Dean Kuest – Glendale Campus Pastor
Change. They all seem to demand it. Each one says they are the ones to bring it about. The point of contention seems to be that nobody can agree with what it is that needs to be changed or the method through which that change should come. However, if we would simply allow them to hold the position of greatest power in the free world, they will make sure their version of change takes place. As the debates play out on television in this political season, each candidate is vying for that one thing that will allow their version of the world to blossom over the next four years: Power. Changing Power.
Power is most often understood in our culture through strength. It is a very Darwinian idea that the strong survive and the weak either bend to the strong or are crushed and forgotten. While it is very easy to conceptualize this notion, the fact that the single most influential person who has ever walked in human history was one who exerted no power; though he certainly had it. He had no title, no money, no earthly authority, and yet through caring for the marginalized, looking to the best interests of others, and serving those around Him, he changed the world.
In Matthew 20, the disciples of Jesus are still hoping that He will exert His power and step into ruling a new Kingdom for the nation of Israel. In fact, Matthew tells us about an argument that ensues as each of them jostles for the top position in Jesus’ new Kingdom. To top that off, James and John even get their mother into the middle of it as she goes to Jesus to request positions of power for her sons. What was Jesus’ response?
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:25-28
In his message this weekend, Jeremy pointed us to the verse that follows Central’s theme verse of Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” In verse 24 it continues, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” These words made no sense to the disciples at the time and they are no less easy to interpret through our understanding of what brings about change in our world today. It turns our understanding of “power” and “change” upside-down.
Jesus longs to see the world change. It requires no political system or POTUS authority. Instead, He calls for each of us to serve, love and forgive one another. He asks us to lay down our lives for those who have no power, and to give ourselves away to the mission of pointing people to a relationship with the One who can bring about true change in the world.
You have the power to change the world.