26th March 2023

A different sort of power

The historian and moralist known as Lord Acton held the opinion that a person’s sense of morality diminishes as their power increases. You have probably heard quoted some version of his statement, ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.’

That’s a pretty bold statement. However, with every passing chapter of history, Lord Acton is continually proven to be right. Notorious examples of absolute power can be seen in people like Napoleon Bonaparte who reached a point where he saw fit to declare himself an emperor. Even worse are the Roman emperors who went further to declare themselves gods. This kind of power is a self-determining power where might makes right. If you have the power, you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want. You answer to no one.

Today, we still have power players who crown themselves arbiters over everyone else and declare themselves to be all-knowing demigods who are above question. There is a long list of powerful people whose corruption stains the pages of history. It seems Lord Acton knew what he was talking about.

But it’s not just the powerful elite who suffer from such corruption. It is in all of us to want to be masters of our own fates and captains of our own souls. And this futile pursuit has not only stained the pages of world history, but it has left a stain on our personal histories as well. And there is no amount of power that we can possess to undo it.

There is one, thankfully, who is powerful enough to rub out the stain. Only his power is of a different sort. It’s the power that comes in the form of a slain Lamb. He ushers in his kingdom, not through brute force and domination, but through the power of sacrificing his very self. Rather than leveraging power for the sake of himself, he leverages his power for the sake of all of us.

It’s the power the Apostle Paul equated with the Cross. This is not how we think of power. For the powerbrokers of the world this sounds like foolishness. But Jesus, the slain Lamb of the cross, has broken the chains of our self-determined sinfulness and erased the stains of our corrupt history.

Here is the vision of his throne recorded in the Book of Revelation:

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.  (Revelation 5:11-14 NIV)

Jesus’ power does not come by self-appointment. It is received from his Father, who sent him into our world to rescue and redeem us. For this reason, the Father gave him the name above all names. He is the one we answer to. For this reason, we bow down to the only one who is worthy, and whose power never corrupts.

Presented by Jeff Broadnax


About the presenter:
Jeff Broadnax is an elder in Grace Communion International in the USA

and serves as National Coordinator of GCI Generation Ministries.
The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/ ), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International. 

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