Perform Under Pressure

Pastor DaronCrossLife Blog

Do you behave differently when you’re under pressure? Do things pop out of your heart or head or mouth when the stress squeezes you—things that you know are wrong or hurtful?

Here’s something incredible about Jesus when his enemies falsified charges against him to go on trial before the Roman government. They wanted him dead. “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:13)

Jesus doesn’t sound different under these deadly circumstances than he sounded when praying with his disciples before a meal, sitting on a hillside with children sitting at his feet, or telling parables at a dinner party. “You’ll pay for this, Pilate! I will kill you and cut you to pieces and bury your body parts under the four corners of the earth and your soul will rot in hell …!!!” No. No.

How can Jesus keep it all together, when his world is falling apart? Ah, because he is keenly aware that his world is not falling apart. It’s coming together. 

Jesus knows the reason he came into the world. Jesus knows the truth. Why? Because before he speaks to others, he listens to his Father. A few hours earlier, Jesus had prayed, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you … I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:1,4). This trial before an earthly king, the spit-filled accusations, the verdict of crucifixion, “Yes, Father, it’s all coming together. This is our work. This is our glory.”

When your world is falling apart, knowing your identity (who you are, whose you are) and your purpose (why you’re here) make all the difference.

Jesus doesn’t need to prove anything. He knows who he is. He knows whose he is. No blaming the government. No arguing about his Father’s plan. No suggesting how unfair this is. He is the uncomplaining Lamb of God.

Jesus knows that nothing, not a guilty verdict, not the lacerations of the scourge, not the piercing crown of thorns or nails of the cross … nothing can take his divine rule away. A divine rule of mercy for sinners, of forgiveness for unfaithful followers, of grace for anyone who needs it. That’s why he stands before Pilate ready and willing to die.

“I am a king,” (John 18:37) Jesus told Pilate faithfully, confidently. Jesus is no prisoner. He is free. Free to be crucified. Free to submit to the Father’s plan. This is his power. Jesus’ crown is thorns and his throne is a cross. 

How do you perform better under pressure? Because the pressure is not on you to be king.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, sometimes my world feels like it’s falling apart. In those moments, I want to perform under pressure like you did. Remind me that you are King, and I don’t need to be. Guide me to be myself in you, in rest and in stress. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: I preached about this meeting between a king (Pontius Pilate) and THE King (Jesus). There’s so much more to the story. Here it is: