“And Jesus came nigh, and spake to them, and said, All power in heaven and in earth is given to Me.”
Who comes near? Jesus comes close. He approaches His disciples, i.e. His friends, and He tells them the truth. He assures them that “all” – not some or a little power “in heaven” – but not only in heaven, but also “in earth” “is given to [Him].”
Unlike the Wizard of Oz who is a mere man behind a curtain, Jesus is a man who contains “all power in heaven and in earth.” Rather than hide behind a curtain, Jesus steps out into full view. He says, “Here I Am; you may see Me; you may find Me.” Jesus stands on hilltops and in valleys, places where people can get a good view and where they can get a good touch.
Jesus also assures His friends that this power that He has is not His own; it is a gift of God the Father. Jesus does not dethrone His Father or rebel against Him; He is no demi-god like Perseus is to Zeus.
Beware of those who claim either/or – that Jesus is wizard and/or demi-god. Rather, Jesus is the Son of God.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” (Hebrews 1: 3, NIV)
In Lystra, Paul upon seeing the faith of a crippled man, tells him to stand up. The man is instantly healed. The surrounding crowd shouts, “The gods are come down to us in human form!” (Acts 14:11) Paul is called Hermes by them while Barnabas is Zeus — rather interesting name choices given that Hermes is the son of Zeus and a protector of travelers, thieves, and cowherds. Zeus, on the other hand, is the chieftain of the gods.
Turns out the priest from the temple of Zeus, located just outside the city, brings bulls and wreaths “to offer sacrifices” to Paul and Barnabas! Paul and Barnabas are mortified, tearing their clothes. They vehemently deny they are anything other than “men, human like you.” (Acts 14:15)
Hollywood stars and athletic heroes enjoy similar worship today. Unfortunately, some religious leaders do as well. Most of these individuals, I believe, would say the same as Paul and Barnabas. “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you.” (Acts 14:15) Hollywood stars and athletic heroes may not bring the good news; however, religious leaders ought to. They ought to tell us to “turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.” (Acts 14:15)
Like Paul and Barnabas, sometimes it’s hard to “keep the crowd from sacrificing” to religious leaders, Hollywood stars, and athletic heroes. What an enormous waste, to sacrifice to men.