1 Story -- "The Rescuer"
Version 4 of 7: "The Mother of All Power Struggles"
SYNC claims that this world has a story, and it is not simply a story we humans are making up as we go along. It is a story God is unfolding. It has a flow and a rhythm.
We can pick up that rhythm if we look at the Bible as one long story. That is what "The Rescuer" does, condensing 1200 pages to two so you do not get lost in the details. Don't approach the Bible as if it were a rulebook or a textbook on religious doctrine. It is basically a story.
The Mother of All Power Struggles (version 4 of "The Rescuer")
God, the Real GOD, creates a beautiful world with life everywhere. He gives the first humans, Adam and Eve, power to rule it all, except for one tree he declares off limits.
An enemy of God cons them into believing God made this rule in order to keep some secret knowledge and power from them. As soon as they fall for this lie, they realize their mistake, but the damage is done. Their power is broken, and human life becomes one huge power struggle.
God launches his own plan to reconnect humans to his power and to end all human power struggles and abuses. He does not launch his plan through a powerful empire like ancient Egypt or Assyria. He does it through Abraham and Sarah, an elderly couple who had no children. By his power for good, he miraculously gives them a son, whose descendants become a whole nation of twelve tribes.
God connects his own name, his reputation, and his power to this nation in a special way. When the nation trusts him and honors him, it is rescued and it thrives even if defeat looks certain from a human point of view. When it relies on its own power or seeks power from other gods or allies, it falls even if it seems it should succeed.
God sends prophets to promise the nation that its ups and downs will not go on forever. Someday a special king, a descendant of the great King David, will rise and rule the entire world with justice and peace forever. His power will have no limits.
The nation waits for hundreds of years for this promise to come true, and then one day, a man born in King David’s home town and in his family line gets their hopes up. He declares a shocking message nationwide: “God’s ancient plan is coming true in our time! God himself is taking power now. Follow me and see what I mean.”
He shows God’s power by healing sick people, driving out demons, multiplying food, and doing many things that human power cannot do. Everything he teaches is about God’s power arriving on earth. He even empowers his followers to do the things he is doing.
One day he goes into the Temple in Jerusalem and starts acting like he is in charge, ordering the price-gouging officials to clear out. That pushes the authorities too far. They assert their power to arrest, try, and condemn him a few days later. They write his name and his crime on his cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” He dies there, seemingly powerless.
But the rulers who kill him have no idea what power they are fighting against. God raises the executed “criminal” back to life! It proves that God is in control and they are not. He can undo anything they do.
For forty days Jesus shows his followers that he is alive again, but he does not appear to anyone else. He does not strike his enemies dead. He does not strong-arm anyone into believing he is the Rescuer, the Messiah, the rightful heir to the throne of David. Then, without dying again, he returns to heaven to take power.
His first act from his throne as King of the Universe is to send his Spirit down into his followers, putting his power for good into them and authorizing them to be his ambassadors on earth. They get to tell people they saw him alive. They get to show his power to heal the sick, and they point people to him and his mercy.
Some people welcome Jesus’ powerful representatives; others fight them, especially power holders who feel threatened by them. But the messengers keep working courageously anyway. They know who they are and they know what their mission is. It is not to take over and rule. Their “power” is only the power to point everyone to the King, calling them all to enter his kingdom and welcome his transforming power.
They also know that at the set time the King will come back visibly to break the power of his enemies once and for all. He will publicly assert his power, and no one will get away with anything ever again.
And that’s why we don’t grab for power or abuse it today. That is not what ambassadors do. As Abraham’s heirs and Jesus’ messengers, our job is to declare that Jesus is giving power back to the people, that is, he has defeated the evil powers and authorized us to go on defeating evil in his name until he returns to finish the work in person.
That’s our story. That’s why we live the way we live and tell this story to anybody who will listen.
If you have already said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” Jesus Christ has put his Holy Spirit into you, giving you all the power and authority you need to make the difference he wants you to make in the world. (2 Pt. 1.3) So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
Yes, God is the ultimate power holder and he has everything under his control and on schedule. All other power holders are temporary until he decides their time is up.
Yes, God’s whole plan revolves around Jesus, who willingly laid aside his power and sacrificed himself in order to carry out his mission. He warned his followers they would have to do the same.
Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit, life, and power for good into me, making me a citizen of his kingdom and a member of his team of ambassadors on earth.
Yes, I keep doing the most basic thing the Spirit empowers me to do—forgiving others for everything like Jesus has forgiven me. I will not allow vengeance to block the power flow through me.
Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to give me power to endure whatever I may have to suffer as an ambassador of the King.
If you have not yet said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” what else would you like to discuss before you would say “yes” to these things?
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He moves into your life, and you be-come part of the God-powered restoration plan that started with Abraham. That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant when he said, “God himself is taking power now!”
You won’t get to build your own kingdom anymore or brag about any position of power that God assigns you to, but you will live with the power of the Holy Spirit in and around you, connecting you with his plan and his people. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Note: There are seven versions of “The Rescuer” story, one for each SYNC season. Each version comes at the story from a slightly different angle. This is the “Power Season” version. Others are not on the web site but you may preview them if you e-mail us a request.