Leaders lust for it. People are impressed by it. And others are dominated by it.
Military might. Political position. Economic Status. Physical strength. All are symbols of power.
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. Pontifex Maximus.
The Jews in Jesus’ day had little power. They were subjugated by Rome’s power. When the Sanhedrin Court found Jesus guilty of treason, they had no power to issue the death penalty.
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 the power to crucify You, and power to release You?’” (John 19:10).
Soon the force of Pilate’s power was brought to bear on the lowly Galilean. He signed the decree of death. The armored soldiers with spear and sword took him captive. Beat him unmercifully. Mocked, ridiculed, and berated Him. Then finally nailed Jesus to the wooden cross He was forced to carry.
While Rome unleashed its power on this seemingly “helpless” man, three days later they would witness a power that would ultimately shake the entire Empire.
On Sunday He who was thought powerless arose from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:11). Rome’s power was negated. Death’s power was overcome. Satan’s power was subdued.
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.” Furthermore, His blood shed upon the cross became the powerful cleansing agent to wash away the world’s sin. (Heb. 9:12). Even for those who crucified Him! (Acts 2:36-42).
Ironically, the massive Roman empire fell. Its Kingdom is no longer. Its influence is limited to history. Its power is finished. Yet, the Kingdom established by the One they killed lives on. It continues to flourish. Its 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.
As you assemble today and engage in communion, thank God for His power that works in your life. Power to be free from sin’s bondage and Satan’s shackles.
Remember our faith and hope resides not in the power brokers of this world, but in Him who “upholds all things by the word of His power.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman