Source of Power
Where do people get the power that they have? Some get it because it was passed down to them from father to son, mother to daughter, etc. Others receive it because the people of the community voted them into power. Another way that people gain power is by having a force behind them (usually military or wealth) and using it to force others under their control. However, these methods for obtaining authority are only the middlemen to how people get power.
Power that is given to people originates from the Lord God Almighty. It starts with Him because He is the One who has all authority (after all, He did create everything). It is by His will alone that people are given the power that they have and it is by Him that power is taken away.
With this in mind, those who have been given power by God have a great responsibility. They must decide whether or not to use their position of power to honor God or to abuse it for their selfish gains. An example of this can be found in Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor that ordered Christ’s crucifixion.
The Case Against Pilate
In John 19, Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged. Even though He was innocent of any crime, the governor brutalized Him, hoping that this would be enough to appease the religious leaders who brought Jesus to him. Unfortunately, it was not enough.
Now the the Leaders had convinced the crowd to demand Jesus to be crucified. Even Pilate knew that this was overkill and tried to convince the crowd that Jesus had done nothing wrong to deserve death. When they explained their reason for wanting Jesus to die (His claim to being the Son of God), the governor became afraid and asked Jesus who He really was.
To his astonishment, Jesus said nothing. In John 19:10-11, Pilate reminded Christ that he had the power to save Him or kill Him. Jesus rebuked the governor explaining that the power that he has was from God and therefore his decision should be influenced by that fact. This was the moment of truth for Pilate. He had the choice to release Jesus, which was honorable and would please God. Unfortunately, his fear of the people compelled him to follow their will instead of his own conscience.
Leadership Requires Sacrifice
Being a leader that honors God requires a great deal of sacrifice because it may require us to go against the popular values of the world which goes against the values of the Lord. At the same time, a leader is called to serve the community, but that does not mean that they should encourage bad behavior from them. Instead the leader is to guide the people by example by living righteously before them. This is the proper use of power.
Real Reason For Power
I do believe that people who are in power have forgotten the purpose of having authority. They seek out to make the ones who selected them to rule happy instead of doing the right thing. Power is not a popularity contest but it is an enforcement of God’s will and meeting the true needs of the people. This may not be a popular idea, but what is better, to serve men or God, what do you think?
Lead with God in Mind
Everyone of us has been given some kind of power; an employer with a bunch of employees, a teacher with students, or an officer over his soldiers, or a president over a nation. We must remember who gave us this power and why. With this knowledge, we must go forward and lead in a way that honors God and not be manipulated by worldly thinking. Otherwise, we may make the same mistake that Pilate did and suffer the consequences. Interestingly enough, some time after this incident, Pilate lost his position as governor and was recalled to Rome. God is the authority who gives and takes away all power.