Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jesus answers the Public, Economic, and Political powers

What Jesus view of POWER?
  • Public oppinion?
  • Economic?
  • Political?
  • None of the about
The last answer pushes to understand the nature. I am preaching this Sunday on the text:

Matthew 22:15-22: Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?" But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

What I love about the text is how relevant it is to what is going on with our markets. The passage is about power. What is power? The trap set for Jesus was simple. By asking him about taxes, they set him up for what they thought was a no win proposition. Either he says yes to paying Roman taxes and undercut his power with the people, or he says no, which would be treason punishable by death. Their problem was they fundamentally misunderstood the nature of Jesus' power. It would be a mistake to think Jesus answered by thinking about how to get himself out from under this trap. Rather, he answered by understanding what true power is.

The first part to understanding power as Jesus understands it is to look at what the Pharisees though of as power. Their trap comes from seeing Jesus' power as based on his popularity. They thought if they undercut this power, they would undercut Jesus. They go about it by using their next belief about power, the power of money. Should I pay taxes, or should I give away my hard earn money to the state? The question would put Jesus in conflict with a third and fourth power, the power of the state and the power of the military. The power of the Military as Israel was under the control of Rome was thought to be last word. Jesus answers their question of power by pointing to the real power, the power of God.

I will post on what Jesus meant by power and God tomorrow. Right now I want to show how nothing has changed. We still view and engage what we think real power is: Public, Economic, and Political. Public is what others say about you both in Macro and Micro. The economics is the stuff you have or potentially can have or in short hand your money and your stuff. Political is your ability to make others do your bidding or how you are force to do others bidding. They are very observable power but ultimately powerless. The test is death and time. With death and time, all three fade. The best proof is Rome itself. The greatest power of that generation became history. We will see these powers also fade in our current crisis. We will be told how we all should seen it coming, and how the current collapse puts us in dire straights. If we understand power as the above three, then that is true. But what if their is another power that is larger than the three?

Part II Part III

No comments: