In this third brief post on the theme of comfort, John Piper comments ….
‘Pilate’s authority to crucify Jesus did not intimidate Jesus. Why not? Not because Pilate was lying. Not because he didn’t have authority to crucify Jesus. He did. Rather, this authority did not intimidate Jesus because it was derivative. Jesus said, “It was given to you from above.” Which means it is really authoritative. Not less. But more.
So how is this not intimidating? Pilate not only has authority to kill Jesus. But he has God-given authority to kill him. This does not intimidate Jesus because Pilate’s authority over Jesus is subordinate to God’s authority over Pilate. Jesus gets his comfort at this moment not because Pilate’s will is powerless, but because Pilate’s will is guided. Not because Jesus isn’t in the hands of Pilate’s fear, but because Pilate is in the hands of Jesus’ Father. Which means that our comfort comes not from the powerlessness of our enemies, but from our Father’s sovereign rule over their power.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
Pilate has authority. Herod has authority. Soldiers have authority. Satan has authority. But none is independent. All their authority is derivative. All of it is subordinate to God’s will. Fear not. You are precious to your sovereign Father. Far more precious than the unforgotten birds.’
For more about John Piper’s ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.