Jesus: The “Stare Down” Champion of All Time
Have you ever gotten into one of those “stare down” contests? You know, where two people stare at each other to see who blinks first? Most of us have at one time or another.
Imagine getting into a sort of “stare down” contest with Jesus. Metaphorically, we have a number of these in the Bible. Jesus was always being challenged. He never blinked. The Pharisees, the Sanhedrin. It’s no surprise who won.
Two of the greatest contests Jesus had were with satan and Pilate. Now, these were quite accomplished opponents. And they were used to winning in these contests.
Following His fast in the desert, satan tempted Jesus three times. Without blinking, Jesus called on the written Word of God to make satan blink. It was no contest. satan knew he’d been bested.
Jesus’ contest with Pilate was very interesting. In some ways, Pilate may even have thought he won the contest. Let’s take a look at the things leading up to this stare down.
When Jesus told His disciples that they would be returning from Galilee to Jerusalem, they tried to to dissuade Him. In modern terms, the conversation went something like this:
“Guys, we’re going to Jerusalem for Passover.”
“Are you nuts, Boss! Those guys have a hit contract out on you. You go, You’re as good as dead, Boss.”
“Pack up. I’ll tell you what I need you to do when we get closer.”
This was followed by Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His instruction to His disciples during the Last Supper and His capture in the Garden of Gethsemane. During this time, Jesus had a number of lesser stare down contests: with Judas, with Peter, with the soldiers who captured Him. Somewhat bigger with His stare down with the High Priest and with the Sanhedrin. But the really biggie was with Pilate.
Now, Pilate was a mean mover and shaker, one really bad dude. And the life of one more Jew meant nothing to him. When Jesus was brought before Pilate, he basically said “I have the power of life or death over you. Be careful what you say. Now tell me, are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus essentially replied: “You don’t have squat. You only have what I allow you. You can’t TAKE my life because I am giving it freely.”
“Well, let me just give you a taste of what I can do” said Pilate as he sent our Lord to the whip.
After the 39 lashes, Jesus was brought back before Pilate. Pilate blinked. He tried to find a way out. Jesus kept on staring back, no blinks from Him. He knew His purpose and was doing this in love and obedience.
Jesus, humanly speaking after the 39 lashes, was a dead man walking. He carried His own cross. He went willing to the cross. Only after He said “It is finished” did He close His eyes. And still not a blink… a triumph! He had accomplished His earthly purpose. He had conquered the world.