Jesus’s relationship with the powerful was complex and instructive. The account of Joseph of Arimathea in Matthew 27:57–60 gives us insight into how the Lord used a rich man who was evidently influenced by Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea appears unexpectedly in the narrative, almost out of nowhere, and plays a crucial role in fulfilling messianic prophecies. This illustrates that God can and will use the rich and powerful in His divine order. It is a call to continue the mission even among the powerful, as God has plans that go beyond social strata.
The account shows us that God employs the powerful for His purposes, and this is not limited to well-known personalities. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich and influential man, became a tool of God to bury the body of Jesus. This serves as a reminder that it’s not just about winning over the powerful; God can also use people from higher social strata to fulfill His plans.
Approaching powerful people in mission is an important consideration. Jesus himself showed that it is often more effective not to approach them directly but to let them come to Him. The powerful witnessed Jesus’s message, healings, and divine power. Their conviction happened behind the scenes as they observed His authentic mission.
Collaboration with the powerful can be achieved through genuine service. Powerful individuals often seek partnerships that have a positive impact on others’ lives. This provides an opportunity for them to become part of something good that changes lives. Service must be authentic and needs-oriented, addressing the needs of the powerful without violating their privacy.
The second phase, as implied in the text, involves starting genuine service that allows the rich and powerful to participate in God’s service. This requires investing in their lives to build trust and create a platform for service.
Overall, this story teaches us that mission to the powerful is a complex but important aspect. Building a relationship with them requires wisdom, authenticity, and, above all, recognizing that they also need God’s love and redemption.
Challenge: Add someone to your daily prayer list who is in a position of power, is not a believer, and is someone you could come in contact with from time to time.
The challenge of including someone in my daily prayer list who holds a position of power and is not a believer is a meaningful suggestion. In our busy world, we tend to pray for people close to us or those who share similar beliefs. However, praying for people in positions of power who may be distant from our own faith is an expression of love and a deep desire for positive influence.
Challenge Up: Address a letter or email to someone in a position of power—even if it is someone you may never have met—and tell that person that you are praying for him or her.
The plus of the challenge, writing a letter or email to a person in a position of power and informing them that I am praying for them, is a courageous action. It requires looking beyond potential barriers of differences in beliefs and positions and seeking a connection on a spiritual level. Here is a hypothetical example of such a letter:
Subject: Your Service and Our Common Well-being
Dear [Person’s Name],
I hope this message finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I am [Your Position or Background]. I am writing to you because, during my daily prayer time, I reflect on people in influential positions, and I want you to know that you are included in my prayers.
I am aware that our beliefs and positions may not fully align, but I firmly believe that prayer can be a powerful and positive force. Regardless of our differences, I am convinced that all of us working in responsible positions share the desire to do good and bring about positive change.
I pray for wisdom, guidance, and personal fulfillment for you in your position. May clarity be given to you in your decisions, and may your service have a positive impact on people and society. If there is ever an opportunity where I can be of service to you in any way, please let me know.
I appreciate your service and the responsibility you carry, and I sincerely hope that you find fulfillment in your work. May this message be an encouragement to you.
Best regards, [Your Name]
This type of letter or email is a bridge of respect and positive intent. It opens the door for dialogue and shows that prayer is not just a private matter but can also be a connecting force that transcends differences.
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