Pilate to Jesus: Do you not know that I have power to crucify You, and have power to release You?

The state has the power to kill and incarcerate:

Don’t you know that I have power to release you and power to kill you?” That’s where Pilate answers his own questionWhat is truthFor Pilate, and for much of the world, ultimate truth is the power to killThat the world is run by those who have the power, the ways, the means, and the will to kill. Jesus says, “No. That’s a lie.” That the world has to be arranged around an axis of power enforced by violence.”

John 19:

10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.


After Constantine the church became the chaplain of empire; but Jesus said My Kingdom is not of this world

Pastor Brian Zahnd: Isn’t the cross the antithesis of the sword? Remember when Jesus is arrested, and first he is tried on issues having to do with religious matters, and He is charged with blasphemy by the Sanhedrin, but the Sanhedrin cannot enforce capital punishment. That is under the jurisdiction  of the occupying Romans. So then he is transferred to the Roman Governor, and Pilate is not interested in any theological dispute, but he is interested in someone claiming to be a king because all of the kings in the realm of the Roman Empire were puppet kings; they were client kings that were endorsed and put in power by Rome. And so he asked Jesus, “Are you a king?” Jesus said, “It is as you say, but my Kingdom is not from this world.” In other words, it does not come from the same system as the Caesars and the Pharaohs. He says, My Kingdom is not from this world. If my Kingdom were from this world, My servants would be fighting. But Jesus says, My Kingdom is not from this world. It is for this world, but it is not from this world.

And then Jesus says, “For this purpose I have come into the world that I might bear witness to the truth. Whoever is of the truth listens to My voice.” Pilate famously says, “What is truth?” and walks out of the room. Jesus is then scourged. Jesus is then brought in the second time before Pilate, and Pilate continues his interrogation, but Jesus is no longer engaging with him. Pilate in frustration says, “Don’t you know that I have power to release you and power to kill you?” That’s where Pilate answers his own question. What is truth? For Pilate, and for much of the world, ultimate truth is the power to kill. That the world is run by those who have the power, the ways, the means, and the will to kill. Jesus says, “No. That’s a lie.” That the world has to be arranged around an axis of power enforced by violence. So that at the cross what Jesus does is nothing less than re-found the world around a new arrangement; that is, the cross now becomes the center of human arrangement. Instead of an axis of power enforced by violence, the cross becomes an axis of love expressed in forgiveness. Now this is a very radical thing to say, I understand it, but it is also known as Christianity. This is what Christians confess about Jesus once it is untangled from empire.