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Power & Leadership

In the Gospel of Luke, we encounter dark and sinister forces that stand in opposition to King Jesus and the Kingdom of God.


These dark powers make their presence felt throughout Jesus' ministry, surfacing prominently during his exorcisms and temptations.


In Luke's Gospel, Jesus mentions these forces in two instances. During his betrayal by Judas and subsequent arrest by the temple authorities, Jesus declares, "But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." At this juncture, the 'powers of darkness' conspire to eliminate Jesus, with Judas, under the influence of Satan, playing a central role (Luke 22:3).


Another time we find Jesus speaking directly about these powers is earlier in the narrative when he instructs his disciples regarding their mission and the authority they possess over the 'power of the enemy' (Luke 10:19).


We may say then, that Jesus' mission to establish the rule and sovereignty of the Father on Earth unfolds on a battlefield where the enemy, these dark powers, laborious to dehumanize, kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). In stark contrast, the King and the Kingdom arrive to liberate, heal, and bestow blessings.



It's worth noting that in the presence of these evil powers, Jesus wields a counteracting force. The Messiah's love is far from passive, submissive, docile, or yielding when confronted with evil. Instead, it is active, proactive, and assertive. It is a love intimately entwined with power, and a power intrinsically entwined with love that actively combats the forces and powers of darkness. This kingdom power is none other than the Spirit of God.


Luke 4:14

"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him spread throughout all the surrounding country."


This power is evident in both his proclamation and enactment of the Kingdom, a power capable of liberating those overwhelmed by the forces of darkness.


Luke 4:36

"And they were all amazed and said to one another, 'What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!'"


This power and love humanize and liberate those who have been suffering from illness, bestowing blessings upon the broken.


"The power of the Lord was with him to heal." (Luke 5:17)


Luke 6:19

"And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power emanated from him and healed them all."


In our contemporary era, the church's mission unfolds on a battlefield where dark forces sow desolation and destruction. We may struggle with notions of ‘demonic’ but we may all recognise that unrestrained captitalism ,consumerism, individualism and militarism operate as dark forces and deep myths that plunge our planet further towards destruction and leave a trail of dehumanising suffering.


The call of the King is for us to confront these forces, and reach out to those damaged by them with the compassion and kindness characteristic of the Kingdom. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the dark forces of this age. As followers of Jesus, we possess power, but this power, bestowed from on high (Luke 24:9), should not be harnessed to build empires or collude with the forces of darkness.


Diane Langberg, in her book ‘Redeeming Power: Understanding Power and Abuse in the Church’ puts it this way ‘Jesus uses his power to protect, to expose, and to restore dignity. He calls his people to be in the world using our power under his authority, displaying his character by speaking truth, shedding light, and tending and protecting the vulnerable.’


For those who follow the way of Jesus our power should be demonstrated through lives characterised by cruciform love as we reach out to the broken with the love and compassion of Christ (Luke 9:1).

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