Was Jesus Really Powerful?

"Who do you think is powerful?"

I heard this question recently.

At first I thought of such people as; Theodore Roosevelt,  Gen. George Patton, George Washington, St. Augustine, Margaret Thatcher, and lastly.....Jesus.

I was uncomfortable by how easily I placed Jesus near the bottom of my powerful person totem pole.  But upon further inspection I realized that I was judging power by earthly standards alone. I realized that Jesus wasn't powerful by earthly standards.  He was poor, obscure, divisive, choose bad followers, and died in disgrace. I was sort of like the pharisees who expected a Messiah who would defeat the occupying Romans.  In my case I preferred a Jesus who was sort of like a spiritual superman, killing the bad guys while saving the good ones.

I was wrong.  This is why.

In one scene in the bible the disciples are debating among themselves about who was the most powerful.  Jesus' reply was stunning:

"And he sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." And he took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." Mark 9:35-37
There you have it.  To be powerful in the eyes of God one must become like a child. Why a child? Aren't children impulsive, powerless, and totally dependent?  What Jesus means is that one must become a child through mentality not maturity.  A child instinctively knows that he/she can't survive on their own.  This flies smack against what the world teaches us.  The world teaches instead that power comes through success, wealth, and victory. In our country success is defined through rugged individualism, relying exclusively on one's self to get something done.  This is not what Jesus taught.  Jesus taught instead that true power comes from being powerless. 

The beautiful thing about this realization is that it makes life so much simpler.  I don't have to try to be successful anymore. God will take care of everything for me.  The only thing that I need to do is to come to him like a child. Once I do this I will become truly powerful.

I like to end this post with these following words of St. Josemaria Escriva: 

"Being children you will have no cares: children quickly forget what troubles them and return to their games. With abandonment, therefore, you will not have to worry, since you will rest in the Father."  The Way (864)


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