Power and obedience

Yesterday, we heard at Vespers, at the Magnificat, our Lord politely putting Pilate in his place, with a rephrasing of Jn. 19, 11.

Antiphona ad Vesperas - Feria II Maioris Hebdomadae

Thou shouldst have no power over Me, unless it had been given thee from above.

Today, we heard the following quotation from Jn. 10, 18:

Antiphona ad Vesperas - Feria III Maioris Hebdomadae

Power have I to lay down my soul, and to take it up again.

On Monday, our Lord responded to Pilate’s absurd and naive claim that he had the power to crucify Him. That power was not granted to Pilate from God; rather, that power was given to Pilate from the Roman emperor. Today, the Office tells us why, having told Pilate point blank he had no power to crucify Him, He eventually died on the Cross. No man takes away the Lord’s life; only He can lay it down, for He has the power to take it up again.

Ciseri - Ecce homo
Ecce homo | Antonio Ciseri | 1871

Pilate willed to give the Son of God up to the Jews to be crucified. And so he did. The Lord Jesus Christ, on the other hand, Who is the first begotten of all creation, the first begotten from among the dead, could have easily nullified the decree of an earthly authority whose power proceeded from a superior, but ultimately another merely earthly, authority. But He did not. What made it possible for the most perfect sacrifice to take place on Calvary was the Lord’s obedience to the Father, Whose love for His Son manifested in the Lord’s power to to lay down His life and to take it up again.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

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