I grew up in church hearing about Jesus. When you are a kid the things that stand out to you are the miracle stories. It is a lot easier for a Bible School teacher to hold a kid’s attention teaching about freeing a man of a legion of demons and scattering them into a herd of angry pigs than it is to teach children about the power it took for Jesus to forgive even just one person one single sin…much less to die for the sins of the world.
It should not be true that everything you know about Jesus you learned in Sunday School as a kid. The picture of a powerful Jesus we got when we were kids is true but it tended to focus on his power to change or transform physical things, rather than spiritual. While both are important, it is equally important that we don’t teach one at the exclusion of the other. It takes power to cast out demons. It takes power to raise the dead. It takes power to heal a lame man. We sure thought Jesus was powerful but the ironic thing is that all of these things pale in comparison to how powerful he was and is when it comes to spiritual matters. While people marveled at Jesus’ miraculous powers (Mtt 13:54) that was only a hint of the kind of power that is truly powerful. You cast out a demon but the man still dies, some day. You heal paralysis and the man still dies, some day. You heal a leper but the man still dies, some day. But if you forgive sins…that is power indeed! That is the kind of power that works over and above even death itself! We see this in Mark 2 when Jesus heals the paralyzed man. He says healing legs is easy compared to forgiving sins (Mark 2:9).
Now let’s extrapolate the power that is even more powerful than healing legs and raising the dead from then until now. What Jesus did on the cross was intended to erase the sins of the 13 billion+ people who have walked the face of the earth in the history of the world. Multiply that out to every sin committed by each of those people and you are talking about a lot of sins! And yet, Jesus had the power to forgive each one of them for those who would turn to him through faith. That is a lot of power! Now zoom in close and examine yourself. All the sins you have committed, Jesus is willing and able to forgive! Praise God that he is powerful enough to do so. Any single one of those would be enough for you to stand condemned in God’s heavenly court. It is amazing to me that the only thing God is able to forget is that which would keep us from being in his presence!
We have to realize that the true power of Jesus is not limited only to miracles worked during a 3 year period in a territory no larger than Rhode Island. While the flash and glitz normally gets our attention as we read about all kinds of physical healings, it was the spiritual healing that Jesus did and still does today that ultimately shows us just how powerful he really is. If you want to see a truly powerful act, observe the God of the universe, who has authority to carry out the ultimate justice against those who have rebelled against Him, and watch Him act mercifully to those who deserve eternal punishment. We see it in God. We see it in Jesus. The question is, do we see it in the way we treat those around us?