Much of the stress of 2020, and the beginning of 2021, revolved around authority.  Authority to deal with Covid-19, the scope of police authority, and of course authority in Washington D.C. and the authority of the American public.

In Jesus' time, like today, there were two basic ways of authority:
1) State.  This was the way of power, the way of the majority, and the way of the extant government.
In Jesus' time this was the Roman empire.  Today, it could be various levels of civic government.
2) Religion.  This was the way of isolation, of passivity, of the survival of a minority.  
In Jesus' time this was the Jewish religion and culture.  

When these two ways come into conflict, they tend to use similar tactics to retain their authority.   But into that confusing conflict comes Jesus, who offers us the Third Way -- His way.

1) Jesus understood and exercised his authority under the authority God the Father.  

2) Jesus understood and exercised his authority according to his commission, to "seek and save the lost." (Luke 19:10).  

For reflection:

- How do you react to the concept of AUTHORITY?  Does it make you feel comfortable, threatened, or something else?  Why?
- Who has authority over you?  (Hint: there are probably more than you think).
- What would it look like in your life to "practice the discipline of listening"?
- Jesus commissioned us to "tell people the kingdom of God is near," and to "go and make disciples of all nations."  Are you using your influence, such as it is, according to this commission?  What might change in your life if you judged your words and actions based on the same two criteria Jesus used: according to God's will, and in order to seek and save the lost?


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