What comes to your mind when you think of the phrase – “the power of God”? Do you envision a thunderous waterfall; a pounding surf; the wonder of the Grand Canyon; the voice of God in a window-rattling eruption of thunder; a sunset that paints the skies and takes your breath away?
Those are powerful sounds and sights to be sure. But there is more. Something so powerful it changed all of history in one moment – forever.
Do you remember (or did you hear at all) that a place that has long billed itself as the “National” Cathedral – a supposedly Christian house of worship in Washington DC - hosted a Muslim prayer service instead. And those who participated in that event did something very deliberate when they prayed.
They turned their backs on the cross.
Many, many people in this day and age, and throughout history hate the cross and what it represents – which is this – Jesus Christ crucified.
And in that alone, we discover the power of God.
You see, before God created the world; before He created you or me or the millions of people who came before us; before time ever began –
God had a plan.
It was a plan so astounding, so contrary to human thought; so 180-degrees opposite of anything we would every come up with that many, many people have a hard time believing it – even today.
God knew the human beings He would eventually create, would swallow a lie and believe He was holding out on them. He knew they would disobey Him, plunging creation into chaos and ushering death into the world because who would want the unloving, lying, murderous mess that mankind quickly became to live forever (have you read about Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Herod and darn near everyone?).
God knew it was going to happen.
He also knew He had a plan to redeem it.
He Himself would come to this earth, inhabiting a body like the humans He’d created so no one could sing “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen,” experience all that trouble, the hatred, the rejection, the violence even while teaching, healing and loving in spite of it all, then dying on the cross to redeem the mess and reconcile us back into relationship with Him.
Why a cross? Because it was the most despised, torturous form of death Rome had devised at that time to execute “criminals”.
But Jesus wasn’t a criminal. The human beings He’d created were – then and now.
What does it mean to be a criminal? It means to break a law.
What laws have we broken? Let’s start with these:
“I am the Lord your God…“You shall have no other gods before (besides) me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns…
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:2-17)
Add to these the finer points that Jesus made and that James and John wrote about:
“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
That’s why we need a Savior.
That Savior is Jesus – God the Son – the only One Who could and did die for our sins and then rise again – defeating sin and death.
No man could do it. No prophet. No feel-good mantra.
Only Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
But God chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise; God chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the strong; and God chose what the world looks down on as common or regards as nothing in order to bring to nothing what the world considers important; so that no one should boast before God.
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29 CJB)
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