While we were enjoying Christmas with our loved ones on December 25th of 2021, the James Webb telescope was being launched into space. It is effectively a second-generation space telescope (it was initially referred to as the Next Generation Telescope) and “replaces” the Hubble telescope which was launched in 1990. Unlike the Hubble which orbits the earth, the Webb telescope orbits the sun—but it stays in line with the earth while it does so.
About six months ago the Webb telescope did its first deep field imagery work. It pinpointed a tiny area of space that would be the equivalent in our field of vision of holding out our hand and looking at a grain of sand on one of our fingernails. In that area tiny little area Webb was able to see thousands of new galaxies!
As a reference point, the Milky Way Galaxy that Earth is part of contains somewhere between 100-400 billion stars. And keep in mind that our galaxy is not especially large. So, an area like the one Webb discovered with thousands of galaxies could have as many as a quadrillion stars. Furthermore, while it would take you about 100,000 light years to go across the Milky Way, if you wanted to visit the deep field the Webb discovered it would take you 4.6 billion light years to get there. Or looked at another way, what the Webb telescope saw took place 4.6 billion years ago.
And God made it a-l-l.
He spoke the word and it was! Could there be any greater example of power than God’s creating and sustaining the universe?
I think there might be. God’s power might be manifested most impressively by the power we see in His vulnerability.
We don’t normally think of God as being vulnerable—but He is—or maybe we should say that in an extraordinary display of power, He allows Himself to be. After all, power is normally used to insulate us from suffering—it allows us to triumph over our enemies, live in safety and security, and not be in a position where we are constantly looking over our shoulder. But the One who owns all power didn’t insulate Himself from suffering—He invited it. One way He did this was by creating in His image people who could choose whether to love and follow Him or to despise and reject Him. Why would an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present God subject Himself to this?
The answer is because He is love. The world knows plenty about the love of power but next to nothing about the power of love, but that’s what God is all about. So, it’s no surprise that when Christ came into the word, He arrived in a most vulnerable form—as a baby who was unable to do anything for Himself. Jesus was totally dependent upon others to do everything for Him. And He consciously, knowingly, allowed Himself to be put in that position.
And yet, there was power in His vulnerability. A baby was born, and a king was threatened! Herod wanted the baby dead but was unable to accomplish that (is it possible that a baby could defeat a king?). A tax decree was issued by the most powerful man on earth—Caesar Augustus. But this didn’t take Joseph and Mary away from the place Micah had predicted the Messiah would be born—it brought them to it! It’s clear that even in His vulnerability the power of love triumphs over the love of power.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely—but not with God. He always uses His power to accomplish what is good, right, and true.
And as huge as the universe is, He never loses sight of any of His creation. There is no sparrow that falls to the ground that He is unaware of. He knows the number of hairs on our head. There are 8 billion people on this planet and have been approximately 100 billion over the course of history and they are all known intimately and loved ultimately by Him.