Man’s Feeble Power
Since the fall of Man in Eden, men have pursued power to fulfill selfish desires. “Power” comes from the Latin, potis, meaning, “to be able” and “strength, vigor and control”. Men seek power to in an attempt to control other men (political, economic), natural resources (land, resources) and even life itself (longevity, health). Through the acquisition and use of power, men hope to increase physical pleasure (wealth, possessions, sensual, sexual) and emotional/mental pleasure (enjoyment, pride, greed, lust).
Man’s pursuit of power is futile for it does not lead to lasting happiness due to Original Sin. Modern Man has gained some control over nature (agriculture, weather, nuclear science, manufacturing), human life (genetics, medical technology) and over the pursuit of happiness (psychology, philosophy, communications and media). But Man’s growing power through advancements in science/technology has not made Man happy. Man’s power is feeble, for it offers only the emptiness in possessions, the discomfort of conflict/war, the temporary indulgence of selfish desire and can not avoid the finality of death. Man’s futile grasping for power does not bring lasting peace and joy.
In contrast to the feebleness of human power, Jesus Christ possesses both the highest human powers and Divine Power. Jesus is given all power and authority over heaven and earth by the Father (Matt 28:18; John 5:19-29) and sits at the “right hand of Power” (Mark 14:62). Christ is born without Sin (John 8:46; 1 Pet 2:22), calls Yahweh, “Father” (John 2:16) and has the authority to offer completely new interpretations of the 1300 year-old Law (Matt 5:17-19), the Sabbath (Matt 12:8) and the Temple (John 4:21). Christ forgives sins (Mark 2:5) and offers lasting peace and joy (John 14:27; CCC 736). Despite His awesome power, Jesus Christ is humble (Matt 11:29) and refuses to take earthly political power (John 6:15).
Many in the New Testament are awed by the power of Jesus Christ. Herod (Matt 2:13) and Pilate (John 19:8) are intimidated by Jesus. Wise men “fall down and worship Him” (Matt 2:11). Demons fear him (Matt 8:29). The Jewish leadership is afraid of Jesus (Mark 11:18) and amazed (Matt 22:22). Roman guards and temple guards “draw back and fall to the ground” at Gethsemane (John 18:6). The crowds and disciples are “filled with awe” (Mark 4:41), “astonished” (Luke 5:9), “amazed” (Mark 10:24), “utterly astounded” (Mark 6:51) and are “exceedingly afraid” (Luke 9:34).
The Power of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ manifests His power in astounding ways:
Has the power of Creation – Present at Creation, Jesus Christ shares in the absolute power of the Father (John 1:1-5).
Has immense physical power – Jesus Christ endures 40 days in the desert without eating (Luke 4:2). Jesus lives a physically demanding life as a first century carpenter and as itinerant preacher; one source suggests Jesus traveled almost the circumference of the earth; 25,000 miles.
Has a powerful personal presence – People are awed by the personal presence of Jesus. His presence attracts: Wise men (Matt 2:1), disciples (Matt 4:18-22) and crowds (Matt 4:25). His Divine nature shines through His human nature in His personality and physical appearance (His body, face, and particularly His gaze (Luke 6:20; Mark 3:5)). Jesus confronts the merchants and moneychangers and single-handedly clears the massive (35 acres) temple area (John 2:15).
Has the power to avoid physical coercion – Jesus mysteriously is able to avoid angry crowds who seek to control or kill him (Matt 12:15, Luke 4:30, John 6:15).
Has great healing power – Jesus Christ demonstrates His dominion by healing all maladies including those of the skin (Mark 1:40-45), bones (Luke 6:6-11; 13:10-17), nervous system (Luke 9:37-42), internal organs (Mark 5:24-34), the eyes (Matt 9:27-31) the ears (Mark 7:31-37), the tongue (Matt 9:32-34) and a severed ear (Luke 22:47-53). This power is palpable and real and radiates from Him (Luke 6:19; 8:44).
Has power over nature/Creation – Jesus demonstrates astounding power over nature including weather (Matt 8:26), the sea (Mark 6:48), light and darkness (Matt 17:2; Luke 23:44), earthquakes (Matt 27:51), creatures (Mark 5:1-11), material objects (Matt 17:24-27) and has the ability to multiply loaves and fishes (Mark 6:32-44). He is mysteriously transformed in the Transfiguration (Matt 17:2).
Has power over death – Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56) and Lazarus (John 11:44) from the dead. Jesus raises Himself from death at the Resurrection (Mark 16:6).
Has the power to summon angels and the dead – Angels minister to Him at the Temptation (Mark 1:12-13), Gethsemane (Luke 22:43) and respond to His call (Matt 26:53). Jesus summons Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:30).
Has transfer power disciples – Jesus grants power to His disciples (Matt 10:1, Luke 9:2) including the ability to forgive sins (John 20:22-23; CCC 976).
Has the power to respond to prayer – Jesus promises to answer prayers (John 14:13).
Has mysterious powers in His Glorified Body – After the Resurrection, Jesus is able to change His appearance (Luke 24:16), enter closed rooms (John 20:26) and ascend to heaven (Mark 16:19).
Can send the Holy Spirit – Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit before His Passion (John 14:26) and sends the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
Has the power of the Real Presence – Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist at every single Mass: “the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained [in the Eucharist]” (CCC 1374).
Has the power of Salvation – Granted by the Father, Jesus Christ has the power to forgive sins against God (Mark 2:5) save all who believe in Him (John 11:25). Has the power to mediate between God and man (John 14:6) and will judge each person by their “works and hearts” (John 5:22; CCC 679).