Thought for the Week, April 15 2022

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Does power corrupt?

Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?

The BBC documentary series Putin, Russia and the West has reviewed the rise of one of the most powerful figures in the 21st century.

It traces the establishment of Putin’s power base through threats, violence, bluff and bravado to reveal an empire built on lies, deception and the popular promise to raise Russia from the ashes.

Power has corrupted but Putin’s power is not absolute. His empire is ruled through terror, but one day it will fall.

At Easter, the Bible invites us to consider the only human in history who has truly had absolute power.

John’s gospel tells us about the night Jesus was betrayed: ‘…knowing the Father had given all things into his hands’, [absolute power], he did this: ‘He rose from supper, laid aside his outer garment [and with it, his dignity and power], taking a towel, he tied it round his waist, poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.’

Why? What was he doing with this power as he cleansed each filthy foot?

It was a picture of his mission. And the following day, as he went to the cross, the spotless lamb wore the stain of his people’s guilt, carrying and paying its debt in full: cleansing not feet, but souls.

What a contrast the Bible makes. A king who uses power not to destroy, but to provide; life and joy for anyone who will receive Him.

His power given up, to establish a kingdom that will never fall.

Why not read the full account in John’s gospel this Easter?

Reverend Mark Jasper, Campbeltown Community Church.