Hi everyone. Rob here.
I’ve been pondering the profound relationship in Scripture between power and powerlessness. We see this relationship described in Colossians 2:15.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
The cross rendered the powers and authorities powerless. They did all they could to prevent the invasion of God’s kingdom through Jesus, but their acts of power failed. Jesus Christ absorbed their blows and overcame the power of death that the authorities thought they held. The cross is much more than an event though. It is also a pattern.
Here’s what I mean. The big problem that the story of Adam and Eve tells us is the problem of ego. When they reached for the fruit, urged on by the serpent, they reached for divinity. We made ourselves the centre of existence. The human problem is that we are in the way of our true humanity, and we are still urged on by the voice of the serpent.
If you dig underneath the problems of this world you will find ego as the underlying issue. Environmental degradation, war, crime, inequality, sexual violence – it all comes down to people wanting their own way at a very profound level. Law can restrain this urge, but it can’t remove it. It’s the same with willpower. The solution has to be much more radical than that. Our egos have to die.
Now, having a sense of self is essential to being human. Healthy ego development is utterly necessary. But our sense of self needs to come from the One whose image we bear. Anything that gets in the way of that needs to be put to death. On the cross Jesus takes away our sin. That is, he takes away our delusions of grandeur, our pretensions to divinity, our self-reliance that comes from a fundamental loss of trust that God will take care of us. That is the old self. It manifests itself as both pride and shame; arrogance and insecurity. This is because the unanchored ego is a veneer, an illusion. To keep it going you have to believe lies that are readily supplied by the enemy of our souls. They are basically a variation of “you are everything” and “you are nothing.”
Jesus came to give us our humanity back. To do this he modelled to us the surrender of the ego.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
Of course it was more than being a role model. It was a decisive cosmic victory over the powers of darkness that relied on the illusion of power to keep their system going. What is our response? It is to enter into the death of Jesus so that the false self can die and the true human arise.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Grace and peace everyone.