Jesus, help me not to be intimidated by “authority figures,” but to speak my truth! Amen.

“Are you the king of the Jews?” Governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus. “You’re the one who says I’m a king,” Jesus told him, “but I’m not a king of this world. I’ve come to tell the truth, and anyone who wants to hear the truth will listen to me.”

Some kids are intimidated by what people call “authority figures:” teachers, doctors, parents or any adults. They’re taller than you, they’re bigger than you and they can make rules that you have no choice but to follow. Plus, kids don’t just have one authority figure in their lives; every grownup is an authority figure!

Jesus didn’t worry about authority figures. in this week’s Gospel (John 18:33-37), even when Jesus was arrested and put on trial in front of the governor, He spoke to Pontius Pilate just like He spoke to everyone else: directly and gently.

Kids who face authority figures sometimes feel small and scared. What does it mean that Jesus didn’t let Pilate intimidate Him? Jesus saw everyone as the same. Pilate had power and a fancy title, but Jesus didn’t see Himself as less than Pilate.

When Pilate asked if Jesus was a king — really asking if Jesus thought He had more power than Pilate — Jesus said He was a king of heaven, not Earth. Jesus wasn’t trying to take Pilate’s power away.

When you’re dealing with an authority figure, it’s OK to speak your mind. Jesus showed that people don’t have to be mean to speak up. Grownups are not better or more important than kids, and kids have the right to their own opinions.

Maybe you can’t make the rules yet, but that doesn’t mean authority figures should intimidate you. Jesus said, “I’ve come to tell the truth.” Tell your truth — even to grownups!