I would handle power better than those in power. How common is that thought today? Would you? How do you define a good use of power? Jesus constantly flipped the standard thinking on how to live out what is most important. In pursuit of power, wealth, reputation and influence we actually have to flip our default understanding of those very concepts. Jesus wielded incredible influence, lived with great power, had access to wealth from his followers and his reputation drew thousands to hear him speak which eventually sparked such a passionate response he was condemned to die. How are followers of Jesus to handle power, influence, wealth and reputation?
Power. Charisma, charm, gifting, talent and often luck all bolster an individual’s power. Sadly, there are plenty of examples of those in power abusing their position today. In small sibling rivalry ways or for larger social and political gains. We see the powerful and often think, if only I had that kind of power. Would we do any better? Do we?
What did Jesus do with his power?
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the 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, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15
Power does not corrupt; power reveals the heart. Look at a pile of dead bodies, hurting people or marginalized groups and recognize that those in power didn’t become corrupt, rather their power magnified what was already in their heart. Jesus is telling his disciples before they had any of the social, political, or relational power how to live. Jesus modeled it, lived it and rose from the dead demonstrating what healthy use of power looks like.
Power is to be used to serve others.
Power is ultimately a stewardship from God.
Power is unavoidable as part of the human condition.
The flip side of power is not humility as if they are opposed. No, Jesus was the most powerful person to ever live. He is our standard for use of power, not a nice alternative to what we see around us. Abuse of power is all around us, let us return to defining our use of power more closely to what we see modeled by Jesus. Power does not have to lead to violence, oppression or fear. Look to Jesus.
At the cross, the most powerful man who ever lived submitted to the most brutal death ever died, to save the powerless. - Rebecca McLaughlin
Q. How would you define power? How does thinking about Jesus as powerful change or enhance you definition?
Q. Where do you have power? How are you using it like Jesus? How are you not?