What would you do if your power was unlimited? If you had the power to do anything, what would it be? You could find a phone booth, grab your cape and be like Superman, flying about avenging injustice and stomping out evil. Sound good? It did to Jesus. Except Jesus didn’t use a phone booth and a cape. No x-ray vision, no powerful explosions. The first equipment He used included a bowl, a washcloth, and a towel.
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. … Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. – (John 13:1–5 excerpts (NIV84))
This was an act considered so demeaning, it could only be required of a gentile slave. Jesus knew there was no limit to the power God had given Him, so He humbled Himself and did what seemed to be the least powerful thing. What He did seemed weak, but in fact, that act of love still powerfully rips through the earth, destroying evil wherever it is remembered and imitated.
I suppose Jesus, with all power at His command, could have refused to go to the Cross. But He used His power to endure the assignment given by His Father, knowing it would ultimately defeat evil forever. At the time of His arrest, as Peter whipped out his sword to resist,
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” – (John 18:11 (NIV84))
When Pilate was looking for an excuse to release Him,
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” – (John 18:36 (NIV84))
In this world, people try to overcome evil with increasingly powerful acts of violence. We brag about “shock and awe.” We post signs saying, “This property protected by Smith and Wesson.” Of course, the bad guys are using the same tactics. Violence proliferates. But Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world, and He knows those ways don’t work. Because He had unlimited power, He chose unlimited acts of humble, powerful love.
His way works. His way wins.