People are impressed with power. Military might. Political position. Economic Status. Physical strength. And some people are obsessed with power. They will do anything to get it. And everything to hold on to it. And are in denial when they are unable to demonstrate it.
It is said the powerful Assyrian empire engraved their victories in stone. But never recorded their defeats. The Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, wanted to be remembered as the powerful ruler he was. Legend says that he requested to be entombed sitting on his throne. His crown on His head. His scepter in his hand. And his royal cape draped around his shoulders.
The power in Jesus’ day resided in Rome. Everyone knew it. Their empirical rule reached across the known world. The power was evident in their army. Their outposts of culture. Their massive building programs. Their roads. And, of course, their ruler. He was Pontifex Maximus.
The Jews in Jesus day had little power. They were subjugated by the Roman and their rulers. When the Sanhedrin Court found Jesus guilty of treason, they had no power to pass the death penalty. Or to execute him.
So Jesus was brought to the Roman Governor, Pontus Pilate. John records that Jesus did not respond to the Governor’s interrogation. “Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?’” (John 19:10).
Soon the force of the government’s power was brought to bear on Jesus of Nazareth. Pilate’s decree of death. The armored soldiers with spear and sword. Merciless beating. Mocked. Ridiculed. And nailed to the wooden cross he was forced to carry.
Rome displayed its power on this “helpless” man. But that was Friday. What they didn’t know and couldn’t have imagined that Sunday was coming!
On Sunday he who was “helpless” arose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:11). Rome’s power was negated. Death’s power was overcome. The tomb’s power couldn’t hold him! And so Paul proclaimed that Jesus was” declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” And the blood shed on Friday became a powerful cleansing agent on Sunday to wash away in the sins of the world (Heb (9:12 Even those who crucified Him! (Acts 2:36-42).
Ironically, the massive Roman empire fell. It’s Kingdom is no longer. It’s influence limited to history. It’s power finished. Yet, the Kingdom established by the One they killed lives on. It continues to flourish. It’s influence stretches around the world. And it’s power? Demonstrated in the cross. Proclaimed through the Gospel. Evidenced in changed lives. And one day will be consummated in our own bodily resurrection. Our own powerful victory over the Ruler of darkness, death and sin.
Oh, and Charlemagne? Two hundred years after his death, The emperor Orthello send a delegation to open the tomb and see if his burial instructions were carried out. Indeed they were, but the scene was ghastly and grisly. The crown? Tilted. The mantle? Moth eaten. The body? Disfigured.
So, you’re worried about what happens in Washington? Who’s President? Who was elected to Congress? What happens on Wall Street? What the power brokers of the world do? Forget it!
He has delivered us from the power of darkness. We’re strong in the power His might. And we are complete in Christ, who is the head of all principality and power. (Col. 1:11,13; 2:10)
It may be Friday. But, thank God, Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman