Written by Anthony Douglas on 21 March 2019.

UnlockedThe strong man is an iconic figure in all sorts of cultures. From Gilgamesh the original hero to Hercules and his prodigious strength, from the giants of Norse mythology to the almost invulnerable Achilles - well, it seems human beings love their Superman figures. For the people of Israel, the lead contender was of course Samson.

We love our heroes because they represent security and freedom, I’d argue. The strongest man in the room can do as he chooses; nobody can compel him otherwise. He doesn’t need to fear opposition, because he can squelch it easily enough.

That’s why the punster in me loves the fact that Samson’s weakness came from his haircut. When he was ‘unlocked’ he could no longer provide that security that had been his greatest strength (ahem!) as a leader. The contradiction that Samson’s tale establishes is that God can work through weakness; indeed, Samson’s biggest achievement only came about because of his bout of weakness.

It explains why the gospel makes such a big deal about the weakness of Jesus as he went to his death. Beaten to within an inch of his life, he cannot even muster the strength to carry his own cross. Hanging from that cross, broken, defeated, Jesus epitomised weakness. And at that very moment, when his feeble last breath left his lungs, Jesus won the supreme victory. God’s strength works indeed in weakness.

So, if you’ll forgive one last pun: we don’t need to be dis-tressed about our security. Our sovereign God rules all things, and our safety lies not in our strength, but our Saviour. He has done all our heavy lifting!

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