John 19:11 (New International Version)
11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above..."
I thought about power and trust this morning after reading chapter 19 of the book of John and some more of Philip Yancey's book on prayer.
The chapter in John takes the reader into the maelstrom of the hours before the crucifixion of Jesus. As governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate was a powerful man and no stranger to political maneuvering. He had offended the Jews more than once and managed to survive politically, but now he was caught in a situation from which there was no way out. He knew that there were no grounds to justify the punishment of crucifixion and in desperation and fear said to Jesus, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
Jesus' reply said everything there is to say about power. Man doesn't give power--God does.
Interestingly, what I read in Yancey's book on prayer was about helplessness. I've experienced coming to God in absolute desperation and helplessness--and found peace, answers and a way out when there seemed to be none.
This goes so much against the flow of our culture of independence, personal power and self reliance. Coming to God at the start of each day and declaring that without him we are helpless, could seem weak and powerless, but as Yancey says, if we lack the humility to do that, "All the while we are systematically sealing off the heart attitude most desirable to God and most descriptive of our true state in the universe."
Trust is placing ourselves, helpless and vulnerable, in the hands of another. We can only safely do that with God. As for power--I recognize how little I truly have when all is said and done.
I am content in knowing the One who is all powerful.
Isaiah 53:3 (New International Version)
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.