Tuesday, May 19

A slave of Jesus

Scripture: 1 Kings 6, 2 Chronicles 3, Psalm 97, Romans 1

Romans 1:1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.

Observation

Paul begins his letter to the Roman Christians whom he has never met by introducing himself as “a slave of Christ Jesus.”  Then he adds that he is “chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.”  

An apostle was an exalted role in the early church, a position of authority.  But before Paul was a respected apostle, first he was simply Jesus’ slave.

In the Old Testament, to be “the servant of the Lord” was also an exalted title, an honor.  It’s possible that Paul uses it with that sense here, although his Gentile readers in Rome would have missed that inference.  

Most likely his readers understood it in the Roman cultural context: a slave belonged to someone else to whom he/she owed absolute obedience.  Paul proudly saw himself as belonging to Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and clearly gave Jesus his full obedience.

Before he was Jesus’ apostle, first he was Jesus’ slave.

Application

I believe that this is true of every Christian (1 Corinthians 7:22, Ephesians 6:6)—that I am, we are all, slaves of Jesus.  This is not a derogatory statement—it is a high honor.  And it means that I belong to Jesus, my life is not my own, I’ve been bought with a price.  And I owe Him my absolute obedience.  

It means that my life as a whole, and my individual days and moments, are His to command.  Imagine how differently you’d live if you asked your Master, “What do You want to do with my life?  With my time today?”  I tend to see myself as an independent agent, doing what I want.  In fact, I’m currently working on planning the next season of my life, and my first question shouldn’t be, “What do I want to do?” but “What do You want me to do?”  

Here’s the cool thing: I’m never more free than when I’m Jesus’ slave!  (John 8:31-36)

Prayer: Lord, help live today as your slave—and be free indeed!