Summary: The power of one man and the power of one message lies in the power to be weak.
1. POWER OF ONE MAN
To the Jews, the high priest was the highest religious authority in the land. He alone entered the Holy of Holies in the temple once a year to make atonement for the sins of the whole nation. Like the high priest, Jesus mediates between God and us. As humanity’s representative, he intercedes for us before God. As God’s representative, he assures us of God’s forgiveness.
As I studied this out, I realized that the power of one man - Jesus Christ - lies not in his superhuman abilities or superhero status...his power lies in the fact that he became weak...a human just like us who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. It says that he was tempted in every way, but did not give in.
I don’t know about you, but I feel weak when I am tempted. Jesus went from being in heaven with his Father and never being tempted, to becoming a man...and being tempted in every way. Jesus can now relate to us. Because of that, he invites us to approach the throne of grace with confidence! Jesus wants to be approached. He is approachable because he understands. He wants us to come to him to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need...in our time of weakness.
When was Jesus at his weakest point? On the cross...
Jesus was crucified in weakness, in shame, in suffering. Crucifixion was meant to send a message, “If you mess with Rome, you’ll end up like this.” That’s why the Romans would put people on crosses where everyone could see them. So when people walked past Jesus, the Bible says they hurled insults at him. They mocked him because after all that talk of being the son of God, it seemed as if he didn’t have the power to get off the cross. He didn’t seem so big and bad now...his body was a carcass of ripped up flesh. He was beaten so bad that his family and friends couldn’t recognize him. He was tortured so much, that he had no more strength to fight. This was Jesus’ weakest moment, yet it was followed by his most glorious...as God raised him to life on the third day...the resurrection we are celebrating today!
-Oct. 30, 1974...rumble in the jungle...Ali would usually dance, but he became weak...rope-a-dope story...one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
One of Ali’s greatest victory came after what seemed like his weakest moment in the ring. In the same way, Jesus’ greatest victory came after what seemed like his weakest moment. The heavyweight battle of eternity was won over satan! He says he saw satan fall like lightning from heaven...which means he knocked him out!
How about you? Could it be that if you persevere through your weakest moments, victory is right around the corner? Sometimes weakness is not such a bad thing...and that’s what Jesus tells Paul...
Paul was the man! In order to keep him humble, he was given this thorn in his flesh...a temptation, a struggle, a weakness...and all he wanted was for God to take it away. I can relate to that! Why do I have to struggle so much with this...while other people have it easy?! Everyone thinks his thorn is the worst thorn...his struggle is the worst struggle.
But Jesus says, NO. You don’t have to be perfect on your own, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Jesus is saying, my grace is all that you need...to have perfect power.
This is the great paradox - Power in Weakness! PERFECT POWER comes not from our own power, but from God’s power through grace. The truth is that when we’re relying on our own power, there’s no room for God’s perfect power. And unfortunately for us, apart from God, our perceived power is nothing more than an illusion or a temporary feeling that unravels in moments of weakness.
In response to Jesus, Paul decided he would boast all the more gladly about his weakness so that Christ’s power would rest on him. Not only does he boast, but he delights in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. He was able to have this outlook because he built a conviction that when he is weak, that’s when he is strong.
ARE YOU WEAK?
I was raised to be strong. There was no time to be weak when your single mother is working several jobs to support the family and you have to help raise your two younger brothers. There is no time to be weak when there is no father around to lean on or learn from. There is no time to be weak when your family is on a distant island and there is nobody flying in to save the day. That was my life and for so long, I didn’t even believe that God could save the day.