And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Authority permeates all society. As children, our experiences with our parents, grandparents, or other older relatives are our first introduction to authority figures.
We look up to them to lead and guide us. To help us grow and thrive. To become responsible adults and good citizens under the authority of laws instituted by the nation in which we live.
We obey our authorities.
But, what happens when a parent, a relative, a teacher, a government abuses their authority? Uses it to control, manipulate, or hurt us, emotionally or physically? Sees ultimate power as the prize?
Then, according to Pastor Thabiti Anybwile*, it is no longer authority in the way it is meant to be interpreted.
"Authority and love are spouses," he states. "God has joined them together and they are never meant to be separated. Both are critical, and neither sufficient, for life as God intended."
Authority without love is nothing less than tyranny. We submit to its abuses not because we wish to, but because we must if we have a hope of survival.
Tyranny is the absolute antithesis of the freedom we find in the authority of God's love. It forces us into submission where God invites us to come. To see. To taste. To know that He is good.
And, to do His will in joyous obedience.
Says Pastor Anybwile, "Jesus once asked, 'Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46) The question makes it clear that there simply can be no proper and healthy participation in the Christian faith without submission to authority."
Jesus has been given the ultimate authority both in heaven and on earth.
Are you willingly, joyfully, obeying Him?
How have your experiences with authority figures shaped your life?
Will you pray with me?
May we always acknowledge and recognize, Father, the authority You have given Your Son, Jesus, over our lives. Help us in all humility to heed His words and follow His commandments in all we think, say, and do. May we serve Him with thankful hearts and joyful obedience all the days of our lives. Amen.
Psalms 146, 147 or 148, 149
1 Corinthians 15:41-50