UPSIDE DOWN AUTHORITY

The underline of advertising is personal power and authoritative voices telling you what you need to know. So who really is powerful? Who are the legitimate authorities? 


Certainly, the world of advertising is not where we look for direction.


Authority
: the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something
: the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or who is respected or obeyed by other people
: a quality that makes something seem true or real[i]


Some would preach that you must be your own authority. ‘No one has the right to give you direction or control your limits. Submission is the weakness of powerless people. You must seize, demand and control or be the victim.’

When I look to Jesus, I find a new definition of power. He taught people how to live with love for their oppressors and to measure their own behaviour in light of the Law of Love. The disciples were seeking empowerment as much as anyone else. Their quest followed some familiar lines of thought.


Mark 10:
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”


James and John were prompted by their mother to ask Jesus for this privilege. It was apparent that Jesus was powerful and would one day rule in the land. What better way to make their mark in history and have authority than to be the personal advisors and assistants of Jesus?

They were doing what we encourage high school students and young adults to do. Be all you can be. Find some noble pursuit and begin the work to accomplish your goal. There you will have personal power and security. Right now you are basically powerless (or at least penniless).

Jesus weighs their request for authority and power and responds with some realistic questions. Then, he defines the essence of true power and authority.


Mark 10:
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This is the 'upside down authority' of the Incarnation.


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