30th October 2018

Love and Power

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,”
Mark 10:42-43 (NIVUK)

There is possibly no starker contrast between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God than in their diametrically opposed views on the exercise of power. The former is often characterised by the love of power, the latter by the power of love. In the world there are different kinds of power, military, political, religious, demonic and economic, that can be exercised in a number of often interconnecting ways. All these powers were utilised by those involved in the death of Jesus; the civil, military, and religious authorities (in the arrest, trial and crucifixion) and Satan (when he entered into Judas). Economics also played a role when Jesus was betrayed for money—30 pieces of silver: the price of a slave. By contrast the power of love was also demonstrated at the crucifixion when God willingly allowed it to happen for the greater good of humanity and to overcome the power of death and sin.

As the opening scripture states, the love of power leads rulers to lord it over others. In his actions and teachings Jesus revealed the chasm that exists between the world’s view of lordship and the Godly form of leadership. Human nature loves lordship, which makes people feel good and important, to be able to lord it over others, and use their power and prestige for personal advantage. Religious leaders are not immune to the temptations associated with power as Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the market-places, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely” (Mark 12:38-40). The attraction of power and prestige to human beings was not lost on Satan when he tempted Jesus with rulership over all the earthly kingdoms of this world.

God is even willing to experience disgrace in order to draw men and women into communion with himself and with others, as he seeks to bring humanity into a relationship. The cross is a scene of suffering, dereliction and death, which is foolishness to this world, but reveals God’s unconditional love for humanity. God does not ride roughshod over humanity; his unconditional love means that human beings can freely learn to love God out of a response to his love. It also means that they are free to reject that love and also to reject communion with him.

Prayer
Father, we pray for the wisdom to present your message of love to an unbelieving world.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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