Power Under Control (John 18)
The Greek word in our Bibles translated “gentleness” or “meekness” has a literal meaning of “strength under control.” The implications are vastly different from the idea of someone who is naturally passive or unassertive. One who is meek has power at his disposal, but willfully restrains it in expressions of love, kindness, mercy, and whatever the will of God requires.
God Himself is meek toward His people. Psalm 29:5 reveals that, “The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars.” Imagine that God speaks and the sheer power of the sound splits trees apart like a tornado! This is the power of His voice, but when it comes to His people, we read, “He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Though He could destroy us, he desires to love, save, bless, and nurture us.
Jesus shows us the epitome of meekness. Fully God and fully man, He possessed unlimited power at all times, but He restrained it under the Father’s will. Jesus’ temptations were mostly aimed at getting Him to use His power for His own purposes. When the devil said, “Command these stones to become bread,” he was saying, “Use Your power to help Yourself.” When Jesus was enduring the cross, the devil said through the leaders of Israel, “If you are the Son of God, use Your power to escape this torment! Come down off of the cross!” (Matthew 27:42). Submitted to the Father’s will, the all-powerful Lamb of God stayed there, in perfect meekness.
When Judas and a band of armed soldiers and officials approached Him in the garden, Jesus asked, “Whom do you seek?” “Jesus the Nazarene,” they said. Jesus said, “I am He,” and the power of God’s Son knocked them all to the ground. How shocking it must have been to approach the Lord with weapons, only to be knocked to the ground at the power of His voice!
Jesus did not do this to show off. He cared for His sheep. Without this display of power, the soldiers may have said, “We are rounding all of you up.” They might have laughed at Jesus’ request to let the disciples go free. However, bewildered by the power of the voice that knocked them to the ground, I believe they were inwardly afraid of Jesus in that moment. They reasoned, “Let’s do as He says.” And in that moment, Jesus’ words were fulfilled: “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one” (John 18:9).
Jesus is the Son of God in power, and we are creatures formed from the dust. Yet, God has given each of us a measure of power. Have we submitted it to the will of the Father? Will we submit our strength to the will of the Father going forward? If we do, we can be sure He will lead us to use it for the benefit of others, not to serve ourselves. For about eight hours a day, we have power to work for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Will we? We have power to use the remaining eight hours as we choose. We can use it selfishly, investing in earthly pleasures, or we can give ourselves as a servant for the benefit of others, like Jesus modeled for us (John 13:14-15). If we submit our power to the will of God, we can learn to love Him with all our strength. We can learn to be meek, like Him.
The Rock Church