About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Standing Strong In The Face Of Adversity


Pilate was governor of Judea, a difficult Roman province to rule.  He being afraid (John 19:8) and I believe frustrated, scolded Jesus for His refusal to speak.  "Do you refuse to speak to me?  Don't you realize that I have power to either free you or crucify you" (John 19:10 NIV)?


Pilate found himself in an awkward place as he questioned Jesus.  I think he was in what I call a "triangular trap."  In one corner of the trap was Jesus, full of the Spirit, who he believed was innocent.  In another corner just outside of his window was a Jewish mob on the verge of exploding.  In the third corner was Rome with countless others lurking around, just ready to take his job.  One misstep could end Pilate's career.         


I love how Jesus responded in the face of adversity.  Pilate had the human authority to free Jesus or to execute Him, but that didn't faze Jesus.  He was secure in Himself, His Father's will, His mission, and the prophetic Word that predicted this situation.    


Jesus was no wimp.  If He wanted to be silent before the highest authority in the province He would be silent.  If He wanted to speak He would speak.  This interrogation was taking place on His terms, not Pilate's terms.  Yes, He was polite and respectful, but He was also confident.  He wasn't going to cave into the fear of this moment. 


In what I think was a calm, 

respectful, and confident fashion, Jesus answered Pilate by saying, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above" (John 19:11).  Jesus respectfully, but emphatically, told Pilate that he was not the one in control of this situation.  Pilate was subject to a higher authority, and it certainly wasn't Rome.     


Knowing He was about to be killed, how could Jesus stand so strong in the face of such adversity? Well, in His humanity He did struggle as seen while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, but once He reaffirmed His submission to God's will, the struggle ended.  He knew the adversity was God's will.  He knew the prophetic Word.  "It was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer" (Isaiah 53:10).  He knew that God alone installs and uninstalls politicians like Pilate (Daniel 2:21).  Like every other politician in history, Pilate was a tool in the hand of God.  Then of course, Jesus drew strength from His Father which enabled Him to stand strong in the face of adversity.    


There is more to learn from this situation than I can address in one short article, but here are a  couple of points to consider.  As our culture becomes more anti-Christ in nature, adversity will come our way.  Jesus told His eleven apostles that they would be hated by the anti-Christ culture in which they lived (John 15:19).  The same is beginning to apply to us today, but in the midst of the adversity we will work our way through the struggle.  We will submit to God's will.  We will embrace our mission.  We will implement the Word of God into our lives.  We will be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive the strength we need.  We will not cave into fear, and overwhelming anxiety.  We may have our moments of struggle, but we will stand strong in the face of adversity. 


Adversity from our anti-Christ culture will intensify.  There's no doubt about that.  Nevertheless, adversity comes our way from all directions and sources, in one way, shape, or form.  We can't escape it, but, if we trust our lives with Jesus, His gracious hand is upon us.  We can stand strong in the face of adversity, and there's also no doubt about that.   


Post Script

Although we don't know for sure, Pilate's wife's disturbing dream about Jesus' innocence (Matthew 27:19) might have also caused Pilate to fear.  


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