Can you trust God in the middle of the nightmare you’re living? It’s a crummy situation, the chips are down and the deck is stacked against you. You’ve got no clue, no hope, no peace. You’re hurt, you’re damaged, you’re kicked to the curb. The light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming straight toward you. But I ask you again: can you trust God in the middle of this nightmare?
Jesus was in a hopeless situation in John 19. He was betrayed by a supposed friend and partner in the ministry. He suffered a fake trial in a kangaroo court of His own people who rejected Him. He was flogged and beaten and mocked and abandoned. Now He stood before Pilate, the Roman governor with all the power. He interrogated Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” That’s a lot of authority and power for one man to have. He holds the power of life and death. Jesus should be afraid.
But Jesus doesn’t cower or back down. He defies Pilate to his face, full throttle and full steam ahead. Why so brave, why so bold? Where does courage come from to face the adversary head-on? Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” In other words, “Is that all you got? Is that the best you got? Power to release me or kill me? So what? You should have brought your ‘A’ game. Last mistake you’ll ever make.” And that’s the key, isn’t it? That’s how you face your troubles and terrible times when you’re kicked in the gut and heaving with mighty sobs of pain and anguish. Come with courage and say, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” Boom!
Jesus recognizes Pilate’s authority but ignores it to focus on a higher authority. Pilate’s authority is small and limited compared to the authority Jesus is referring to. Pilate’s authority is given and comes from somewhere and can stop coming from somewhere as well. Pilate’s authority can be taken away. It has boundaries. It has limits. It won’t last. It can’t hurt Jesus. Jesus knows what Paul will speak of in Romans 13:11, “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Pilate’s authority is small potatoes compared to God above, the ultimate authority, the owner and giver of all authority, the source of authority from above.
Friend, you’re in a tough place. Horrible place. Awful place. I’m sorry. I don’t know why this is happening, I have no explanation for you. But I do offer you hope in Christ. Whatever is happening to you, as hard as it is, it is not the ultimate authority. Your situation has limits and boundaries. Your trouble is not in charge nor in control. It will end. God is at work. You can trust God in this pain because He is from above and in charge of this situation. I don’t know how it will end, it may get worse or even end in death (it did for Jesus), but the good news is you can trust Him in this hard time. He trusted in His Father; will you? Can you? You can face your nightmare with courage, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” And that will make all the difference.