Summary: Easter reflection series: Jesus had power to subdue his enemies who came for him, why did He refuse to act with power and how we can respond with His life when power seduces us
Easter Reflection Series
A. The Fallacy of Power
Ever seen an abacus? U know those centipede-like things with wooden beads in rows. It’s a Chinese adding machine, calculator and PC even before the PC was invented. Still in use today in Asia, and perhaps u may still see it in Chinatowns here in Canada. They’ve been already for at least a couple thousand years. Apparently they are every effective and practical. Should see them in use, it’s as if these guys using this tool could count coffee beans, they go so fast! Furthermore, they’re very nice to look at, played with it as a kid. Older they get, the better they look. Last a lifetime, never needs updating, all the software needed to run it is between your ears. Even if they break, it is usually easily repaired.
A while ago, Japanese/American Co. wanted to moved into the Chinese market. So they arranged a contest to demonstrate the value of pocket calculators. Imagine the scene on the day of that contest. Big corporate types, with their powerful pocket calculators, with macho ozzing out, like a scene out of the Matrix, modern sophisticated machine/electronics versus a Chinese man with a wooden abacus. Guess who won? HK chap by the name of Chan Kai Kit (senior clerk for a shipping co.)!
Similarly, the world is seduced by this imagery of power! From power suits to Power Rangers... We think using our human smarts and our modern equipment, with technologies that can clone human beings, manipulate genes, with our power to destroy life at any moment with a single bomb that will make Hiroshima look like an XT compared to a Pentium 4, we think we have evolved into a better society. But the past week’s news will jolt us back to reality.
Friday, I heard in the news, reports coming from GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - On the deadliest day of the 17-month-old conflict, Israeli troops killed 32 Palestinians, including two children and a general, in raids of villages and refugee camps today. A Palestinian shot dead five Israeli teen-agers in an attack on dormitories and a Bible study hall in a Jewish settlement.
The past week has been the bloodiest since fighting erupted in September 2000, with 104 Palestinians and 35 Israelis killed. The deaths came in a string of Palestinian shooting and bombing attacks on Israeli civilians, and intense Israeli retaliation, with tanks and helicopters often firing at populated Palestinian areas.
We think we can handle life as if it was a Croc. Dundee movie – classic scene punk with a switchblade, comes at him and he says “You call that a knife?” and shows his humongous bayonet. There seems to be an idea that the bigger you are, the more powerful you are, the more intimidation you can bring to the table, the more secure in life you can be. With more power, you will come out on top. That’s why in hockey, you have a power play, take advantage of other team when they’re one or two player short, exploit their weakness, go for the kill and you will be on top! Most people translate that into real life – get the powerful cars out on the roads and race, let’s see who’s more powerful, get the computer etc… who’s gonna come out on top. With all their carpet bombing, and so-called smart bombs that can destroy underground caves, with all their firepower from their bombers, still the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces could not be destroyed. This past week, we’ve heard of the tragedies that could’ve been avoided, but for the seduction of power. Some American, Israeli, Palestinian, Vancouver teenagers lives would still be around, but oh the seduction of power.
O the awful price of power, it seduces us to believe that real thrills, real joys, real life when u have the power. Charles Colson, a person who once tasted power of politics in the White House, once said: “Power is like saltwater; the more you drink the thirstier you get.” Some also said: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
And it was this felt power that fuelled the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. The power of the mob (v.8-16) that demanded “Crucify Him.” It was power of Rome that finally approved that Jesus be hung on the cross It was the power of the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin that decided to accuse Jesus of treason as the king of the Jews opposed to Roman rule.
It was the power of the Roman soldier thought they had that they put a purple robe on Jesus and a crown of thorns and mocked Him. It was their sense of power over Jesus that they struck him and spat on him, and when they had finished doing their thing to his body , they led him out to be nailed to the cross! It was power that they felt over Jesus, that those on that day insulted Jesus, “come down and save yourself!” Read v.31-32