By Bill Muehlenberg
THERE Kim Kardashian was, the 33-year-old celeb, famous for being, well I guess, just famous, giving Jesus a bit of free publicity. While she may thrive on such publicity, I don't think Jesus really needs it.
The context is this: back in 2012, when the superceleb was in Sydney, she was asked a few hot questions. One news item tells the story this way: "Asked who she would like to be if she could swap lives with anyone in the world for 24 hours, the reality starlet chose the Son of God. Why? 'Because I think it would be pretty fascinating to see the power that he had,' she told news.com.au."
Perhaps it is a sensible interest. But actually, had she read a bit of the New Testament, she would have enough information to satisfy her curiosity. Indeed, simply watching the 2003 film Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carrey would have given her some clues. There we find Bruce Nolan (Carrey) given divine powers for a two-week period.
He quickly discovered that this was not such a smart request. It is a tough job being God, especially when he learns God won't mess with people's free will. After a fortnight he is more than happy to relinquish things back to the real God, and get on with his ordinary life.
But – and more importantly – back to the biblical account, The New Testament makes it clear that power was not something Jesus was really on about while on earth. Indeed, denying His power, or refusing to use it to His own advantage, is what the real Jesus was often all about.
A famous scene demonstrating this is found in the Gospel book of John. In chapter 19, verses 9 to 11, we read about this amazing encounter between Jesus and Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea: "'Where do you come from?' he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 'Do you refuse to speak to me?' Pilate said. 'Don't you realise I have power either to free you or to crucify you?' Jesus answered, 'You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin'."
He deliberately refused to use His power here, submitting Himself instead to the cruelty of the cross, so that He might secure salvation for those who would trust in Him. He could easily have wiped out the entire Roman Empire with a snap of his finger, but He chose not to, for our sakes.
Consider also Philippians chapter 2, verses 6 to 8. It is one of the more important and sublime discussions of Jesus, power, and how He dealt with it while on earth. It says this:
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!”
In verses 9 to 11 the text goes on to say that God afterwards exalted Jesus massively to the highest place.
And of course we read in the book of Revelation how the one who first created the entire universe will come back with sword in hand to bring judgement to the earth, and to all those who have rejected Him. He is certainly the most powerful being in the entire universe, but He restrained His great power while here among us.
Thus if Kim really wants to know about His power, she should read through the New Testament. And if she did, she should tremble at what she finds there. She would not want to know His power, or have His power. It would fell her in an instant.
Only one man could use that power and use it wisely, lovingly, and effectively. That was the man Jesus Christ. We praise Him for His great power, but we also must praise Him for how He chose to not use that power. He alone could create all there is, yet chose to constrain and hide this great power.
As Graham Kendrick said in his great hymn; The Servant King: “Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered.” That is real power.
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