Devotion – September 30 – “Who Has the Power?” – The Descent into Greatness” Part 1
Jesus said to his disciples, “If you want to be my followers, take up your cross and follow me.” In other words, we are called to follow the path of Jesus, which was not a path leading to earthly power, to one of compassionate caring for others.
Power. It’s a word thrown around a lot today. When you hear that word, what do you think of? What makes you want to have power? What dangers do you see when you or others try to attain it? Is it something you long for it, or is it something you have no interest in?
Power, like money, or almost anything else in this world, is a neutral thing – in and of itself it is neither good nor bad. HOW IT IS APPLIED is what makes it positive or negative! Adler, the historian, called power the greatest human obsession. Henry Kissinger referred to it as one of the greatest aphrodisiacs. The Apostle Paul linked power more times than not, to sin. We can debate who is right here, but the fact remains that power is a powerful thing and it affects the life of the person with it, and the lives of the people the person uses it on.
Shortly after Hitler began his systematic oppression of the Jews in his country, a group of SS men, stormed into a rabbi’s home. This rabbi had been forewarned that they were coming and was told by his followers to gather what he could and get away. But, the rabbi refused to leave his people and decided to face the demonic actions of the ruling party.
Upon entering the house, the SS troops tormented the rabbi and ransacked his house. The rabbi refused to look up from his Bible which he was reading. After getting no response from the rabbi, the SS troops surrounded him and one soldier put a gun to the rabbi's head and said, “Do you not know that I have the power to kill you?”
The rabbi finally looked up. There was both sadness and strength in his eyes. He said to the soldier, “Do you not know that I have the power to allow you to kill me?”
Jesus said a similar thing to Pilate. While on trial, Pilate said to Jesus, “Do you not know that I have the power to crucify you?” In response, Jesus says, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above.” Jesus is telling Pilate that he has a lot less power than he thinks.
Who do you think has the most power here? In both cases our initial reaction is to say the one who holds the gun and the cross, hold the most power. But I challenge you not to leave your answer at such a superficial level. There is something much deeper going on here, and in that deeper state, both the rabbi and Jesus proclaim they are really the ones with more power.
Why do they believe this? Think about this today. What is it that they have that makes them believe they are the powerful ones? And how is their concept of power different than the worldly powers they face?
Who really has the power? Think about that today and you may find that your final answer is a lot different than your initial one.
~ God bless, Dan