Pilate and William Ernest Henley: Two Peas in a Pod

In preparing to teach a Bible study tomorrow on John 19, two verses jumped out at me. Jesus is standing before Pilate refusing to defend Himself, and finally, Pilate, in exasperation, cries out, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” (verse 10) How arrogant! He, like William Ernest Henley, erroneously believed that he was the “master of his fate” and the “captain of his soul,” and, moreover, that he had authority over the life and death of the only begotten Son of God. However, in reality, all of the authority that Pilate wielded, he wielded at the behest of God in heaven. As Jesus boldly replied, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.”

Like so many today, Pilate did not understand that he had never truly earned anything in his life. Whatever administrative skills he exercised, whatever intelligence he possessed, whatever physical abilities he owned, and even the very air he breathed were all gifts from the “Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) All that we have comes from Him, and we are fools if we think the answers to life are to be found within ourselves. Look outside of yourself to Christ. He is the Giver of life, the Sustainer of life, and the One who holds the future firmly in His omnipotent hand! But, I would warn you that if you are determined to be the “master of your fate” and the “captain of your soul,” expect, like Pilate and Henley before you, to end up shipwrecked on the devastating reefs of this stormy world.



  1. C. Poss said,

    February 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Clifton, again I must say what a blessing this blog is for me, and what an excellent writer we all see. I always look forward to dropping by to see the latest. Thank you for your tireless giving of your many talents.

    • cliftonr said,

      February 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM

      Thanks for your gracious words, Charles.

  2. Sandra A. said,

    February 16, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Amen to my brothers’ words, Charles and Clifton. You truly bless us, Clifton with your thoughts and study and so eloquently.

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