19 February 2012

49/366 Authority vs Power

49/366 Authority by bobmendo
49/366 Authority, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

The light turned red. I stopped. The scene is near Bondi Junction and the cars and buses flow seamlessly more often than not. Why? Because we all submit to the rules of the road. When the light turns red, we stop. Soon enough anyway.

So I titled this photo "Authority." Why? Consider the places where red lights are mere suggestions, like in Naples, Italy or in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our family was shocked at the random nature of compliance in Italy in 2003, and I cannot imagine it has improved. When my daughter and I were in Bs As in 2005, we saw drivers turn down their headlights each evening, and slow down at least, as they drove through red lights without stopping. Wow, the suggestion box is open.

So here I was at the red light, remembering Italy and Argentina. And although I was somewhat in a hurry, I waited until my light turned green before I accelerated.

Our society has agreed to work together in this way. We could all rise up as one or many and disobey, but we don't. We have turned our power to their authority. Let me explain.

If I wanted to do so, I could have driven right into the intersection. Red light or not, what do I care? What would have resulted? An accident or two. Some bodily injury perhaps. I had the power to do what I wanted. But no authority to stop others.

Consider if a policeman were standing in the intersection. He is in uniform. He has a gun. He has a yellow and green jersey which indicates something about road safety. And he puts his hand up, telling you to stop, and you have to make a decision. Will I? Won't I?

He has authority but no power. You can run him right over. Your car is much weightier than his frame and plow...done... farewell officer. Yet, in civil society we submit to the authority.

Same goes for voting or laws about getting a justice of the peace to sign a Statutory Declaration. We do what we are told. And we are happy to do so. Or at least compliant.

Authority, not necessarily in the most powerful at the moment, but the one with the governance on his shoulders. I like that thought.

Y'shua was a strong man, to be sure, as a carpenter in the First Century, but I'm sure a crowd or mob would have taken him down, molested him and say, raised him on a stick to die. But God gave Him all authority in heaven and on earth.

The Bible records these two verses: Matt. 28.18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." and again, in
1Cor. 15.24 "then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished call rule and all authority and power."

Jesus submitted to the hostile mob that crucified him that 'Good Friday" but he remained as having all authority. Authority vs power? I'm on the side of authority, thanks.

No comments: