This world defines strength in terms of armies, resources, and authority: kings dictators, heads of state, leaders of all variety; democracy, theocracy, republic, kingdom, federation; mighty armies, nuclear arsenals, aircraft carriers, fanatical fighters; incalculable treasure troves, powerful economies, offshore accounts, deep wells, deeper pockets; multibillionaire software executives, railroad barons, oil sheiks, financial empires; vast political systems, capitalism, communism, free markets.
This amazing world, with its collective resources and fragmented will, has evolved into an immense network of development, invention, poverty, abuse, learning, exploitation, opportunity, oppression, freedom, weakness, and strength. The application of technology has increased the scope of wealth and power, depleted resources, made and squandered fortunes, and created as well as obliterated jobs, leaving economies strong – or reeling – at an impossible rate.
But take a look at the reach of Jesus: an upper room, a humble Savior, and one small band of followers. Jesus’ followers, who were seated together around the dinner table, could see clearly the evidence of one of the most abusive and corrupt empires this planet had known to date. Caesar’s empire had its iron fist clamped tightly around the tiny nation of Israel, with legions ready to implement the brutal Pax Romana. The power of global repression was firmly in place, but Jesus came to Jerusalem prepared to offer his followers a new and living way, a standard to carry that he would pay for with his blood, and the kind of peace that could neither be established nor removed by any authority of this world.
Today, the world offers just as much danger and repression in its own amplified version of “In this world you will have trouble.”
Yet Jesus states, humbly, categorically, and with complete confidence, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).– Derek Maul, Reaching Toward Easter