Monday, September 12, 2011

Power Under Control

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
Matthew 27:27-31

After the traitorous kiss of his betrayer, his false friend, the Son of Destruction (Matthew 26:47-50; John 17:12), Jesus was arrested and would soon begin His long walk to the cross. And that long walk began with not one, but six unlawful trials.

First, Jesus went before Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest (John 18:12-23). Then Jesus was tried before Caiaphas (the high priest) and the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; John 18:24), where He was condemned to die. The next morning Jesus appeared again before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1). Jesus' fourth trial occurred when He was presented to Pilate for the first time (Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1; John 18:28-32). The Lord's fifth trial was before Herod (Luke 23:6-12). Herod then returned Jesus to Pilate where He would endure His sixth and final trial (Luke 23:13-25; John 19:1-16).

Immediately following His horrific flogging (Matthew 20:19; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:16), and just before His final trial in front of Pontious Pilate, Jesus endured further humiliation and suffering at the hands of Roman soldiers. And it wasn't a small band of soldiers. It was an entire battalion--six hundred men who held the Jews in contempt, and who thought even less of a condemned Jew who was accused of trying to usurp the throne of Caesar by declaring Himself to be a King.

They fashioned a mock crown out of thorns and placed it on His head, likely ripping the flesh from His scalp. They gave Him a scepter made from a reed and then beat Him about the head with it. They knelt before Him in mock worship.

He did not speak a word. God in the flesh, who could have called down the wrath of His Father upon the sinful soldiers, did not respond in kind. He was the epitome of meekness. He exercised perfect power under perfect control. And He would continue to exercise perfect meekness to His last breath as He struggled to utter His last words on the cross. "It is finished!"

Looking back to the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus first spoke of meekness, it seems that He was not only encouraging His disciples to live godly, set apart lives; but that He was also speaking prophetically about how His own exercise of power under control would impact the world. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

After defeating sin and death on the cross and through His glorious resurrection, Jesus would command His disciples to proclaim the gospel to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15). But first He would encourage them with these words. ""All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18).

The One whose meekness surpasses that of all others is the same One who inherited the Earth. He is the same One the Father glorified by giving Him all authority, not only in Heaven, but on Earth as well.

Evangelist, in honor of and love for the Lord Jesus Christ, you, too, must exercise power under control. You must be meek as He was meek. What does that mean?

The Word of God, the great sword of the Spirit that you wield, must never be used with malice. Your zeal and your passion to declare the Word of the Lord must be tempered with meekness. No greater power will ever be entrusted to you than the proclamation of the gospel. And you must exercise control, by the ever-present assistance of the Holy Spirit, by always speaking the truth in love. Let not your meekness be tainted and weakened by the sins of harsh words, abusive rhetoric, mocking tones, and self-promoting eloquence.

The Lord Jesus Christ manifested perfect strength through perfect meekness. And we, as heralds of His gospel, must seek to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29) as we strive to glorify Him by exercising power under control, as we declare Him Lord to the masses.

Don't quit.