Monday, November 22, 2010

Overlording: Usurping God Himself

In reply to the mother of the sons of Zebedee, who wanted her precious two to have political power in Jesus' kingdom, Jesus gives a lesson for all his followers:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28

Sin is often described as rebellion against God, or to think that one's self is God in place of God. The self gets to determine what's right and wrong. One major problem with sin is that in order to be God, one necessarily must lord it over God's creatures. God is sovereign over his creation, and man asserts his sovereignty over God's creation in sin. A logical result of this is to lord it over other people. This is why Jesus points out how the Gentiles' systems of government include overlording.

In the ancient world, kings asserted themselves as deity and were worshipped as deity. Today it's the same, with variations on forms of government. But lording it over others is not part of Jesus' plan. His solution, as he exemplified it himself here on earth as a man, is to serve instead of to rule over. This applies to both politics and religion.

Israel's cry to God for a king like the other nations meant they wanted to worship man and to have man in control. They wanted to usurp God. Saul was the sad result. Today, we want the rule of man over man with our systems of government, both in church and state. And it isn't Christian. Jesus said so.
*28 - originally posted 01-28-10


  1. Great post - I agree! I know we need leadership in our church circles - but we need the kind that seeks to serve and help - not the kind that is ego driven.

  2. Wow! The last two paragraph (esp.) are just beautiful! Great insight worded brilliantly! I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog.

  3. When the overlord takes a name for himself from the Bible and gives the under-pawns some Bible words back in exchange for their money, it all seems like a good deal. They both call it all "godly". God's grace is soooo big, he can still use this sinful design to accomplish some of his purposes. This sadly, also gives both lords and pawns cause to say, "see, God is blessing our efforts". It is the Lords church, and He will do with this mess as He pleases.

  4. Timeless post, Steve - almost 2 years old and it's still as valid today as ever. Cuz Jesus said so. Love it!