“You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11)
So said Jesus at his trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. There was an element of power play at the time of the Cross.
1. Raw power. In an attempt to win their way, the enemies of Jesus had relied on bribes, lies, and secrecy; on torches and lanterns, blood, fists, sticks and nails. Was that ever the way to win? Such tactics might obtain a short-term result –but history demonstrates that tactics of force are ultimately an admission that the argument has been lost.
2. Vested power. Ultimately it was the religious interests that felt most threatened by Christ. In the clamour for His blood, it was the most revered and supposed upright leaders of society who – for all their God-talk – took the lead in shouting that Jesus be crucified, and then jeering in His face as he died before their eyes.
3. Token power. Christ’s enemies knew how to manipulate the weakness of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, to their own ends. He was desperate to keep his job – and finally he caved in, handing Jesus over to be executed. He had no true power at all – as Jesus had pointed out. He was finally summoned in AD 37 for trial in Rome. Greek historians wrote that he was eventually forced to commit suicide.
4. Silent power. It wasn’t Pilate, but the silent Jesus who, in reality, occupied the Judge’s seat throughout the proceedings. He had the control.
And – as resurrected and ascended King at the right hand of power on high - He still rules, until the end of time.