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Archive for the ‘Authority’ Category

“Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified.” – Matthew 17:3-6 (NIV)

I must admit that I’m no expert on the British Royal Family but in recent times my wife has drawn me into watching the Netflix series “The Crown.”

In an opening scene in one of the early episodes of season four, “The Balmoral Test,” Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Dennis are flying toward Scotland to spend time with the Royal Family at Balmoral Castle, Scotland in the early 1980’s. Margaret, as usual, is deep in thought while Dennis is explaining his awareness that the Royal family tends to get strategic people into the castle and run them through a series of “tests” that can be very instructive to them in how they relate to such individuals. In essence he’s telling Margaret that they are “prime” candidates for such a test.

As the story unfolds, we discover that Prime Minister Thatcher has not brought any outdoor shoes with her on this trip. In the morning the Queen gets her out in the country side, sloshing through muddy fields and up hills in the scenic area surrounding the castle. Even after borrowing a pair of the Queen’s old shoes for the trip, Mrs. Thatcher decides she is going back to the castle to be better prepared for this type of activity. Back in the castle she decides to forgo the great outdoors and sits down to do some serious work in one of the castle’s ornately decorated historic rooms.

At this point Princess Margaret, played by Helena Bonham Carter, arrives on the scene and finds Mrs. Thatcher sitting in a chair at a desk in this grandiose room. She exclaims, “Who told you that you could sit in that chair? That was Queen Victoria’s Chair! No one sits in that chair!”

I’m sure no one was as surprised to hear this news as was Mrs. Thatcher – the Prime Minister of Great Britain and certainly not a woman to be trifled with. After hearing this untimely news, she politely abides by the Princess’s wishes and gets up out of the chair.

This scene spoke to me deeply. I would have thought that the Prime Minister of Great Britain could pretty much go anywhere she wanted to go in the kingdom and sit in any chair she wanted. However, it became clear that when she was on “Royal” territory she was no longer “in charge.” There was a higher authority she was duty-bound to respect. Someone else owned the chair and she had to submit to an authority that was greater than her own office or position in the kingdom.  

Shortly after watching this, my wife and I were trying to explain the term “relativism” to two of our granddaughters and it dawned on me that this story is reflective of the current state of our world. In this current age, no one seems to know who “owns the chair.” We live in an age where no one really knows who is “in charge” and to whom we must ultimately give an account.

I thought back to the story I allude to above where the early Apostles Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus up onto a mountain one day during His earthly ministry. Jesus was transfigured before them and Moses and Elijah appeared with Him. Only later did the three apostles speak of the incident but they clearly heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son whom I love. Listen to Him.”

People often ask me, “Aren’t all religions and philosophies the same? What’s so different between what I believe and what you believe?” My short answer is now this, “According to your viewpoint, who owns the chair?”

Many current philosophies work under the assumption that there is no authorative, personal God in charge of the universe in general and our world in particular. The current state of our world is reflective of a mindset that believes “it’s all up to us” to decide who’s in charge. It’s survival of the fittest and the one who shouts the loudest or comes up with the best political/economic system gets to call the shots. (I’m not, by the way, making a political statement or endorsing any political party or candidate.)

I know that I might be branded as naive or simplistic, but I still believe that we can know, honor, respect and follow the one who not only “owns the chair” but owns our world and the entire universe. He invites us to know Him personally through His Son Jesus Christ who still speaks to us today through His Word, the Bible and by His Holy Spirit.

In the past two thousand years since Jesus walked the earth there have been many who have been dismissive of Him, but none have ever successfully disproved the reality of His life, death and resurrection. Peter, James, John and many other early Jesus-followers were eye witnesses of this Man who alone has ultimate authority.

The One who owns it all still speaks to us today, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.”  I suggest we do just that.  

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