Power and Authority

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

We do not lead out of power, but out of calling and responsibility.  Therefore, it is not by power, but under his authority we are called and given responsibility and are equipped to act upon that responsibility by God through the Spirit and by His agency, the church.

Don’t try to lead from a position of power.  Instead lead from the responsibility of the call and under the authority of God.  Jesus had power but chose to excise that power with great restraint.  This is what we understand meekness to be.  Meekness is not the lack of power, but power under restraint.

Jesus’ Kingdom did not look like the power of the world.  This Kingdom would not come the same way other kingdoms did by both seeking and wielding power.  Jesus tells Pilate my Kingdom is not of this world, if it were so we would be fighting just like the other earthly kingdoms.

Often when Jesus teaches in public the scripture makes note that Jesus spoke, “as one with authority.”  The questions about Jesus’ teachings are to do with his authority rather than power.  The religious elite and power brokers want to know under what authority did Jesus have the right to speak these things and interpret the scriptures this way?  It was not under the authority of tradition that many of them taught and understood God, but under the authority of His Father.

In seeking to live and lead like Jesus we must not pursue a posture of power but a walk of servanthood.  We should not grasp for power that we do not have, but work under the one with true authority, God.  Giving God glory, demonstrating His power not our own, and responding to God’s authority.  Our actions then are not a power play, but a powerful display of God’s dominion and power in the world today.

It is our freedom to respond under God’s authority.  Not our need to promote or perpetuate power.  When we move under God’s authority the world becomes different, because we are different.

We are powerless in our own right, rather we demonstrate God’s power and as we live under God’s authority.  Let’s make a difference in the world by how we serve not by what or who we believe we have power over.  We are all under the authority of God, to make disciples and change with world.

A Time

For everything there is a reason, a time for every matter under heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted

 He has made everything beautiful in its time.   Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end.  I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also, that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil –this is God’s gift to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 11-13

We seem to be in a rush for everything we do in life.  We move quickly from one thing to the next, rushing our lives away.  Then we hear the words of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes for “there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven.”  There is time for each and everything, including time to rest.  Life was meant to have seasons, a rhythm of life matching the timing of God for us.

He also reminds us there is “a time to be born, and a time to die.”  At this point you may be saying, yes, we all know that if we have been born that we will have a time when we die.  All one must do is walk around a graveyard to know that.  Although we do know it practically do we know it personally?

What happens between the time we are born, and die is not really measured by the years, but the quality of the fruit.  That’s why the second analogy is there to give perspective.  A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted reminds us of the life cycle of all things.  Plants have a shorter life cycle and it may be easier for us to see and understand life has a beginning and an end.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer only lived until his thirties and facing death in a concentration camp did not see this length of his life as the measure of its worth, but its fruitfulness and purposefulness for God is the value.  Jesus too, only lived to thirty-three years old, yet he forever changed the world.

We know that we are born but we too often don’t want to think about this death thing at all, or if we are willing think about it, it is sometime later, but not now.  Many think they will live forever or be called home before we have to die.  In verse eleven we are reminded that he has everything thing beautiful in its time and that God has put eternity into man’s heart, yet he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end.  We are like the plants in the span of eternity, we live but a short while on this earth, but will we be fruitful for the one who created us.

We cannot know all that God has in store for us for eternity.  We do not know how many will be the number of our days.  What we can know, and control is what we will do with those days.  We are reminded to “be joyful and do good as long as we live”, not that we must live long to do that.  This is not about how much time, but how in the season(s) we have to live will we produce fruit, fruit that lasts.  It is about faithfulness.  There is a time and a season for everything, and he has made everything beautiful in its time.