“the power equation” and God

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Pilate entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate then said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above….” John 19:9-11

IMG_0458This morning at Bible study I asked the guys about the power equation. You know, the one they talk about in business seminars and sales training. We seem to be obsessed with “who holds the cards;” I’ve even heard the topic raised in reference to relationships.

So Jesus, having been arrested, thrown into a holding pit, beaten, and mocked, stands in front of the figurehead of Roman authority in a conquered land. His hands – and quite possibly his feet – are bound; he has recently been flogged (a brutal series of lashings that would have reduced his back to a deeply lacerated pulp); the soldiers have just now jammed a crown made of jagged thorns down into his head; his friends have fled; he is surrounded by armed guards.

Pilate looks at the badly broken Galilean; the Roman governor is scared: “I have the power here,” he yells. “I have all the power; I could raise my little finger and crush you with the might of Rome!”

Jesus raises his head, tilts it to the side quizzically, raises an eyebrow. “Any authority you think you have is actually on temporary loan from my father.”

Who held the power? Not Pilate.

TODAY: “What do you do when it feels like you have no power in a situation?” I asked. “Do you feel overwhelmed? Anxious? Tense? What do you ask God?”

Now some people would misunderstand the scriptures here and ask God to give them the power, to make the situation resolve to their advantage, or utilize prayer to get their own way. “I prevailed because God is on my side,” they might say.

But the power equation must always tilt toward God. We make a huge mistake when we ask God to be on our side. The proper concern is that we are on God’s side.

But the power equation must always tilt toward God. We make a huge mistake when we ask God to be on our side. The proper concern is that we are on God’s side.

I see too many Christians trying to leverage prayer, or the scriptures, or piety, or even their financial contributions with the idea of getting God in line with their agenda. But it’s not about us, it’s about God.

img_1769-002Pilate – throughout his conversations with Jesus, was always concerned with how the play of events was going to affect Pilate. Jesus reminds us that it is God who is sovereign. We might not get what we want (and usually that is a good and merciful outcome), but when we understand that God has the power, and the glory, for ever, then we have no cause to be anxious.



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