Unless It Was Given You

The scene in John 19 is arguably one of the most difficult to read through. Pilate has since ordered Jesus to be whipped and beaten, and a crown of thorns has been placed upon His head. But the pressure of the crowd put fear in Pilate's heart, so again he questions Jesus. In prideful fury, Pilate demands Christ acknowledge his authority saying, "Don't you know that I have the power to have you crucified?" (v. 10)  To which the Lord says, "You would have no power over me, unless it was given you from above." (v.11) Yesterday on the entry, as well as on our social media outlets, I posted, "Everything you've worked for is a gift...." And the scene in John is a sobering reminder of that truth. After all, nobody reading this sentence would argue that Pilate likely "earned" his title. He worked hard, paid his dues, put in the time. His blood, sweat and tears could likely be traced all the way to Ceasar's front door. But notice Jesus. He wrapped up every position Pilate held, every merit badge, every medal, every title, and all the power and said "...unless it was given you..."

Imagine the blow to his ego. Who is this penniless carpenter to tell me that everything I've earned was given me? Squints eyes...grits teeth...shakes fist...saves face.

Yes, fitness takes work. We're living in bodies designed to topple, atrophy, slow down, crumble and ultimately fail. For that reason, the overload principle is still true: The body will only change according to the level at which you stress it. And that stress takes discipline, diligence, hard work. But as we nod in agreement that the grind is tortuous and the results often glorious, God forbid we ever assume we'd have any of it unless it was given us. So, before we boast in the blood, sweat and tears we've shed, think of Pilate. No, better yet, someone else's would probably be best for us to consider. Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: NobodyJesus put Pilate in his place, (literally and figuratively). Let's do ourselves the honor by putting ourselves in ours. What do you think stops us from giving God credit for both the ability to work hard and the results? Is it pride? Like Pilate, do you think we're influenced by the crowd? The applause? How many "likes" do you think Pilate would get for his ego? Who among us would look Jesus in the face, shake a fist and say, "Jesus, I earned this body you created!" I have trouble even typing that.