We are impressed with powerful things – a great earth mover, 400 horsepower under the hood, a football team’s front four, military might, and so on. We certainly believe that our God is all powerful. He can do anything He chooses, any time He chooses. But He always has a habit of turning our concepts of reality up side down. The greatest power of God is displayed in His love and forgiveness. He has shown it to us by His bloody body hanging on a cross. Self giving love and forgiveness have the power to change hearts, heal long festering wounds, and mend relationships. Love and forgiveness can change us. As it does, we are able to give the same to others. The power of God’s love and forgiveness will change hearts for all eternity. No earthly power can do that.
I went to the movies yesterday with the family. We were a bit early so we waited in the lobby. It, of course, was filled with posters and displays of upcoming films. What struck me was that the theme of all of them was about power. Great forces, super strength, some good or right overcoming evil by a superior power. This has certainly been a theme for generations with Superman, various comic book characters and so forth, even Sgt. Joe Friday catching the criminals. (Now that is telling my age!) The reason I was taken by all this was how opposite it is to the strength our God displays. Our God is Almighty, and the greatest display of His strength is in a bloodied dead figure figure nailed to a Roman cross. The Creator of the heavens and the earth showed His greatest act of power by the greatest demonstration of love for all mankind. It is He who declared that our greatest weapon is love and prayer for an enemy. Physical force, unfortunately necessary at times, can only suppress outward actions of another. Love for an enemy recreates a person from the inside.
Jesus always does things backwards! He talked to the Pharisees, respected scholars of His day, and called them hypocrites, and empty tombs. He said if your want to be a leader, you need to be the servant of all; to be first you have to be last. He just didn’t get it. He didn’t understand about power and prominence in this world. Or maybe He did. Maybe He really saw how hollow and superficial all the things we hold up as goals to strive for really are. Maybe that is why He spent His time with the tax collectors and sinners. There was no pretense in them. They knew they were weak and needed His help. And they received it. The ones who come to Him empty are sure to be filled with His living water.