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Entries in Submission (5)


Believe for Greater Things - Mary

Luke  1:34-38.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on January 17, 2016. 

This series has been an adaptation of a sermon preached by George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA, on August 6, 2013, at its biennial meeting in Orlando, Florida.

So we first looked at Sarah who laughed when she heard God’s plan for her.  Then we looked at Naomi who simply plodded through God’s plan for her.  Last week we looked at Hannah who wept before God regarding His plan in her life.  Today we will look at Mary, the mother of Jesus, and see how she submitted to God’s plan in her life.

We will pick up the story in verse 34 after the angel has given Mary the news that she is going to have a child that will be called the Son of the Highest, would have the throne of David, would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and whose kingdom would have no end.

The Faith of Mary

We are not told how young Mary is.  We only know that she is old enough to have children and young enough to not have been given to her fiancé Joseph yet.  She is most likely in her mid-teens.  It would not be hard for her to realize that the angel is describing her giving birth to the Messiah for whom Israel had been waiting.  Thus this brings up a question for her.

Mary’s question is not so much about doubts she has about what God is going to do.  Rather her question is about the “how” of the plan.  Doubt can arise anywhere.  But the angel’s response makes it clear that Mary is honestly curious.  True faith always has questions and spends time in prayer asking those questions of God.  However, they won’t be questions that doubt God’s ability.    Mary may simply wonder if she is going to be impregnated by Joseph.  How is this going to be?  Sometimes God gives us answers to the how and to what is next in the plan.  Yet, He doesn’t always give us an answer.  Even the answers that we do receive can dredge up more questions.  Thus faith will have questions and even receive some answers.  But, at the end of the day, it will still have to trust God and believe Him for both the “what” and the “how.”  In fact, the “how” will always take care of itself in the end.  God will make a way.

The angel makes it clear that Mary will not become pregnant by Joseph.  Rather, she will conceive by supernatural intervention from the Spirit of God.  Such a miraculous conception would not be believed by the people around her.  Mary knows that if this happens she will be publically disgraced.  Thus true faith accepts and endures public disgrace.  Mary would know exactly how a girl who got pregnant “early” would be treated in that society.  Kids very quickly understand public disgrace and will go to great lengths to avoid it.  Yet, Mary accepts this.  By doing so, she accepts being labled a harlot, or promiscuous girl, perhaps even an unbeliever.  Who would believe such a story?

On top of this Mary would be risking her relationships with family and Joseph.  But, true faith risks its present relationships for the sake of the Lord.  Mary makes the choice to accept what God wants to do.  But, she could not control how others in her life would respond.  Most likely she thinks Joseph will divorce her, maybe even publically to protect his reputation.  How would her father and mother respond?  This is way too risky a proposition for a young girl, and yet, Mary accepts the risk because she trusts God.  No relationships in this world can mean more to us than our relationship with the Lord.  Jesus said in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”  Hate in this context does not mean “to despise and desire harm.”  Hebrews used this term to cover a wider range of situations than the English language accommodates.  In this context the point is that none of these relationships can mean more to us than Jesus.  He doesn’t want to ruin these relationships.  But all of them have to make a choice, and some will not like you being a disciple of Jesus.  We have to put all relationships in our life “on the altar.”  We have to love everyone in our life.  But our love for them cannot come between us and God.  Would anyone stick with her?

True faith also embraces the unknown hardships.  She knew the path ahead would be extremely difficult from what she could see.  But, what about what she couldn’t see?  She couldn’t foresee giving birth to her baby in a stable and laying him in a manger.  She couldn’t foresee having to flee to Egypt and living in a foreign land for years because a king wants to kill your baby.  She couldn’t foresee the rejection of the Messiah and his public execution in such a shameful way.  The angel does not tell her all that lay ahead.  However, she received advanced warning from Simeon the prophet.  When Jesus was 8 days old and at the temple, Simeon warns Mary, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against, (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2:34-35).  All along the way Mary would be tested, over and over again.  Would she keep following the Lord or try to save her own life?

Finally true faith submits to the Lord’s plan.  Mary’s words, in verse 38, point out two powerful things.  First, she makes a powerful declaration that she sees herself as a slave of God.  I know that translations are generally “handmaiden.”  However the word is literally a female slave.  A slave has no choice.  It is their duty to do the will of their master.  Of course, we tend to shy away from such language today because of the history of slavery in our nation.  However, Mary strongly declares she is God’s slave.  Now we might be tempted to say that after the cross we are no longer slaves to God.  However, the apostles called themselves slaves of God.  Paul does it in Romans 1:1.  In Philippians Paul calls himself and Timothy slaves of Jesus Christ.  James the half brother of Jesus says in James 1:1, “James a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Later in James 4:13 he reminds believers that we should not be presumptuous about what we are going to do.  But rather should say, “if the Lord wills we shall live and do this or that.”  He is pointing out that our will is not what matters, but the Lord’s only.  Jude, another half brother of Jesus, also calls himself the slave of Jesus Christ.  How could these men who taught about the freedom we have in Christ call themselves slaves and teach Christians to be slaves of God?  How can we be both slaves of God and His children?  The answer is simple.  We were slaves to sin like Israel was a slave in Egypt.  God sent His deliverer to set us free from that sin (Pharoah).  We were purchased from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ and thus go from being slaves to sin to being slaves to God.  Yet, this master, does not treat us like sin did.  Rather, he adopts us into His family and lets us share the inheritance with His One and Only Son, Jesus.  Being a slave to God is not about being forced to do something.  Rather it is about being free to serve him.  The early believers chose to not entertain a choice.  Mary chooses to not have a choice.  “Look, the slave of God.”  May this same spirit be in each of us.  Submission is never to be forced among God’s people.  It is volunteered by those who love Him and are loved by Him.  Are you submitted to the master or are you trying to master Jesus?  Are you being corrected and transformed by Him, or are you doing the shaping and fitting Jesus into your life?  The latter will never work.  You will only find yourself frustrated and lost.  But when we lay our life down and say, “I am your slave, I submit to your plan,” then we will find the true life of being a disciple of Christ.

Remember believing God involves laughing at the audacity of His plan, plodding through the difficulties when we don’t see the end, weeping before Him over our experience, and submitting to Him.  None of these things are easy, and yet, they are the path that the faithful have taken from the beginning of time.  Let’s believe God for Greater things.

Mary audio


Instructions to the Flock

In 1 Peter 5:5, we move from talking to the elders to talking to the “youngers.”  If God puts elders in authority then those who are not elders need to submit to that authority.  Submission has been a big theme in Peter’s letter.  It started back in chapter 2 when he told the believers to submit to the human governments.  Then he spoke to slaves about submitting to their masters.  Next he spoke to wives about submitting to their husbands.  He even mentions that, after the cross, all angels and spiritual authorities are submitted to Christ.  This last “submission” is for the Church body to its leaders.

Remember that the definition of submission is this: taking your proper place under a proper authority.  This definition hinges on the terms proper.  It is the Word of God that makes something proper.  Thus, we are not called to submit to everything or one that purports it is an authority.  But when we do recognize proper authority, even then, we submit to it in the proper way.  Thus it does not call for the Church body to become slavishly obedient to the whims of Church leaders.  So let’s look at what Peter has to say here.

We Should Submit To The Elders

I recognize, again, that submission has been abused by leaders.  Thus the virtue of submission requires us to use our minds and listen to God’s Word.  Submission to godly leadership does have boundaries.  They are not God and can take unscriptural positions.  However, as a virtue, submission recognizes that I too am a sinner in need of restraint.  Thus it is only proper that God should place proper authorities over me in appropriate ways.  Leaders should not be telling members who to marry.  But we should listen when they remind us of the Scripture’s injunction to not marry unbelievers.  They are the elders who have a more mature spiritual wisdom and understanding.  I am the “younger” and not just in age.  Those who are not put in leadership should carefully follow those who have been put in leadership as a child should listen to its parents.  Again, this is within Scriptural bounds.

The term “likewise” is used to point us back to the elders.  In the same way they are to submit to Christ’s calling on their life, so we too must submit to it.  How were they supposed to respond?  They were supposed to respond willingly rather than being forced into it (vs. 2).  They were supposed to eagerly serve with pure motives rather than for dishonest gain.  They were supposed to serve as examples rather than “lording” their authority over the Church.  Thus the body of Christ also needs to submit willingly without being forced.  We should be eager to submit with pure motives rather than for dishonest gain, i.e. manipulating.  We should be quick to follow the “right” examples rather than those elders who fall into coercive tactics.  When both elders and “youngers” properly respond to the Lord this can be a beautiful environment where God speaks to us in his Word and confirms it with the leading of elders.  This environment is a protective environment that keeps us spiritually safe.

The Church Should Be Mutually Submitted

Here Peter moves beyond the elder / flock distinction and speaks to the Church as a whole.  The overall or general atmosphere of the Church should be defined by mutual submission.  But under what authority do we submit to one another?  First, we do so under the authority of God’s Word.  But second, we do so under the authority of the demands of Love (i.e. God’s nature).  In love we learn to humble ourselves to serve and to be served.  Elders are simply to lead us in this area of mutual submission and growing in the Truth of Christ.  We need to listen and be led by the “commands” of love.

Next Peter says that they should clothe themselves with humility.  The word used here is one of a servant tying an apron around them.  Humility must be the “uniform” that we tie on ourselves.  It identifies us as one of Christ’s flock.  It is symbolic of the time when Jesus tied on a towel and washed his disciple’s feet.  If we serve without a humble mind it spoils the service.  But, those being washed have to humble themselves, too.  Peter was quick to tell the Lord he couldn’t wash his feet.  But Jesus told him if he didn’t wash Peter’s feet that Peter would have nothing with the Lord.  Oops!  “I take that back, Lord!  Wash all of me!”  We can be too quick to say that we don’t need any leadership.  However, it is God’s wisdom and we should not reject it.  To reject it is to jeopardize our position in Christ because we are rejecting the very Word of Christ.

Peter then quotes from Proverbs 3:34.  Believers ought to humble themselves beneath the “Mighty Hand” of God because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  The word resists here could better be translated as “sets himself against.”  If you walk in pride God sets himself against you.  Hmm… I wonder who will win?  Like the angel in the way before Balaam, God will stand against us if we walk in pride.  But if we humble ourselves he will be quick to give us grace.  Thus his hand is called mighty.  It is powerful in judgment to those who in their own wisdom walk in pride.  And, it is powerful in grace to those who are humble.  Which would you rather receive?

Final Instructions To Believers

On top of being submitted to the elders, Peter asks the believers to put their daily concerns upon the Lord.  When we carry around our “stuff” all the time, it leads to increased anxiety.  The picture has been used of rolling your burdens upon the Lord like the people in the middle east loaded up a camel. Let God do the heavy lifting of those daily concerns that tend to weigh us down.  When we do this we are enabled to help each other.  Can you imagine a worker showing up to move your furniture, but he has a 100 pound pack on his back and is holding an arm full of groceries?  If he is going to be any help at all he will need to unload himself first.  Peter shares this concern in the same vein.  We must learn to roll our burden onto Jesus if we are going to be able to help one another.  How do we do this?  First we do it through prayer.  When we talk through our anxieties and then ask God for his help, we begin to unload ourselves of much weight.  However, it also involves faith.  We need to trust that he really is caring for us.  This doesn’t mean he simply has emotions about our situation, but that he is also actually taking care of us.  We can talk to him about it, ask for help, and then quit worrying about it.  This unloading process is too often avoided in our lives.  It causes much pain and grief in our lives and the lives of others.

Next he tells them to be watchful over their souls.  This involves sobriety, i.e. not being drunk on the pleasures of this world.  And, it also involves vigilance.  The watchful shepherd is standing at attention, watching both the sheep and the hills for sign of trouble.  We need to take our spiritual condition serious and not get caught up in living life to please our flesh.  We have an enemy who is an equal opportunity eater.  Like a lion he will eat anything that isn’t ready for it.  So take your stand against the enemy.  Like David of old, do not rely upon your own wisdom and strength.  But, rather, rely upon the power and might of the Spirit of the Lord.  He can only devour those who are not sober and vigilant.  “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”

Final Thoughts

We can get so worried about the things of life that we forget; it is God who takes care of us.  Perhaps you are worried about all the things you shouldn’t be, and not worried about all the things you should?  Let the Spirit of God speak to your heart and correct you in this area.

Also, God has given us all the instructions we need to outwit the devil’s schemes.  We just need to trust him.  Godly leadership is a part of that.  Don’t settle for saying it doesn’t work.  Find a place where there are elders who trust God and are caring for the souls of those who attend that church.  You won’t always agree with them.  But humble yourself and let God use them to help watch over your soul.  In doing so you are thwarting the work of the devil in your life.


Instructions to Flock Audio


Submission In The Home 1

As we begin 1 Peter chapter 3, I recognize that as a man it would be easy to tune me out at this time.  A lot of garbage has washed under the bridge of submission in the home.  So let me first try to bring us back to Peter’s main point.  He is concerned with our ability to submit because of the way in which our refusal to do it will cause Jesus to be seen as a rebel.  If we rebel against authorities in the name of God’s Word then we can give the wrong impression of who God is.  In fact we will attract all the wrong people to the Church (rebels).  Jesus, who was God in the flesh, submitted himself to wicked authorities because he trusted the plan of the Father.

Yes, we can use God’s Word to justify rebellion against governments, and we can use God’s Word to justify a slave’s rebellion against his master.  But the goodness of the government or master was never the question.  It was an issue of the heart.  It is hard for modern man to hear these words, especially Americans.  We are so used to getting our way that we don’t understand how we more easily embrace rebellion and despise submission.  Submission as a virtue does have boundaries.  But even then our response needs to be more about submitting to God’s will above the will of an earthly authority, rather than one that is about my flesh rebelling against authority.  America was not founded upon a rebellious “no one will be in authority over us.”  It was the desire to submit to God over the top of a wicked king.

So as we approach this subject of wives submitting to husbands, let’s approach cautiously and with a listening heart.

Wives Should Be Submissive To Their Own Husbands

It doesn’t take rocket science to see Peter’s first instruction.  He tells wives to “take their place under” the authority that a husband has been given.  The gospel taught that in Christ there was no longer slave and free, Jew and Gentile, or male and female.  Such teachings could naturally lead to strife in the homes of Christians.  It is important that we represent Christ well in this world.  If we send the wrong message in order to get our justice now, then we have sacrificed God’s reputation and ability to draw people unto him for ourselves.  Peter speaks against such selfishness in each of the cases of submission he has brought up.

Now notice that the context is not men and women.  Women are not told to be submitted to men in general.  But a wife should not strive with her husband for authority in the home.  Why would he say this?  Paul makes it clearer in Ephesians chapter 5.  Paul pointed back to creation and explained that God made the species of man as male and female on purpose.  He wanted the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman to be a picture of Christ’s love for the Church.  Thus when we marry we are not just agreeing to love each other.  We are also entering into an agreement to work together to model the relationship between Jesus and his Church.  Thus God gives man, not just the authority, but also the responsibility for the home.  Religion is not the “woman’s” place.  Each husband will be responsible before God for how he lead his family in worship of God or lack thereof.

Peter recognizes that a believing woman married to an unbelieving husband would be tempted to divorce him, or at least fight his authority and ungodly leadership.  Peter asks the wife to submit to the ungodly husband in order to win him over to Christ.  Imagine telling your husband on one hand that he should turn from his sins and believe on Jesus (who submitted to death on a cross) and yet you are unwilling to submit to something far less.  Now are there obvious exceptions to Peter’s point?  Of course there are, however, Peter is not dealing with submission in the home as his main point.  It is a side point to the greater problem of Christians embracing rebellion and justifying it with God’s Word.  If a husband is physically abusing his wife then God is not telling her to submit to it.  However, it would be foolish to tell her to fight back.  In fact without repentance a divorce may be the only solution.  Can we hear the heart of Peter’s point without trying to completely dismiss it?

Wives Should Have Virtues Of The Heart

Peter turns to women more fully and speaks to them as daughters.  Verse 3 begins to challenge them to be more concerned about their inner heart than their outer appearance.  This is not just about adornment but is connected to the issue of submission.  Must I force the conformance of my marriage to an outward appearance that I want, all the while losing the transformation that Christ is doing in my heart?  Peter is not asking women to “stuff it” and submit.  Rather he is asking them to focus on their inner heart and make sure it is following Jesus and not their own flesh.

Now verse 2 encourages “chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”  Let me just say that God does not want women to be afraid of their husbands.  This is simply a misreading of what is being said.  Part of that is a cultural issue and part of it is our own sinful nature.  The Hebrew people had an understanding of fear, far more broad then we do.  It is the same with love and hate.  Do you remember in Genesis 29 when the Bible talks about Jacob loving Rachel more than Leah? The very next verse says that when God say Leah was hated he opened her womb.  Now we reserve the word “hate” for a strong revulsion against something.  But the context clearly shows that Jacob merely loved Rachel more.  Rachel was special to him.  He didn’t hate Leah in the way that we would think.  But he did love Rachel more than her.  This word for Hate can be exactly what we are used to it meaning, but it can also mean to love less.  This is the same with fear.  It can mean to be scared and in terror of something.  But in the context of authority it usually means respect for the job or position the person in authority has.  So the point is not to be afraid of the husband but rather to respect the gravity of the position he holds.  He will be accountable to God one day for how he leads.  Are you helping him to understand that and not be condemned or are you pushing each other to further error, in which you will both give account before God?  So a Christian wife should have chaste conduct that flows from a heart of respect for the duty God has placed on her husband.  She should be working with him and not against him, even when he is making poor choices.  Again, submission does have its boundaries and God is not calling women to be slaves.  Historically this has been misinterpreted and taken advantage of by men, for which they will give account.

Peter points to the importance of inner beauty over the top of outer beauty.  This is not a prohibition against outward adornment.  But rather, it is a call to spend more time on inner beauty than outward.  Outward beauty is fading.  You cannot spend enough money to counteract the effects of aging forever.  You will lose it.  What will you be left with?  If you spent all your focus on outer beauty then your life will be crushed and there will be no inner beauty within.  You can grow more beautiful with age.  God’s plan is not for men to have a mid-life crisis, divorce their wife, and marry a 25 year old.  His plan is for us to recognize the beauty in each other that is beyond the skin.  Will I be desirable when I am 50, 60, 70, 80….?  I will only if I focus on the inner above the outer.

Next he mentions a gentle and quiet spirit.  The word gentle is fairly clear.  It is basically strength under control.  A strong person can learn to be gentle and still strong.  We do not look for the weakest people to be our brain surgeons; rather we train them to be extremely careful and gentle in their movements.  The word “quiet” does not mean silence.  It actually means peaceful and tranquil.  Even when we disagree with one another we can interact in a peaceful way rather than with a rancorous fight.

Peter then gives an example of Sarah the wife of Abraham.  The main point is that she trusted God.  Her trust in God enabled her to peacefully walk with Abraham through some mighty, stupid plans of his.  I can hear Sarah now.  “We are moving, but God hasn’t told you where we are going yet?  O, great plan, Abram.”  Or, “I’m supposed to pretend to be your sister?  Please, do you think that cockamamie plan is going to work?”  Sarah trusted God and in the end God was faithful to her.

Lastly, Peter mentions that he doesn’t want the wives to be in fear and terror.  Mostly likely he is referring to the duty of submission although it could apply to their husbands as well.  Terror is not God’s plan for women.  He wants them to embrace it out of love to him.  But also out of a love of him, because God is not a rebel.  He is a submitted being at heart.  Historically, men have used strength to terrorize women into submission.  Is that Christ?  No, it is sin that will be judged by Christ when he comes.

Final Thoughts

Satan has wedged men and women against each other since the garden.  It is time we recognized that and fought back by uniting together in love.  A Christian marriage can be a beautiful thing for both husband and wife when they love each other in heart and action.  We should never justify horrible marriages under the banner of submission.  Rather, we should correct each other according to the word of God.

Don’t be driven by the desires of your flesh.  Rather,  be driven by the desire to properly represent the Lord and his gospel.

Submission Home I Audio


The Virtue of Submission 2

We will finish up 1 Peter chapter 2 as Peter continues talking to us about the virtue of submission.  Last week we looked at how our response to government can send the wrong picture of what Christ is.  He was not a rebel trying to take over the earthly kingdoms of this world.  But then neither was he a sycophant who was in love with human governance.  The passage today deals with the area of slavery.

The term here could be literally translated as a house servant as opposed to a lesser slave.  However, I’m not so sure that would make a difference in the instruction given.  There were many reasons why a person may end up as a slave.  Many ended up in slavery through indebtedness.  Depending on the size of that debt they could be slaves for less or longer periods of time.  Others were captured in wars and thus had little opportunity for freedom.  Others were born into that class.  Some hired themselves out as house servants with a contract for service.  Lastly some were in an apprentice relationship and thus took care of the master’s needs in return for instruction in a trade.  Notice that even in America we still have these types of relationships.  Have we truly abolished slavery?  We may have abolished a certain form of slavery, but no economic system can completely remove the principle of slavery.  Some men will always be at the economic mercy of others, whether through fault of their own or not.  Even the false hope of communism that called for all the workers to unite and cast off their oppressors, soon itself made everyone slaves to a system that was ran by the elite in the government.  Now put yourself in God’s position.  You have to give a word of instruction to people who will live under every kind of government conceivable and under every possible variation of leadership from evil to good.  What would you say that would serve your people or children well under every circumstance?  It is easy for modern people to hear this instruction to slaves and scoff like we are somehow more righteous than God.  May we approach His Word with the understanding that God is less concerned with meeting 21st century America’s approval and more with helping his people not lose their faith in this society.

Servants Should Submit To Their Masters

Peter speaks to those in the lower class of society who are being told through the Gospel that Jesus has set them free and they are children of God.  Instead of promoting a revolt against Rome and all governments that supported slavery, he tells them to take their proper place under their masters with fear.  Instead of despising their master and abandoning their post, they need to serve him and not assume that God would look kindly on any insubordination.  Because we get stuck on the word slave, we refuse to move on to the deeper point.  True slavery is never about your circumstances.  It is about your heart.  We see submission and service as slavery when in fact a free man is most able to serve.  God can set us all free in the natural, but will our hearts still be slaves to pride, arrogance, and selfishness?  If we attack God for speaking to this heart issue then we must at least own up to the fact that we are seeking temporary trinkets over the top of eternal joys.

Peter then speaks to the obvious question about a good versus bad master.  The good and gentle master is compared to the “harsh.”  The Greek word is skolios (where we get the word scoliosis).   It means twisted and perverted, curved towards self.  God is not pleased when his people use the errors and sins of others to justify their own error and sin.  We are not to deceive ourselves and cloak our sinful attitudes.

Peter reminds them that suffering because of doing good will be commended by God.  When we are aware there is a God, we are not so quick to try and take justice into our own hands.  Do you remember Jesus talking to his disciples in Matthew 5:46?  He said if you love those who love you what credit is that to you?  Don’t sinners do that too?  But if you love those who hate you, then you will be rewarded by God.  The same is true here.  If you submit to a good and gentle master that is not a credit.  But to lovingly serve a twisted, perverted master is to give him a picture of Christ.  Evil will not help a wicked master.  Only good can break through if it is possible at all.  However, our flesh is tempted to not care about God’s reputation or the wicked master’s soul.  We have a day of eternal reward coming, but he has an eternity suffering ahead.

Servants Must Remember Their Calling

Peter then reminds them of the Lord Jesus who has called them to follow him.  Our master, Jesus, suffered.  How can we be above suffering?  Even those who are not servants in the natural need to recognize that, we are called to follow Jesus in his sufferings.  He suffered injustice on our behalf because he loved us.  Am I refusing to do the same?  My flesh certainly does.  We need to learn to step in his steps and follow his lead.  Remember the passage of Isaiah 52:13 through chapter 53?  He is the suffering servant who is well acquainted with sorrow and grief.  When his disciples were asleep, his two constant companions, sorrow and grief, were wide awake.  However, we also need to follow Jesus in his response.  He didn’t use injustice as an excuse for sin or deceit.  He didn’t pay back wrong for wrong.  The word “revile” literally means to heap abuse upon someone.  He had the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and more piled upon him verbally, physically, and emotionally.  Yet, he didn’t threaten.  Can you imagine being threatened by God?  But Jesus didn’t do that.  He committed himself to God’s judgment and submitted himself to the judgment of men.  He was free to suffer injustice because he knew in his heart that he was right before God.  God would vindicate him and reward him.

Peter then reminds them that Jesus died because of our sins.  Imagine, Jesus carried your sins on himself.  He suffered your punishment.  The true believer has felt the repugnant effect of his own sin and died to it.  On the other hand he has seen the beauty of Christ’s love and come alive to his righteousness.  The suffering of Jesus (his stripes) makes us whole.  Who might be made whole through my suffering?  I can’t satisfy the punishment of other’s sins.  But Jesus has already done that.  However, we can be a vehicle for demonstrating and revealing Jesus to them.

It is clear that Peter had Isaiah 53 in mind as he wraps up this instruction by referring to them as sheep.  Isaiah said that all we like sheep have gone astray, but God has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Peter reminds them that they were wayward sheep who have come back to the good shepherd.  Only this shepherd is not watching over your flesh to help it be well fed.  He is watching over your soul.  Many a soul is lost for the sake of the pleasure of our flesh.  Always remember that rebellion destroys the soul.

Final Thoughts

Ask yourself, is my life reflecting Jesus or am I following a Jesus of my own making?  It is important for us to often remind ourselves of our sin and what it did to Jesus and yet his love is still towards us.

Lastly, ask yourself, do you trust God to deal with the injustices done to you in this life?  When we keep our “station” whatever it may be, even under the threat of evil, God is pleased and promises to reward us in the coming judgment.  God help us in the days ahead to understand that Jesus was not a wimp and yet he submitted.  Jesus was not a slave and yet he served us.  Let’s follow him!

Submission II Audio