Lent Meditation #4: The Power of the Cross

by | Apr 9, 2023 | Mission | 0 comments

Power is where it’s at! Is it not? Is not life a power struggle? Think about election time. Think about the culture war and seismic shift we are undergoing in Canada. Think about the recent truckers convoy to Ottawa, challenging the powers that be. Think about the major war currently taking place in the East.

While we are not all power hungry, we’re all grasping for power. Who of us doesn’t want power over our own lives? Who wants to feel powerless and unable to work for their happiness, security, health, and future? Who doesn’t want to be able to help others? In this sense we all want power, and that sounds reasonable. But why the pervasive struggle for power, from our small lives throughout the nations?

As I was meditating on the power of God through the cross, a movie I had seen in theatres came to mind, The Batman, to which I was reluctantly drug by my kids. To my surprise, it wasn’t bad.

Being DC lore and mythology, The Batman portrays a type of anti-hero with an alter-ego who struggles, shall I say unconventionally, against the evils of human civilization, which evil is metaphorically and symbolically portrayed by Gotham City—a dark, dangerous city where it always rains and the sun never shines. In this particular iteration of The Batman—spoiler warning—as the story comes to a conclusion, the message is: “Yes, the city is absolutely corrupt. Remove the bad people and new ones immediate spring up like weeds. It will be the death of The Batman to try and save the city. And his response was, “I know! But I have to try!”” All of Bruce Wayne’s wealth, all of his tools as Batman, all the power he had was not enough … but he was going to die trying. That was the noble moral of the story. It was well done, well acted, but pointless and without hope, appealing to the the last vestiges of human pride that ‘we can fix it.’ I get it. When you have not the gospel what else are you going to do! It doesn’t help that the entire Batman story begs the question by ignoring God and the fall of man while assuming distinct categories of good people and evil people, and that good must triumph over evil. Sadly, a part from emotionalism, the story has no philosophical basis for right and wrong, nor for explaining the reality of moral evil, much less resolve it. The DC Universe is lost at sea, tossed to and fro by stormy waves, it is pointless and powerless mythology set in the tumultuous transition from Christendom to Secularism, while running on the final dissipating fumes of what once was. Thus, it is never able to produce permanent change for the good. Life is a power struggle where evil seems to dominate much of the time, and there is nothing The Batman can do about it.

I will say, even thought it has no gospel, Batman’s Gotham is a pretty good, generalized caricature of the world in which we live.

Fortunately, there’s a superior and complete narrative of reality where ultimate power resides—not with man but—with God.

Our Triune God is the Sovereign Lord of all, King and kings and Lord of lords (Psalm 136:3, Deuteronomy 10:17, 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, 19:16).

It is our good Father, who is Lord of heaven and earth (Matthew 11:25), who has appointed government for our good and his glory. And when those appointed abuse their power he deals with them justly in his time and way.

The point is, power doesn’t innately reside in any created being. It has always been given and sustained from above. This is equally true of the power by which you and I seek to live out our lives.

Power for living, from the get-go, all the way back to Eden, has always been known and experienced in and through the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord (John 1:1-4). But the free flow of this power to live was disrupted by our fall into sin, which fall put us under the awful lordship and bondage of the father of lies. Hence, the deep and chaotic power struggle of history. Yet, power is being restored in Christ, and part of that is us continually learning to let him live in us and through us (Galatians 2:20) till this restoration comes to everlasting fullness and perfection at the appointed time. Until that great day of the Lord, we live in the chaotic mess of a massive struggle for power.

Thankfully God is sovereign and cannot be thwarted.

This is what the cross is about, restoring power to its rightful place. And, it begins with Jesus and his redeeming and transforming work in us. Let’s look into that.

Go to and read Colossians 2:6-15.

(1) The purpose of the cross is to personally and relationally root us “once again” in the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the Light and Life of all people (2:6-7; cf. John 1:1-5).

This is exactly where we need to be for he is the one through whom and for whom all things were made, and in whom all things hold together (1:15-18). Therefore, the purpose of the cross is to “re-establish us” now and forever in Christ as our rightful Lord (reversing the usurping work of the serpent; see Genesis 3).

This is an inherently good thing because Jesus is the most humble Sovereign Lord you will ever find! Go to Mark 10:35-45 and note the power-grab and how Jesus disarms it. Assuming the sufficiency of the cross to save us, how does Jesus command to us look in action? Read on in Mark 10:46-52. What a wonderful exercise of power! What if we all walked around every day asking one another “What do you want me to do for you?” and then used whatever powers we are endowed with to serve one another? That would be heaven on earth! This is the invitation of the cross, by which God works these wonders in us and through us.

(2) Therefore, we are to guard against being swayed from Christ as Lord (2:8; cf. 2:4), being alert to the finest of human philosophies, promises, and spiritual experiences, all of which, at the end of the day, amount to empty deceit, having been sourced from demons and packaged in human tradition. Rather, we must be thoroughly grounded in Christ. For we are made complete in Christ, in whom alone dwells the whole fullness of God (2:9-10; in whom alone are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, 2:3).

What is particularly tricky is that these Colossian believers are unwittingly being exhorted to “add” to Christ from Jewish and Hellenistic sources, which deceit appears to be wise and godly. But these deceptions are implicitly saying that Christ is not enough, that they need more, which in reality is enticing them away from Christ by implying an inadequate Christ. The fact is no supplement is required to Christ.

And so Paul struggles (1:24-2:23) to warn them that they need nothing other than Christ, in whom they both find the gift of God himself and his power to truly live as they were meant to live (3:1 to 4:6).

They couldn’t ask for nor find a more heightened experience than knowing Christ crucified and raised (3:1-4).

Nothing has changed in the 21st century and nothing will. Watch out for the wisdom of the age, of our age. Every age will always have bits of “truth,” as we are God’s creatures living in God’s world, but outside of Christ there will not be “the truth.”

(3) Let us now dwell on the means by which God’s power works in our lives (2:11-14).

First, there is coming under the lordship of Jesus (2:6) through the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul combines two metaphors to aid our understanding and submission. One such metaphor is spiritual circumcision. That is, the Spirit puts off the body of flesh—also known as the old man, the unregenerate unbelieving person we once were—through the cross of Christ. This can happen because our sin-debt to the law has been paid in full by Christ, and so we can be released from the judgment-bound, sin-prison in which we were confined. The other metaphor speaks to the same reality in the symbolism of going down into the waters of baptism, which is burial into death with Christ, so we can be raised up, symbolized by coming out of the waters of baptism, to new life in the resurrected Christ (2:11-14).

This is powerful imagery revealing the power of God (2:12), what God does in us by faith! This is also why Paul sternly warned the Colossians about, and lovingly rebuked them for, being duped into adding to the work of God in Christ. There is simply no room for demon-inspired, human addition. What could we ever do to improve upon God’s work? Nothing! It is Jesus alone who is over all (2:9-10).

Second, and this is the bottom line, is that the complete, all-powerful work of God through the cross frees us who believe from all that would bind us, our sin, the demonic, and human harassment, opposition, and persecution. No one, not even ourselves, has anything on us, we are fully cleared and truly free in Christ (2:15).

Third, we are never to go back to what once enslaved us (2:4, 8, 16-23) but onward in learning to live out our new life in Christ (3:1 to 4:6). This is the power of the cross.

The cross of Christ is where we seek, again and again, to give up the lie of power from Genesis 3:5, the lie that we can stand in God’s place over our own lives and the lives of one another. That’s the usurping and abuse of power, and the reason for all the moral evils of the world. Realize that God in Christ is enough for you, you have all you need, you just need to ask, seek, and knock and you will receive.

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