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Power Through Submission


Many theologians have remarked that Scripture begins with a wedding. But the happy beginning quickly turns to divorce. God pursues, but when they are confronted, Adam and Eve mumble excuses, blame each other, and flee.

This month we have noted how John portrays Christ’s coming as a grand drama of a "new creation" of the people of God, with Jesus both as fulfillment of the old and focal point of the new. In our reading today we have a warped replaying of Genesis 3. In this scene the people seek God in the garden. But God does not hide. He waits for the grotesque "judgment" to come. Creation itself appears ready to unravel. Jesus lets this script play out, and in so doing, reveals the weakness of the world and His power and majesty.

Unlike the first Adam, Jesus will not flinch from the cup of His Father’s wrath.

Though at no point is Jesus merely passive. There is enormous power in His submission. Many Bible versions have Jesus saying, "I am he," in verse 5, but the Greek texts leave off the "he." Jesus’ reply is simply, "I am." In the context it is a simple way to say, "Yes," but John means for us to see this statement in light of all His other "I am" statements. Jesus shows His equality with the Father and the absurdity of their actions.

Creation began when God declared, "Let there be light." Here darkness and disorder seem to reign. Peter denies Christ. Caiaphas maneuvers to add to the danger. Both instances serve to highlight the power of God’s love. Even Caiaphas testifies to this in spite of himself (v. 14). Though the worst is yet to come, we are safe. Creation shall not be unmade after all, but renewed.

Apply the Word

We are sometimes told that God "needs" us to do something. This implies God is helpless in a broken world. Today’s text contradicts this assertion. Even when "powerless," Christ still is full of power, and when we forget this we are likely to imitate Peter (v. 10). We are not needed—but we are wanted! His love conquers us, love motivates our service for Him.

BY David Mathwin

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