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WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Loki’s Lessons on Authority
By Iain Dick
Authority. Now, there’s a word that conjures up a whole heap of mixed responses. Probably, the most common will be down to that little rebel inside all of us that hears the word, and flinches. Yet, there are so many examples of authority that we encounter that it becomes difficult to navigate who to listen to, and when.
These days, we struggle in the face of long-established authority figures and offices being brought into the light after abusing power/authority. Politicians, police, pastors… is anyone immune? Power and authority is alluring to many.
Speaking of little rebels, who love gaining from authority, I recently enjoyed the new series of one of my favorite Marvel characters; Loki. Now, I fell behind on the latest MCU releases, and am playing catch up, so I’m not going to spoil it. But anyone who has met Loki on screen knows how slippery, cunning, witty, and egocentric he is. His series reflects him very well and shows how he handles being captured and forced to work with an authoritative organization. This is where the dance begins.
Loki dances with ‘the authorities’- sometimes they lead, sometimes he does. But you never truly know who knows the next step better, and who will execute their plan better, so who has the real power?
Life feels like this for many of us right now, even in the church. If someone in a position of authority abuses it, and gets away with it for any amount of time, we can usually expect an uprising of sorts. This is where the play begins on power vs authority. The more people stand up against, the more power, the more strength to topple the abused authority, right?
All too often, we think that way is best. We tell our kids to stand up to bullies, and if a friend will stand up with them, there’s strength in numbers. But this is where the Bible makes this more interesting.
Matthew 7:28-29 – “…when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.”
Jesus simply had authority and taught with it. More than any of the educated, experienced teachers of the time. So, authority is not earned, but given, or bestowed.
This is affirmed again in Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
Jesus is the ultimate authority, and as He said, it had been given to Him (by the Father).
How do we work with that today?
The good thing is, the Bible doesn’t ask us to choose, but teaches us that we Christians have authority in Christ, and also that we receive power through the Holy Spirit.
So to bring Loki back into this story; his journey led him to an opportunity to be in a position of power & authority, but with that comes a lot of responsibility. He always had some power (demi-god), when how he relates to authority can make or break him.
Do you think that power-plays are a mark of ‘true’ authority?
Surely life isn’t really like a game of chess or poker.
Surely, when we
- Embrace the authority of Jesus, as our Lord…
- Receive the authority He has bestowed on us, and…
- Walk through life with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s choose to take a more balanced approach to life. When we look at authority figures in our life, look also at the responsibility they have. If it’s you who is in a position of power & authority, you have a great responsibility before God to use it for His glory, not your own. Humble yourself before God, and ‘Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. (Phillippians 2:3-4)