Devotional Author: Kent Olson

When reading and hearing the lessons from John this Lenten season, I was struck by the answers or lack of answers from Jesus. Earlier in John 18, Jesus gives, what some may perceive as rather short, snippy, flippant answers to the high priest. This causes one of the police to ask, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” In this week’s lesson, Jesus also gives, what some may say are flippant answers to Pilate. Pilate is the Roman leader. He has many things to do, many issues to handle including keeping his part of the Empire under control. This means he must keep the locals (that is, the Jews) quiet and not rebellious. He needs to keep them submissive to Roman power but satisfied enough to not cause problems for Pilate’s bosses and thus Pilate. He needs to work on other duties and here, in his view, is some person whom the Jewish authorities have thrust into his day. In trying to understand what he should do with Jesus, he keeps asking questions of Jesus. But Jesus never seems to give a straight answer, so Pilate finally asks, “What is truth?” I can almost hear the exasperation in his voice.

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At some point, all of us have felt the exasperation of trying to get answers when the other party doesn’t give them. I remember hearing the exasperation of a student in class when he ended his question to me with, “And don’t answer with a question.” (So much for the Socrates method that day.) 

The powerless are often exasperated when they don’t hear an answer from those who have power.

Power does need to be talked to. Perhaps flip answers are not always the best, but power does need to be talked to. Power does need to understand what is or might be happening as a consequence of the use of power. Jesus knew what the near future held for him and also what the long-term future needed. 

While we are in our earth-bound bodies, we do not know our earthly future with certainty. But we can still see the potential impacts of decisions and real impacts of past decisions. We can talk to power to make a better life for many.

Prayer: Dear God, give us the wisdom and strength to consider and talk to power for the benefit of the powerless. Help us to see where we can help other children of God. Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.