Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Pontus Pilate asked Jesus at His trial.
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 Rome and their rulers. When the Sanhedrin Court found Jesus guilty of treason, they had no power to sentence Him. Or to execute Him.
So when Jesus was brought to the Roman Governor, Pilate, it seemed strange to him that Jesus did not respond to his interrogation. After all, Pilate possessed the power of life and death by a simple stroke of his pen.
Leaders lust for it. People are impressed by it. Others are dominated by it. Military might. Political position. Economic Status. Physical strength. All are symbols of power. And some people are obsessed with power. They will do anything to get it. Everything to hold on to it. And are in denial when they are unable to exercise it.
The Bible records how Rome unleashed its power on this “helpless” Galilean. Pilate signed the decree of death. The armored soldiers with spear and sword lead him away to his execution. Rome’s power inflicted a merciless beating. Mocking. Ridicule.. And finally Jesus was nailed to the wooden cross He was forced to carry.
Power. Rome displayed it. 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.”
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 the power of Christ’s Kingdom? It’s 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.
So, you’re worried about what happens in Washington? Who’s going to be the next President? Who’s elected to Congress? What happens on Wall Street? What the power brokers of the world do? What power ISIS wields across the globe. Forget it!
To those who have been called by the Gospel message, “Christ (is) the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1Cor 1:24). 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).
We, who belong to the risen Savior, “are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet. 1:5).
It’s Friday. But, thank God, Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman