Overestimated Power

It’s election time again, and politicians are making promises. At Labour’s 1987 election launch, then Prime Minister Bob Hawke famously said: "By 1990, no Australian child will be living in poverty".

Hawke was re-elected, and children continued to live in poverty. As powerful as Politicians are, they often overestimate their capacity to shape history. In truth, history shapes us more than we shape it. Poverty is a greater problem today than it was in 1987.

Pilate too is prone to overestimating his power. When Jesus fails to answer Pilate’s questions, Pilate announces “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus' response is to say “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”

Of recent humanity has been reminded again how powerless we are. Our capacity to control pandemics, weather, supply chains, or bring in a new world order of peace has been demonstrated as beyond us.

Jesus is the man with the greatest power at his disposal – more than 12 legions of angels! And he fails to access that power. Instead, he loves and trusts his father, and then submits to his will. And the outcome is the most glorious and decisive victory. In the first Easter, we see Isaiah’s words fulfilled – God’s ways are higher than our ways. (Isa 55:8)

Trusting God is far more than just intellectual assent to the notion that in theory, he knows better than we do. Belief in Jesus is far more than just understanding Jesus’ teaching.

Easter is a time to lay down our imagined whims that we have power, influence, control, and wisdom that can see us through any predicament. It is about dying to self so that we might be born again, and only then do we produce manyfold.

Rev David Rietveld Senior Minister


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