“Men, Meet Jesus!” Weekly: The Power of Jesus Christ
Author’s note: Perhaps the core reason that so many men are Casual Catholics is that they don’t know Jesus Christ. For many, Jesus is distant: conceptual, abstract, theological, vague, a historical artifact…not a real Person who is alive and rules the world today.
For many men, the first step in building a life of faith is to meet Jesus. In some ways, a man can meet Jesus as he might another person: you see him from afar, learning things about Him, observing His manhood and personality, listening to what He says. As you meet Jesus with your mind from afar, you can not help but be awed: Jesus is the most impressive man you’ve never met…for He is God Himself.
As you become more familiar with Jesus and become more impressed, you will naturally want to get to know Him better; this is the stage of personal prayer. Moving from saying rote prayers where a man’s lips move but his heart does not, personal prayer is an open dialog with Jesus Christ; here a man speaks of his uncertainty, his sorrows, his joys and his needs. A man also begins to realize that Jesus Christ has given him everything and then the man’s heart begins to offer genuine and soul-stirring thanksgiving.
At this point, a man has realized that Christ is the Source of everything, the Divine Power and Grace that keeps the world in motion and provides for man’s every need. Man can do nothing but to fall on his knees in gratitude, surrendering in the poverty of spirit to the leadership and care of Jesus Christ and becoming a disciple of the King. Now, both a man’s head and his heart knows not only about Jesus, but has begun to know the Person, Jesus Christ.
The Meeting Jesus Weekly Series is an attempt to help men approach Jesus Christ with their minds, observing Jesus Christ as the Awesome King and Lord that He Is. Men, take this step weekly, reflect on the teaching about Jesus Christ from Holy Scripture and the unbelievably rich desposit of faith from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And be an evangelist – share these teachings about Jesus with your family, especially the men of your family.
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.
Awed by the Power of Jesus Christ
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 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 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 the power to respond to prayer – Jesus promises to answer prayers (John 14:13).
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).