It is this last use of power that is most deceptive and, well, rather powerful. You see, it matters not whether the powers or the powerful actually deliver on said promises, for it is the making of the promises that counts because those with no power have no choice but to acknowledge (bow before, vote for, smile in adoration, applaud or laud, promote, et al.) that it is only in the powers and powerful that they will ever see the good for themselves or their neighborhoods (even though they don’t ever see the promises delivered).
In Matthew 14, Jesus (that is, Matthew in the narrative) is hinting at an alternative to power, first in Jesus as that alternative and then at the development (forthcoming, i.e., the forming of the) community that follows Jesus. We, the church (read a local church), are that alternative to the story of power.
Here’s the quote:
“Matthew in a few powerful sentences describes “the insecurity of those in power who do who depend on the presumption of those around them; that is, they must act in a manner that assures those they rule as well as themselves that they possess the power they pretend to possess. The powerful lack the power to be powerful, which means that they live lives of destructive desperation. That desperation, moreover, often results in others paying the price for their insecurity” (Stanley Hauerwas in his commentary on Matthew).