God in Charge
If God is in charge, what is our role in this world today? People have been debating the right answer to that question for centuries. Either God is in charge and we can just wait for Him to act or God is in charge and we should take charge and assume that God will bless what we do in His name. Here is what Jesus says in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus is confirming that God is in charge and as His followers we do have a role to play but it is not fighting as the world fights. His kingdom is not from this world but it is for this world. NT Wright, “Jesus is quite explicit. A worldly kingdom makes its way as worldly kingdoms do – through fighting … If Jesus’ kingdom was ‘from this world,’ His followers would have staged an armed rebellion … Rather God’s kingdom reveals something quite different – a power exercised through giving, serving, loving.” I rather suspect that many Christians do not like that approach. It feels weak. It looks insufficient. It feels much better to be Peter in the Garden cutting off the servant’s ear. I know, but remember our question, “If God is in charge…” God is and His words matter more than our words or feelings. Jesus answers our question this way in Mark 10:43,44, “Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Our God is bent not on destruction but redemption. With God in charge, then, the Christian message offers a reversal of what we thought we knew about power and how to fight. This is why the answer is so challenging. It points us in a direction that we would not choose and to a path that makes us take a deep breath and ask like Jesus did, “…may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39) God has delegated an essential role to each of us. This is the way we raise the bar on our discipleship.