Day 15

The Woman and the Scarlet Beast

from the reading plan

Revelation 17:1-18, Psalm 90:1-17, 1 Timothy 6:11-16

“These will make war against the Lamb,
but the Lamb will conquer them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.
Those with him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).

Power is our ability to make change, to make a difference, for good or for bad. In the wrong hands, it can be dangerous, even deadly. But if the one wielding power is good, trustworthy, and just, incredible things are possible. In his book, Playing God, Andy Crouch states that power is “both better and worse than we could imagine… Power, the truest servant of love, can also be its most implacable enemy.”

As human beings, we often crave power, because with power comes control. With control comes the ability, or, perhaps more appropriately, the illusion of the ability to determine our life’s outcomes. We believe a lie that says the more power we acquire, the more likely we are to achieve our own idea of success, whatever that may be. The problem is, seizing power to yield success doesn’t ever work out the way we think it should. Our sinful hearts want to hijack that power for our own gain, however pure we believe our motives. Revelation 17 shows us how this story ends.

Without getting caught up in the identity of the prostitute, the beast, or the meanings of their descriptions. What’s important for us to take away from Revelation 17 is this: Worldly power is dangerous, and our pursuit of it can lead to our ultimate destruction. Too often, our pursuit of power is rooted in selfish purposes.

We want power to gain money.
We want power to gain control.
We want power to make life easier.
We want power to gain fame.
We want power to benefit ourselves instead of others.

God demonstrated His power by sending His Son to die for us. The most powerful action in the history of the universe is seen in Jesus’s death and resurrection. He took the throne by dying, not killing.

Our understanding of how power is acquired and our reasons for wanting it are both warped by our sin. If we pursue power for ourselves through worldly means, it will be our destruction. By “winning” in this way, we will inevitably lose. Worldly power is fleeting and dangerous. But one day Jesus, the Lamb, will conquer all rulers and kingdoms, and His followers will share in His victory. It is through our weakness that Christ’s perfect power is realized (2 Corinthians 12:9–11). It is in His victory that we, too, are victorious. “To him be honor and eternal power. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16).

Written by Chris Martin

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