The Church has faced many foes over the centuries. Some of them came in the form of government leaders who sought to persecute and destroy the Church, while others came from those who appeared to be friendly, but who instead brought in destructive doctrines that harmed the Church from within. Throughout history, the Church has faced down depressions, wars, famine, and disease, yet she always continues to grow and march forward.
This year has brought with it words like “COVID-19” and “quarantine,” things we never could have imagined becoming a regular part of our vocabulary. I work as both a teacher and a pastor, and this season has forced me to learn how to do both in completely new ways. This past spring, I had to figure out how to teach, disciple, and minister to a flock comprised of many who do not have Internet or social media access, and many whose homes I should not enter because they are more susceptible to the disease. Churches and pastors are concerned about how this will affect their church’s ability to minister and survive. Families are hurting. People are in great need, and we don’t know what even the next few months may hold.
In the midst of this uncertainty, I drew immense encouragement from today’s readings. Pilate thought that he stood before Jesus as one who had the authority to let Him live or die. What he did not know was that the Creator of life and the One who was about to defeat death was standing there before him. Pilate clearly wanted no part of the sham trial in which he had been forced to participate. He faced intense pressure from the Pharisees and chief priests to put Jesus to death, and while he could find no fault in Him, he was ultimately afraid of the people’s word against him before the Roman government. And so he handed over the Son of God to be crucified in order to pacify a blood-thirsty crowd.
Psalm 2 provides us with a glimpse into how heaven views these foolish attempts to usurp the power of God and His Son. Human rulers have no power at all before God. When Pilate asked the people if he should crucify their King, he asked more than he ever could have imagined. Rather than putting another pretender to the throne to death, Pilate had sentenced God’s anointed King—the Son who would receive the nations as His inheritance—to die like a common thief.
In sending Jesus to His death, Pilate did not know that he and every human ruler were about to be exposed as the powerless, dependent creatures they really are. Pilate did not have power over life and death, but Jesus did, defeating death when He was raised from the dead.
Only God knows what trial each of us will be facing as we read this. Whatever it may be, let me assure you of this: the real King is on His throne. Whatever circumstances we may be facing, whoever may be lined up against us, whatever pain life may throw our way, none of it catches our Father off guard, and He is working it all together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). The King is strong and the King is good, and you can trust Him today.
Written by Scott Slayton