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SERIES: GoingHome                                                                                                 SESSION No. 4

FINAL  AUTHORITY

INTRODUCTION:

The reason we are afraid of death and dying is because we are powerless and helpless against it. In a previous study we noted that death is irresistible, irreversible and invincible. If only a few people died instead of everyone….at least we might stand a chance (albeit a small one!) of avoiding death.  But what if death was not the final authority and did not have the final say? What if this “enemy” was no longer invincible, irresistible or irreversible? Well, here is the good news.

INTERACTION:  Read the following verses and use the questions for discussion or for personal meditation.

  • Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Hebrews 2:14-15 (NLT)

  • But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (NLT)

  • The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10/10)

What are the “works of the devil”?   How did Jesus ‘destroy’ those works - -both then and now? What are some of those ‘works’, today?

“…break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”

As I pondered these things, I had something like a “vision” about Pontius Pilate and the so-called trial of Jesus I imagined him sitting in the seat of judgment as Jesus was brought before him. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer. "You won't talk to me?" Pilate demanded. "Don't you realize that I have the power to release you or to crucify you?" (John 19:9-10 NLT)

Pilate was claiming the power of life and death. It was an explosive moment. I then thought about how Jesus responded.

Then Jesus said, "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above." mentioned his experience was like a vision, I suppose. Yet I was wide awake. It's what happened next that gripped my attention. (What I now record is in the context of my ongoing exploration of the issues of my mortality and what it means to be prepared to "go home"). The characters in my scenario changed. Suddenly it wasn't Pontius Pilate in the seat of judgment. It was Parkinson's disease. The person may have changed but the threat was the same. It was as if this disease was saying to me what Pilate said to Jesus

"Don't you realize that I have the power to release you or to crucify you?" (John 19:9-10 NLT)

I sensed I was standing in the place of condemnation but I was able to respond to my accuser with confidence: "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above."

I live each day with the subtle, but ever increasing symptoms of this disease. They are a constant reminder of my mortality as well as the predictable, irresistible and inevitable outcome of this disease.

Pilate thought he was the ultimate authority and therefore had the final word concerning what would happen to Jesus.

Wrong!

Jesus knew the reality of His circumstances. He knew that the ultimate, final authority was with His Father. Jesus knew that the activities that were happening around Him would lead to His death. Despite the machinations of Priests, Pilate and people, Jesus was rock-solid in His conviction that He expressed to Pilate.

"You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above."

I still have a lot of processing to do so far as this experience is concerned but I believe that sharing this with you will be a critical component in my journey forward and my personal preparation for "going home".

 What is immediately obvious is that Jesus knew without doubt that no authority or power at work in His circumstances was outside His Father's sovereign authority, power and purpose. Just so with my own death and departure. I can confront this disease and say to it. Read Matthew 28/18-2. What do you learn about Jesus here?

"You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above."

The purpose of this session is to urge you to grasp the wonder of this fact: Death is no longer our enemy to be feared but it will now become our servant to usher us into the presence of our God!!

 

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