Scripture: John 19:11-16
11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.” 13When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” 15They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” 16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
This station presents us with two kinds of authority. Pilate, like many leaders, has a tough decision to make and he caves to the pressure of others while Jesus submits to the lordship and will of the Father. Throughout the church’s history, Christians have been handed over by and persecuted by governments and other human leaders. But Jesus, while condemned to a death sentence, holds all the real authority on earth and identifies with us in suffering.
Traditionally, we “walk” the stations of the cross. If you’re able, go outside and find a flagpole or a neighbor’s flag, to stop at as you reflect and pray. As you walk there, reflect on the nature of God’s authority and human authority. While people seek a king like “Caesar”, God gives authority to a king like Jesus who willingly sacrifices himself for the very people who persecute Him.
Lord, you were the most innocent victim ever of horrible injustice. You taught truth and love and suffered for it. When I am misunderstood, I have to remember that I’m not the first and I am not alone. Jesus, when things are going wrong even though my intentions are good, help me remember that you, too, suffered. Help me remember that you are always with me.