John 19.9-11 cont.
9 And he entered into the praetorium again and said (says) to Jesus: “Where do you come from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer.
10 Pilate said (says) to Him: “Are You not speaking to me? Don’t You know that I have authority to release You and I have authority to crucify You?”
11 Jesus replied: “You would have no authority over Me except it was given to you from above, because of this the one delivering Me to you has a greater sin.”
3 The source of authority. Pilate knew that in him was invested Roman authority. Judea was a subjugated land, and its’ people were under the rule of the Roman Empire. Pilate had been appointed as the Governor of Judea, and he operated in the delegated authority of the Roman Empire. Therefore, as far as Pilate was concerned he was the one who had the Roman authority to govern Judea with all the backing of the powerful Roman Empire.
Therefore, the words of Jesus in verse eleven must have sounded presumptuous at the least to Pilate. Jesus was challenging the authority and power of the greatest Empire the world had ever known. However, Jesus was not saying that Pilate did not have any authority, but that what authority he had did not come from Rome, but that it came from above.
Earlier Jesus had said that His Kingdom was not of this world, inferring that His Kingdom is from above. Once again Jesus points Pilate to a new understanding of where his authority comes from, and it is from above.
Perhaps there were implications that Pilate could see:
a Jesus had said that His Kingdom was not of this world – implying that it was from above;
b Any authority that Pilate or Rome had was from above;
c The implication of this was that Jesus was saying Pilate’s authority came from Jesus.
This statement of Jesus must have seemed both strange and dangerous as it questioned the Imperial power of Rome.
However, we must see the truth of the statement that power and authority ultimately comes from above. It comes from the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
After His resurrection Jesus made this statement:
“I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth” – Matthew 28.18 (NLT).
This means that all human authority and power is delegated by Jesus. This may seem uncomfortable for us, since many human authorities abuse it and misuse it. There have been and are many human governments that have carried out barbaric atrocities on people.
This is an abusing of the delegated authority of Jesus in the responsibility of individual governments.
Governments of all persuasions are all sinful, like all of us. Therefore, they are all in need of the salvation that Jesus brings to us.
God’s word encourages us with these words:
1) Firstly, because of this, I encourage you to make requests, prayers, intercession (intervention) and thanksgiving on behalf of all men.
2) Also for kings and all of those in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life, in all piety (godliness) and honesty – 1 Timothy 2.1-2.