And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
What do we mean by "power" on earth? The politician will answer you, the statesman, the preacher, the orator. It is influence, the ability to turn men to one's own will, to check, curb, turn, and use them, change their natures, and make them subjects and servants in body, soul, and spirit. That is power; something very different from the brute-force of a Samson or a Caesar, and far higher. Still, Caesar, in the organized government of Rome, did possess very considerable power, to which the world was obedient, whether through love or fear. And another such power there was — the ancient idol-worship of Rome and Greece. By these Satan held empire over the world. Two powers they were; yet in our Lord's time so closely connected as to be almost one and the same. The Roman Emperor was the universal ruler. The religions of Roman, Greek, and Barbarian differed in little but the names of their false gods. The Jew alone, though subject to the Roman, maintained his belief in the One God, Creator, and Almighty. Thus the Roman empire and the Roman heathenism were but as one power against all other religions. And who was coming forward, thus claiming a new power, to be alone supreme in the world? Who came to overthrow the ancient, mighty, all-but-universal idolatry — the very perfection of empire to the statesman of that day, the very perfection of religion to the lovers of a gorgeous ceremonial, and the indulgers of human pride and selfish passion? Who came to be King and God? One whose public execution was written in the Roman records. One who preached humility as the only true greatness, who substituted penitence and self-denial for the indulgence of flesh and spirit. A Jew, too, of all races the most despised by Roman and Barbarian alike .... The cause of Christ to the shrewdest human calculation must have looked simply hopeless; His claim to any power whatever a silly boast. Force His followers could not, might not, use. Argument they might; and then they came at once face to face with death. Yet the disciples went forth preaching Christ crucified, and risen again as the life of the world. It was not an attractive doctrine, nor an easy morality, that they preached. There was offered no earthly gain, or pleasure, or honour. And yet old Rome left her idols to worship Jesus; her emperors became Christians; the power of the world fell; the religion of the world was changed.
(W. Michell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.