Scepters

 This is one of many staffs that were made at Illumine's midweek Lent services, which are taking an open-house, artistic approach to meditating on the passion of Jesus. 

This is one of many staffs that were made at Illumine's midweek Lent services, which are taking an open-house, artistic approach to meditating on the passion of Jesus. 

The scepter has an interesting history. 

When people were nomadic, traveling around following the migration of herds, they developed ways to control the movement of the animals. The winner was the shepherd's crook - basically a stick for keeping the animals out of harm's way. As time continued to roll on, the guy with the most and largest animals had the biggest stick, and was the most powerful. 

As people settled down, the stick stuck. Rulers and powerful people held onto a staff, which gradually didn't need to have practical uses and was replaced with a stick made of precious metals and inlaid with jewels. Thus, the scepter became a symbol of power. 

When Christ was mocked and beaten by Pontius Pilate's soldiers, they gave him a robe, a crown, and a staff. It wasn't a fancy scepter, though - evidenced by the fact that the soldiers immediately took the staff and beat Jesus over the head with it, repeatedly. 

Matthew 27:29-30 | They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

Remarkable. The king of the universe, beaten with his own staff. Authority turned upside-down. Power hidden in weakness, and weakness hiding in power. 

Christ's scepter, his symbol of power, is neither a jewel-covered stick nor a practical shepherd's crook. It's his LOVE. It both gives him his power and caused him to bleed. As God the Father watched Jesus suffer at the hands of the soldiers, this truth was confirmed: Christ is the one to whom all authority should be given, because he and he alone understands why authority exists. 

Authority does not exist for brow-beating others into submission - it exists for lovingly helping the wandering stay on a safe path. Your king loves you, enough to take the beatings you deal out by misusing authority and to gently remind you of the better way. 

One day, when Jesus comes into the throne room of heaven and all the saints and angels are singing, "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive honor, and wisdom, and glory, and power, and praise!" Christ will not need a crown or scepter or throne for us to know that he has all authority. His love will make it obvious. 

The scepter has an interesting history, and a promising future.