The Quest for Control
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This world is a controlling world. The world has seen many rulers interested in controlling their peoples. Jesus noted that gentile leaders "lord[ed] it over" their subjects-and, not to be outdone, Jesus Christ's disciples wanted the same opportunity for control!
To most humans, rulership is an opportunity for control over others. We see evidence of this far back in human history. In Egypt, for example, Thutmose II had a sister or half-sister, Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt as pharaoh before him.
Her successor, after she disappeared from the scene, tried to eradicate all traces of her from Egyptian culture and history. Her name was obliterated from monuments and inscriptions. She disappeared from the annals of history extant at that time, some three millennia ago.
However, within the last 150 years Egyptologists and other historians have rediscovered her, and Hatshepsut's name lives again. She is a curiosity of Egyptian history; people are curious as to why others felt so strongly about her that they tried to literally erase her name from history. Such are the lengths some have gone to in order to control others.
Jesus Christ offered a different perspective. In Matthew 10:28, He instructs His followers: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Like Thutmose II, some have tried to rewrite history, removing traces of others from the historical record. They can kill those who get in their way; they can destroy the body. God, however, reserves the right to resurrect that person, giving him or her eternal life, or to remove the very remembrance of any person in a way that Thutmose II was never able to do. He can truly remove all traces of that person forever, something man can never do.
Rulers do exercise control and have at times used their control to take the lives of others. Yet history shows that, in times of martyrdom, Christians stood before their executioners and awed them with the peace and the tranquillity with which they faced their deaths. Why? Because they knew that, ultimately, such rulers and executioners had no real control over them. The ultimate control of their lives rested in God's hands alone. GN