Three Power Plays of Jesus: Structure

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We talked about the first power play of Jesus in the previous postInstead of amassing power through strategy, Jesus models power through humility. At the close we saw the link between humility and family: as we gather around the Throne in humility, we do it with others who acknowledge their plight before God and we become family through the rescue of Jesus.


When the disciples ask who will be the greatest (read: most powerful), Jesus points them toward family: you must come to me as little children.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

As we journey towards Jesus, slowly shedding temporal cultural perspectives of power for deeper, more eternal perspectives, one shift will be from viewing ourselves as amassing power for ourselves to transferring power we’ve received from God to his family (and soon-to-be family) around us. Being in the family of God, as his children, we start from the posture of humility and allow it to foment into a lifestyle of distributive joy. As the Swedish proverb says, Shared sorrow is half sorrow; shared joy is double joy. This becomes the reality for the family of God as we come to him as little children, aware that our power is from him, by him, and for him.

In a recent post by Mike Breen, he says:

Dependency was the key, and if the disciples had no status in the world’s eyes they would be much more likely to be dependent on their Father. Then they could become the kinds of channels through whom their Father – King of the universe – could work. And so for Jesus it was simple, if his disciples were to be ‘great’ – greatly used by God – they had to be as lacking in status as little children. This was the single most important qualification of discipleship.

He encouraged them to fit in as best they could with the social system of their world – paying their taxes to Caesar, obeying their rulers, but he also called them to such a radical dependence on God that his kingly rule of love and power could flow through them. Even when they fell foul of the social institutions and were persecuted, they could still practice their radical dependence on God and see spiritual breakthroughs — even in death – just like their Rabbi. Jesus knew that if the disciples would learn to be dependent upon their Father the King – just as he was dependent upon him (John 5:19) – then, just like with him, they would see the immeasurable authority and power of God’s kingship breakthrough their circumstances (John 14:12).

Instead of amassing power through worldly means so that we can be independent, self-reliant people, Jesus invites into a different way. He invites us to identify that our power is from him as we are postured before him, and to turn and distribute that power the those around us in need of Life. We are called not to be the Great Physician, but to be the kinds of friends who tear through any roadblock to bring people to Jesus.

In Jesus’ Kingdom, we don’t “level up” through hard work, tenacious negotiating, and hitting tight deadlines. We grow as we attune to Jesus, who is our Head, and listen to the words of our Father. We don’t gain power as we rise through the ranks, we gain power as we abide in the household of God, at his feet, letting his Words of Truth wash over us again and again. In Jesus’ Kingdom, we gain power when we recognize we have no power: only Jesus does. As his children, he gives us all good things necessary to bring his Kingdom here and now, power and all.

The second power play of Jesus is: Instead of climbing the corporate ladder, Jesus models a family structure. With him as our Head, we are released from the scramble of power. We no longer strive toward more, we are content with his leadership and lordship.

This reality which starts in a posture of humility and is joined by a community as family, rolls over into outwards acts of service. Read Part 3.

K Livingston
K Livingston
I believe in dreaming big, working hard, cheering loud, standing tall, bowing deep. All of it because I believe Jesus = life.
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