Summary: Lessons in True Power Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke) Brad Bailey – June 2, 2019

Lessons in True Power

Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)

Brad Bailey – June 2, 2019

Text: Luke 9:43-55


In shaping the lives of those who enter the reign of God… Jesus is reorienting human nature to live in the way true life really is.

There are many aspects of life which Jesus must reorient us about…but none more underlying than our understanding of power.

When the Kingdom of God comes… it brings the true power that reigns over all of existence… and by nature it confronts the powers that have sought to rule over us…and within us.

To appreciate what Jesus challenges us with today… it may be helpful to realize that the Scriptures tell us that what unfolded long ago was the vanity of seeking power and control… apart from God. But separated from God…we are left enslaved to the false pursuit of power that can only try to take from others.

The next scene is one brother rising in envy against another…and consuming their life.

It’s common to think in terms of the power of God and the powers of evil as simply competing powers of the same type…two forces trying to prove which is stronger…but in truth, it is between utterly distinct forms of power…one eternal and ultimate…the source of everything… that gives life to all…. and the other is merely false and temporal attempt to find our own glory… and seeks to find it in what it can take from others.

That is why Jesus spoke so much about money, sex, and anger… in truth what he spoke about was greed, lust, and the desire to destroy others… because they are all related to this deceitful pursuit of the false power that tries to consume from others.

There is a vanity in the nature of power that has been at the root of the world as we know it ever since.

Few truths have hung over humanity like those captured by John Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries…when he stated:

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Acton, English Historian

An observation that a person's sense of morality lessens as his or her power increases. [1]

Many may be familiar with J.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”

… which over the past decade became one of the most popular stories.

At the center of the story lies the power of a ring which was created by Sauron the Dark Lord to gain dominion over the free peoples of Middle-earth.

The Ring slowly but inevitably corrupted its bearer, regardless of the bearer's initial intent. This corrupting power was apparently stronger on individuals more inclined to evil and selfishness.

This is captured most dramatically in the character of the hobbit Sméagol… who finds the ring…and who in time is reduced to the hideous creature known as Gollum. [2] Here Tolkien was capturing the tragic pursuit of power that consumes human life.

So as we continue in our series in the Gospel of Luke, we find Jesus seeking to reorient our lives in regards to power.

Luke 9:43-45?43  And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44  "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men." 45  But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Begins… with how those who encountered Jesus were amazed at the greatness of God.

“While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did …”

It’s at this point that Jesus stops and says… listen carefully… as if he knew that such amazement was unprepared to understand the true nature of God’s power… he stops…and tells them what they do not yet understand…

“The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."

And it was like hearing a foreign language…they couldn’t make sense of such a statement.

It goes against the nature of what they wanted… what they thought of as “great.”

The Messiah was the hope of a new king… one that would by nature be more powerful than the Roman Empire.

We can join here today…and see how Jesus was more powerful than the Roman Empire…than the religious establishment…than all the powers that ruled this world. Those empires fell….and he rose. His reign has grown across time in the hearts of human lives.

BUT… we still face the challenge regarding what type of power we believe in.

So the initial truth that comes through is that….

1. Greatness lies not in the power of human force and control…but in the power that sacrificially defies such vanity in submission to God.

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