“But Jesus gave him no answer.”
Jesus is facing the battle of His life. We could even say it was the battle for His life. All the political power of Israel was manipulating the power of Rome, to execute the Son of God. Yet Jesus remained silent. We know He wields the power to overcome these attacks. We read that He calmed the storms, healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead. Yet now, when it seemed to matter the most, He refused to lift a finger or say a word.
Why? What possible benefit could be gained by not using His divine power to overcome this political onslaught? The answer is two-fold. First, it was the plan of God for Christ to go to the cross as a substitute for me and you. He, the innocent, would take the place of us, the guilty, in order to pave the way to heaven. I think there is a second reason. In facing the battle of His life, Jesus is teaching His followers how to fight. Battles for the kingdom of God will not be won with carnal measures. A few years later, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote,
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds . . .” 2 Corinthians 10:4
Jesus knew that His followers would soon, and forever, face the threats of world governments opposed to the kingdom of God. In His silent submission to the will and ways of God, Jesus not only set an example of how to fight, He also showed us what winning really looked like. When that dark Friday came to an end, the tally sheet would seem to declare “World Governments: one, the Kingdom of God: defeated.” But what really happened? In the silent, submission of Jesus, the kingdom of Hell was conquered and the way to heaven paved.
It is not wrong for Christians to use their voices when politics oppose righteousness. It is wrong for us to use the world’s methods, while neglecting the ways of God. In the human mind, going to battle against the forces of unrighteousness with silent, steadfast prayer, is like fighting an armored tank with a slingshot. Let’s keep in mind that the cross looked like a massive defeat, yet turned out to be Heaven’s greatest victory.
In the battles you are facing today, follow the example of Jesus. Surrender to the will and ways of God, then go to your knees and seek God to bring about victory. The same God of great exploits in history, wants to work in and through us today.
Questions for John 19
- Verse 1 is a very short “matter of fact” statement. But the reality is that Roman scourging was a long, brutal, grisly affair. The amazing thing is that the scourging Jesus took was not part of the payment for our sin (He paid for that by His death on the cross). In Isaiah 53:5 we read that His stripes (the bloody wounds of scourging), are for our healing and peace. What areas of your life do you need Jesus to bring healing to? Ask Him to do so, and thank Him that He so bravely took that beating for us.
- Scourging was intended to elicit a confession, and the scourging would stop when the confession came. Yet Jesus had no sin or wrongdoing to confess, and so took the full scourging. Pilate had already interrogated Jesus in chapter 18 and found no fault with Him. What is his conclusion after the scourging (verses 4 and 6)?
- Jesus wears a crown of thorns that the Roman soldiers cruelly put on Him. Read Genesis 3:17-18. Where did thorns come from? Now read Gal 3:13.
- How did Pilate feel when he found out that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God? (verse 8, 12)
- How does Jesus respond to Pilate when he tells Him that he has power to crucify Jesus?
- Read the end of verse 5 and the end of verse 14. What is Pilate telling the crowd to do? Now read Isaiah 45:22 and Hebrews 12:2. What are we to do to be saved and to continue as Christians?
- The author of this Gospel is the apostle John. He often refers to himself in the third person, and does so in verse 26. Read verses 25-27. What is Jesus commissioning John to do in these verses?
- Read verses 28-30. Did Jesus see His earthly mission through to completion?
- Read verses 21-24, 31-36. If Jesus were just a man, and not God, could He have arranged for these things to happen?
- Who are they people who take responsibility for Jesus burial?
- Read Isaiah 53:1-12. Take time to love and thank Jesus for all that He did for us on that day.