No king but Caesar? (John 19 v 8-16a)

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

No king but Caesar?

Whose tune do you dance to? They say that “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. There will be some people on earth who have influence over us; we naturally want to do what they say.

Where are you from?
Read John 19:8

• Why is Pilate frightened?

Look back to John 19:7. He is a superstitious man with a bad conscience, and so is easily unsettled.

• What does he ask Jesus in verse 9?

It’s a question that has been discussed before in John’s Gospel (see John 7:27, John 8:14).

• Why do you think Jesus doesn’t answer him?

There’s be an echo here of Isaiah 53 v 7: “He did not open his mouth … as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth”.

Guilty or more guilty?
Read John 19:10

• Why is Pilate surprised at Jesus’ silence?
• How does Jesus reply?

Read Romans 13:1.
Notice that Paul teaches the same as Jesus about human authority.

• What does Jesus conclude at the end of v 11?
• Who handed Jesus over to Pilate?
• Why are the Jewish leaders even more guilty than Pilate?

Somehow the depth of their malice is greater. Pilate is a weak leader trying rather badly and inconsistently to do his job. The Jewish leaders actively hate Jesus and have set out to destroy Him. They are certainly not doing their job of shepherding God’s people!

No king but Caesar
Read John 19:12

“Caesar” means the Roman emperor (Tiberius at that time). To be “Caesar’s friend” was an almost-official, privileged status. Pilate is terrified of losing it, so he loses his own soul instead. In fact, he was disgraced by the emperor a few years later
anyway. Pilate mocks the Jewish leaders. But they hate Jesus so much they put up
with the mockery, to get Him crucified.

There’s great irony here as the priests say: “We have no king but Caesar”! It is a strange thing to hear Jews say. Yet at a
very deep level it is true; they are serving the powers of this world and not the one true God. Everyone does one or the other.

Pray that you may be able to say, and mean, the opposite of the priests: “I have no king but Jesus”.

This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published November 13, 2011.

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