John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
This verse contains an extremely important point to remember when we are suffering from the actions of others. That is, something has caused God to give permission for that to be done, because God is still God. In almost every case that something is sin, either our own or others’. In Jesus’ case it was the sin of all mankind, because He had no sin of His own. God has made it clear to me personally that He isn’t happy about a lot that goes on, but He still allows it for now and uses it for good, sometimes in ways we can’t imagine. (Romans 8:28) When we experience something bad, our first response should be to turn to God, in trust and not in anger. It is wise to ask Him what His purpose is in allowing whatever it is. However, that’s not to be accusing Him of being mean, as it so often is when we cry out, “Why!?” Rather it is to say, “What do You want me to learn? How do You want me to grow? Of what do I need to repent?” Jesus here had nothing of which He needed to repent, but God wanted Him to take all that we deserve on Himself so that we could be forgiven. Pilate didn’t realize that Jesus was doing that for him, too, if he would believe and receive it. Jesus had already demonstrated in the garden of Gethsemane that His trust for the Father was complete, and now He is walking that out in word and deed. It is that trust we need to emulate.
In my 64 years I have seen God turn all sorts of things around for good that certainly didn’t seem good at the time. That has certainly grown my trust level, but it’s still not perfect! I grumble far too often, and such grumbling benefits no one and nothing. At the same time, as a pastor I am constantly dealing with people in all sorts of difficult situations, and I seek to instill in them the trust that has been granted to me. God is totally trustworthy, but we have such trouble accepting that! I am never to make light of anyone’s suffering, but no matter how great the suffering, I am to encourage them to turn their eyes to Jesus, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) That’s what Easter Week is all about, and it is an excellent time to remind ourselves that whatever we’re going through, Jesus went through worse because of His love for us.
Father, thank You not only for the reality of Easter but also for the opportunity to focus on it and what it means. Help me make full use of this opportunity, communicating the wonderful news of Your grace, power and love to all who will receive it, so that we may walk in all that You intend and You may receive all the praise and glory that You deserve. Thank You. Praise God!