Read Luke 23:35-39
35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. 37 They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” (NLT)
We often associate power with doing things, with showing everyone who is boss, with making sure others get out of our way. Power is flexing our muscles, power is getting our own way, power is hitting back at those who threaten us.
It is the way of politics, of corporations, of various committees, of nations. It is not the way of Jesus. He displays a different sort of power. Hanging naked on a cross and being subject to mockery didn’t look very powerful. We know he could have summonsed an entire angelic army to rescue him. We know he could have wiped out all those who tortured him.
But he didn’t. He was using his absolute power to conquer sin and death. To achieve that victory he had to suffer and die. His power was shown in his weakness. Instead of sticking up for his rights and getting back at his accusers, he put up with the injustice and the pain. His power consisted in doing absolutely nothing.
It is the same sort of power he talked about when urging us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to accept setback and suffering. A strange sort of power that sometimes has us to what seems weak and sometimes has us do nothing when ‘common sense’ urges us to act.
On the cross, his power was revealed in his staying put. If he had responded to the goads of the crowd to prove himself Messiah by coming down from the cross, all he would have done is to prove he was not the Messiah. Such is the paradox of power.