Truth, Understanding, Insight

When I am Weak, Then I am Strong

25th January 2006, sjh


The accounts of the death of Jesus are surprising in just how weak he seems to be. We know from his earlier miracles that he was capable of so many things, and could defeat enemies, but yet here we see him as defeated under the strength of the opposition. Of his crucifixion, it was recorded,

Matthew 27:41: Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said, 42 "He saved others, but he can't save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, `I am the Son of God.'" WEB

If it were a typical movie, we would expect to see him show his superiority over the enemies, and prove that he was the Son of God, and must be respected. However, that wasn't the plan of God. Indeed the very fact that it happened that way should do something for our way of thinking.

It shows that true strength is in sometimes doing things that look weak. In Jesus' case he could have changed the day using the power of God, but it took a strong man to instead endure the humiliation for the sake of the eventual cause. The strength was in doing the right thing and submitting rather than demonstrating strength and individuality.

This is a theme through the Bible,

2 Corinthians 12:9: He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. WEB

1 Corinthians 1:27: but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28 and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are: 29 that no flesh should boast before God. WEB

There is a contrast, like in society it may be the strong man who can drive the fastest, but is it not stronger to resist the urge and drive safely? In society a wise man could be one that knows how to make a lot of money, but is it not wiser to learn how to communicate with the God that knows how to create the world?

This all requires a way of thinking that is different to the natural. It is a way of thinking that requires giving up a measure of individual control and instead joining into a team, the team led by God. It is a challenging task because it means a loss of pride among mainstream society, but it also makes life easier, because we have a strong boss to look after us and show us the wise thing to do.

But one other aspect of the weakness following God is that it really is just a weakness for a time. Jesus knew that his crucifixion and death weren't the end of the matter. He knew that with patience the strength of God would be shown physically to defeat the enemies. The time hasn't yet been right for it, but the believers in God know that the day will come when the strength of God will be known by all.

Of a future day it is said,

Joel 3:9: Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war. Stir up the mighty men. Let all the warriors draw near. Let them come up. 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, And your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, "I am strong." WEB

Strength is shown in patience. Those that weaken themselves to be part of the strongest team are the weak who are stronger than the strong.