is no surprise to Him.

So, at the risk of sounding silly, I'd like you to take a moment and speak to your sentencing. Think of that situation right now that feels like a life sentence, the one you'd LOVE to never see again. Speak to it and say the words aloud, as Jesus spoke them: "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." This is now your opportunity to embrace what God is allowing you to experience and know that God can and will use it for His glory, for His master plan in the grand scheme of things. This doesn't mean what you are going through will be easy; it just means your perspective on it should change. Your situation has NO power over you, only God has that authority.

1. What is going on that seems like a final sentence?
2. How can a different perspective change how you experience life's situations?
3. How can you speak to your situations each day like Jesus did?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: John 7:28, John 19, Romans 13:1, Heb 13:17

1 comment:

Grace said...

Then why did Jesus say that `Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.` (John 19:11)