Given From Above

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The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”  When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 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.”  (John 19:7–11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”  The power given is not from Rome.  It is not from the Sanhedrin.  It is not from the High Priest.  Not even from the crowd that would later yell “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”  The power over Jesus was given by God.  Without it, no one could touch Him.  And since Jesus and the Father are one, the power in essence is coming from Jesus.  He is willingly granting it.  “I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17–18, NIV 1984).  But why?  Because the good work of redemption could not be accomplished in any other way.

So what does this mean to us as followers of Christ?  When we encounter persecution or suffering, we have the tendency to cry out “why me?!”  Rather we should be crying out “why not me?!”  Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33a, NIV 1984).  And why not?  Are we any better than Him?  Certainly not!  But I think, that the power of persecution over us is also granted from above.  Nothing touches us, without the permissive will of the Father.  I am convinced, that when this is the case, it is because something good is being accomplished in us or through us that could not be accomplished in any other way.  Because,  “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  If it could be accomplished in any other way I am convinced that the “cup” would pass from us.

My Advice – Going through a tough patch?  Hang in there.  “Take heart! I [Jesus] have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33b, NIV 1984).  It’s okay to pray “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”  (Matthew 26:39a, NIV 1984).  But also be prepared to pray “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39a, NIV 1984).  Because, if it is possible, the cup will pass.  If there is no other way to accomplish what is necessary and good “do not lose heart. Though outwardly [you may be] wasting away, yet inwardly [you] are being renewed day by day. For [your] light and momentary troubles are achieving for [you] an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix [your] eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18, NIV 1984).  Take heart!  You too are an overcomer.


Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”

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