Who has ever seen a king who enters battle waving a white flag of surrender?
Our great Savior did just that. Behold Jesus, Eternal Majesty humbly come to earth, standing silently before the people he had created as they spit accusations and foamed and raged against him. Roman governor Pilate, perhaps frustrated that Jesus would not defend himself, finally asked him “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied that his kingdom was not of this world; if it was, then his servants would take up arms and fight for him. But the “not-of-this-world” kingdom is not advanced by physical exertion of violence; rather, it is advanced through subversion of the evil standards of the earth through bearing witness to the truth. Our world’s Babylonian systems of influence through power and manipulation cannot stand against the tide of truth and love. The spoils of war will go to the one who fought by wielding the supreme weapon of pure, unadulterated, sacrificial love and complete obedience to his Father’s will, with no thought for his own welfare, no consideration of his own deserved glory.
Jesus’s death seemed to be grotesque and crushing defeat, the end of all hope and promise. But come Resurrection Day, all the universe—seen and unseen—was blinded by the flash of life and promise as the angel rolled away the gravestone and our Living One strode up from decay, into the land of the living. His death and resurrection completely blindsided satan; made mockery of the powers of hell; thoroughly defied and vanquished the pollution and depravity of sin; was victorious over our dreadful, final enemy—death; and breathed life into a people without strength or hope.
So, anguished helplessness became overcoming victory; humiliation and surrender became exaltation and triumph. The people who had dwelt in darkness, then rejoiced as they saw a great light, and then were plunged into despair as that light was viciously snuffed out, now realized with astonished clarity that the Light of the world, alive and glorious, had been revealed to humble earth and was the true Lord of life and Conqueror of wickedness. “So powerless that he could not save himself, Jesus was dying to save others and embrace the whole world.” (Os Guinness, Fool’s Talk). By stretching his arms out in ignominious death, Jesus extended the embrace of the Triune Eternal One to all creation.
In a world that seeks power and influence, the one who did not grasp after his own glory bids us to come and bow in humility, with love and gratitude for all he has done for us. In Jesus, all God’s promises and goodness are on display, and he invites those who are willing to come and receive all that he offers. It is glorious, and it is free for anyone who will believe.
And the angel showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb…And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely (Revelation 22:1,17).