Overcoming and True Authority
However, hold on to what you have until I come. And to the one who conquers and who continues in my deeds until the end, I will give him authority over the nations –he will rule them with an iron rod and like clay jars he will break them to pieces, just as I have received the right to rule from my Father — and I will give him the morning star. (Rev 2:25-28 NET)
We deal with authority every day, in all sorts of ways. Sometimes we like it (usually when it works out in our favor). Sometimes we don’t. But we know what it looks like, don’t we?
The corner office – prime parking place – gorgeous suit.
The great seats – great car – great house.
The uniform – the voice – the initials on the memo.
The tanks – the guns – the flags.
The oaths – the pledges – the propaganda.
Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. (Mar 10:42)
Sound familiar? Power ties, power lunches, power plays. That’s what authority looks like among the powers. I grieve to say that this sort of authority has even infected the church, which in many places looks little different from the corporations and national power structures towards which she is called to live a faithful witness – as my friend Tim might have written, “You don’t become garbage to clean up a sewage leak.”
But it is not this way among you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mar 10:43-45)
Nothing surprises Jesus except crazy faith – certainly not our desperate attempts to align ourselves with the PTB in our cultures to curry favor and comfort while we wait for Jesus to show up. It is so much easier to go with the flow – God knows I’ve done that time and again – so much so that I feel like John Little in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, drowning in two feet of water because I’m too scared to put my feet down.
The Christians (especially the leaders) in Thyatira were succumbing to the ease of collaboration and tolerance. What would their overcoming look like, that Jesus would promise true authority and partnership with His royal self?
I’m really not sure: I’m hoping you will have some ideas. I think it might look like Caesar and Jesus facing each other in Pilate’s hall: Jesus silent because a king is not interrogated by inferiors; Pilate baffled by Jesus’ complete unwillingness to defend himself or compromise the truth.
But what might that look like NOW?
in HIS love,