Summary: how Jesus where real power comes from and what it does
The Revelation of Power
John 19: Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” 7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
How do you measure strength? Water has been tested and designated to a specific boiling point and freezing point. Metals also have a specific weight that they can support. But when it comes to measuring the strength of a man, it isn’t quite so easy. Back in the 70’s they used to have some really goofy contests to determine who was the strongest man in the world. Some men would have to take a huge tractor tire and flip it upside down across a finish line. In another contest the contestants would have to lift a car and move it a certain number of feet. These didn’t seem like very accurate tests to me to find out who was the most powerful.
Several years ago I attended a wrestling contest. One young man was very strong looking, where the other boy didn’t look as refined. So I figured the sculpted young man would win. But I was surprised to see the other young man take the muscular man to town. Strength isn’t always measured in the amount of muscle. When you look at this story from the Bible for today, it would appear that Jesus was the weaker of the two - getting whipped and beat up by Pilate’s guards and the Jews and finally crucified. However, in the midst of this beating, Jesus gets us to reevaluate our common views of what power really is. So tonight we’ll see -
The Revelation of Power
I. Where it comes from
When Mayor Giuliani had to deal with the attacks on the Twin Towers during the past year, many people were impressed with the composure that he had during the whole traumatic event. They wondered, “where does he get the strength to deal with it?” The same was asked of the victims and their spouses and children - “where do you get the strength?” Sometimes people gain strength from trials and experiences in life. Sometimes it comes naturally. Sometimes people have to work at it. Sometimes they inherit it.