Four People You Should Never Listen To
On the day Jesus died, he encountered opposition from four powerful men. These authority figures represent the types of people who will seek to frustrate God’s plan for your life.
We can learn a lot from how Jesus responded to these four men and his responses to each.
1. Annas the false father
The first powerful man Jesus faced, was Annas. Once upon a time, Annas had been the high priest, which meant he ran the ruling council of Israel, the 70-man Sanhedrin. He was no longer the high priest, yet he acted as he if was and he retained the title of high priest.
Old man Annas questioned Jesus about his teachings (John 18:19). On the face of it, his questions seemed harmless, as though he simply wanted to learn more about Jesus’ message. But from Jesus’ abrupt replies, we realize that Annas was a snake. His motives were rotten and he sent Jesus away in bonds.
Who is Annas and why do we need to be wary of him?
Annas represents those false-father figures who question you about the grace message or your grace journey. On the surface, they give the impression of being paternal and caring, but their real motive is to keep you bound and under their thumb.
Annas may try to give you the impression of being a wise head – “Listen, kid, I’ve seen all this before” – but his wisdom is that of the serpent. “Did God really say?”
Listen to the Annas-types in your life and you will fall from grace back under law. Jesus doesn’t engage with Annas (John 18:21), and neither should we.
2. Caiaphas the religious bully
The second powerful man Jesus faced was Annas’s son-in-law and the current high priest Caiaphas (John 18:24). This guy was a murderous bully who, more than any other person, was responsible for putting Jesus on a cross. He also slandered Jesus’ character and questioned his identity.
Who is Caiaphas and why do we need to be wary of him?
Caiaphas represents that religious voice that says, “Who do you think you are?” Caiaphas will tell you that you’re a grub, a sinner, or a servant, anything but a dearly-loved child of God.
Listen to the lies of Caiaphas and you will forget who you are and be susceptible to manipulation. “I’m a sinner, so I’d better make myself clean. I’m a servant, so I’d better serve.”
Jesus spoke back to Caiaphas and so should we. Before the ruling council, Jesus emphatically affirmed that he was the Son of God (Matt. 26:54).
This is how we respond to religious bullies. You are not a sinner or a servant, but a dearly-loved son with all that entails. God is for you; who can be against you? Like Jesus, you have nothing to prove.
3. Herod the head-hunter
The third powerful man Jesus faced was Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 23:8). Like the other men on this list, Herod questioned Jesus. But to Herod, Jesus said nothing. Not one word. So Herod mocked Jesus, and then sent him away.
Who is Herod and why do we need to be wary of him?
Herod represents those mockers who find your beliefs mildly fascinating but they will happily chop your head off with arguments.
Herod beheaded John the Baptist and he’d tried to do the same thing to Jesus (Luke 13:31). Listen to the Herods in your life and you’ll find yourself running in circles like a headless chicken.
Not everyone who asks questions is sincere. While Annas seeks to control you, Herod merely wants to argue and wind you up. Jesus wastes no time with Herod and neither should we.
4. Pilate the king-killer
The final person Jesus visited was the most dangerous of all. Yet Pilate was not a snake like Annas or a religious bully like Caiaphas. Nor was he a bored mocker like Herod. But Pilate represented Rome, an empire that had little tolerance for rival kings.
Who is Pilate and why do we need to be wary of him?
Pilate is that person in your life – your boss, your manager, your biggest client – who has a vested interest in preserving the status quo and no interest in the kingdom of God.
Your heavenly Father has big dreams for you. He wants you to rule and reign in life. But the Pilates in your life are not tolerant of rival kings, and they will not support your God-given dreams.
They have power over you, and as long as you do your job and play your part, they won’t bother you. But step out of your rut or take a stand, and they will lean on you, and even crush you.
Of the four leaders Jesus encountered, Pilate comes across as the most reasonable. He was just doing his job. But Jesus didn’t fit in Pilate’s world and this became a problem.
“Don’t you know I have the authority to kill you or release you?” (John 19:9). The Pilates in your life say something similar. “I can fire you or promote you, but you have to play my game.”
Jesus does not talk to Pilate like the other three. In fact, Jesus has considerable grace for Pilate. He understands that Pilate is under pressure from his own bosses. “You would have no authority over me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11).
This is not to absolve Pilate of his responsibility in the crucifixion of Jesus, but to contextualize his actions in the larger drama of an ancient cosmic battle between the kingdom of heaven and the powers of darkness.
Jesus recognizes that Pilate is in an awful situation, and he feels for the man.
The lesson we learn is this: don’t hate your boss. The authority figures in your life may not understand who you are or where you’re coming from, but Jesus loves them and he’s put you in that position to help them discover his love.
Many people come into our lives for a season, and some enrich us while others hurt us. Some try to frustrate the grace of God in your life. So be wary of those who seek to bind you (Annas), diminish you (Caiaphas), mock you (Herod), or keep you from your kingly destiny (Pilate).
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That Jesus cared for this man was also manifested by the fact that God gave Pilate’s wife a dream to warn him.
You mean God gave her a dream so Jesus can be freed or wouldn’t die? That dream wasn’t from God. That a dream contains a fact doesn’t mean it is from God. It was already too obvious Jesus was blameless and she could have already conceived the thought in her heart. Jesus’ innocence was no revelation.
EXCELLENT! Thank you for alerting to 4 traps along the path of Grace.
Engaged by these types all too often in my life, and, after hard lessons, learned to keenly listen to the Spirit and weigh my words.
After reading your article I had this conclusion: The four that Jesus faced were all merely little boys with big titles. Jesus was the real man in every sense of the word. Pilate confirmed this when he declared this about Jesus, “Behold the Man.” Jesus knew where he came from, he knew who he was, and he knew where he was going, Therefore, he was unmoved by the four clowns, abiding in the perfect will of his Father. Jesus, the Father pleaser, was free from the fear of people.
Great observation. The more I think about the grace Jesus showed on his final day, the more I marvel at his sheer unshakeability, his unwavering confidence, and his compassion for others.
Wow! What a great article but what a mega great observation. “Behold The Man”. Thank you so much for both the article and reply.
Nice post Paul. I think it`s hard to accept the Pilate authority in my life, specially from a boss, and even worse if my boss is also my father, haha! I tend to feel stuck in one place, when I want to step out and try new things. It`s hard to discern between stand in submission for that authority, waiting for a door of opportunity (maybe this is too much passivity?) or to just leave the company (give a leap of faith) and try other things? How do you discern this things?
Eder I have wrestled this question for all my work-life and in hind-sight see that that God seems always tends to open a door that (1) makes the way ‘easy’ (not that this doesn’t involve considerable soul searching) and (2) prosperous (yes, it’s always promotion and never shame). I have investigated dozens of opportunities that look great, only to see the door close. Over time and looking back I see that I’m ‘led and guided’ and over the years I have grown more relaxed to ‘wait’ for the next opportunity. All my own efforts to ‘create my own way’ have come to nought!
Thanks for the answer Ian. It’s really comforting. Looking back to my life in other areas, I see that the best decisions I have made were so smooth and light, and all went well. I heard some pastors saying that God does not drive a parked car and it made me feel sad/afraid, that I might not been doing enough (I really didn’t know what else do to). I will stay in his peace.
Outstanding. Great post Paul.
I love this! Thankyou Paul, it helps to have a guide of what these influences look like, what they do and how to respond! Bless you.
Glory to Jesus♡.
I love you and thank you.
That was so good. 4 distinct voices but is the same person behind them all. Thank you for pointing that out.
Hi Paul ,
Enjoyed this post very much. Thank you for it. Just have a question regarding this. You wrote : “ He wants you to rule and reign in life.” Jesus is our King … the ruler and reigner of our lives … we are not “ mini gods “ … ruling and reigning our own lives … am I missing something here ?
I would appreciate your answer please .
Thank you .
God’s plan from the very beginning was for his children to rule and reign in his name. Yes, Jesus is the King of kings, but we are the kings he is the King of. One with the Lord, you get to reign in life (Rom 5:17). More here and here.
Thank- you so much for your explanation, also for the links to the excellent posts. I am relatively new to the “ super- super abundant grace “ of Jesus!!! Currently enjoying your book “Hyper Grace Gospel”, looking Forward to digging into “Letters From Jesus.” Although I’ve been a Christian for many years , it’s only recently I’ve experienced true freedom in the Lord . Hallelujah!
I’m very happy to hear that Shoshanna. I can assure you, many of us here have a similar story of being Christians for years before really discovering the freedom that grace brings. Better late than never!
Thanks for your encouraging message. Lawrence
I want to thank you for amazing posts. I have been on the verge of disaster and depression but l started reading your posters l then regained sanity and realized how much l have been in bondage of law and mixture of law & grace. You have given me life again ( by Christ teachings). I want more of your teachings and books, may God bring more revelations of grace. Thank you so much. WOULD YOU SEND ME MORE POSTS.
Hi Paul ,
I appreciate your articles and books so much! I was recently discussing this blog entry with my daughter who made the point, “Jesus was a servant … he came to serve not be served” in response to what you wrote about servants… in point #2 of your post: ”I’m a servant, so I’d better serve.” “You are not a sinner or a servant, but a dearly-loved son with all that entails. God is for you; who can be against you?“ Her point was , ”if Jesus was a servant… we should be too…”
How would you respond to this please ?
Thank you .
Great question, Shoshanna. I would respond by drawing a line between our identity (sons) and our occupation (servants). Jesus is the Son who serves and so are we. I don’t have a servant’s mindset (because I’m a son), but I do have a servant’s heart. More here.
John 15:15 will give her the answer.
15 I do not communicate with you on a slave – boss basis; slaves have no clue what their Master is about to do. I talk to you as my friends telling you everything that I have heard in my conversation and 1intimate association with my Father. This I explain to you in the 2clearest possible terms. (The Preposition 1para is used here, pointing to close companionship; the word 2gnoritso means to have thorough knowledge of.)
Also, just as Jesus only said what His Father said and did what His Father did we are to imitate this. Note that Jesus was a servant to mankind, not His Father. He is a Son and so are we. Be blessed and hope this helped.
I enjoyed reading some of what you have written, but when I clicked on one of your links, I was sad to see that you sell Christian information. You can defend your monetization of your exclusive content if you want, but such activity vexes my spirit. All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and no glory to us whatsoever.
I used to feel the same way, then several years ago the Lord told me to get on Patreon and I’m glad he did. Without the support of patrons you would not be able to enjoy hundreds of free articles like the one above and I would not have been able to give away 50,000 books. Patreon has given me a megaphone for the gospel.