The Author of Authority


When my son was young, he came home from school very confident of what they had taught him at school, and he asked me if I knew anything about reading the alphabetical letters. I told him I did, but he doubted me because he thought he was the first in the entire family to learn about reading alphabetical letters. When his mother wanted to teach him, he had no confidence that his mother knew what she was about to teach him.

In a similar way, the Jews thought that they knew the law better than Jesus, and so they were proud of their knowledge even though they did not really understand.

  •  Take a moment and contemplate areas where you think you know much, but you actually need Jesus to teach you more.


19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So 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?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 7-11.)

  1. How did the Jews dismiss Jesus’ messianic authority based on the claims of the law?
  2. What made Pilate fearful? What did he do in response to his fear?
  3. Pilate knew he had authority to decide Jesus’ sentence. Who is the source of this authority according to verse 11?
  4. Where in your life is fear causing you to claim authority for yourself that rightly belongs to God? What would it look like for you to lay down your rights and allow God to have his way in your life?


It is appalling that the Jews referred to the law, which they did not respect or follow. They also did not know the origin of the law. Pilate, on the other hand, did not know who gave authority; therefore, he did not know that Jesus was the author of his authority. As a result, he did not exercise authority prudently. Instead, Pilate bragged about the authority he had.

We must respect the source of all authority, and this is Jesus. Jesus has allowed you to be who you are, and he asks you to follow him and respect his authority in you and over you.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you humbly realize that it is Jesus who gives all the authority that we enjoy.
  • Thank him for the office you have, the family, any responsibility which you hold, as gifts from the Lord.  Ask Jesus to help you to respect him as the source of all authority.