1 Peter 2:13-17
The Authority of the Son: Narrative based on Mark 2:1-12
“What are you doing to my roof?” Zebedee cried out. But it was too late.
Ever since Jesus returned to Capernaum, crowds continued to come, hoping to see Jesus. This time, at Zebedee’s home, Jesus began to teach a huge crowd when suddenly dirt and roofing started to fall on the crowd inside the home. A man was lowered through the roof!
Jesus saw the concern of Zebedee and called out to the men, “That’s enough! I get it, you want to be healed. Let him all the way down. Now, son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus then waved his hands and the roof was fixed. Jesus turned and winked at Zebedee, “That was for you, my father.”
“That is blasphemy,” the religious leaders whispered to each other. “Only God forgives sins.”
“I know what you’re thinking,” Jesus warned them. “But why are you more worried about religious protocols than healing the sick sheep in your flock? The Son of Man has both power to heal and authority to forgive.” Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Now you may take up your mat and walk home!”
The man smiled. Taking Jesus at his word, he arose before the crowd, picked up his mat, and walked out of the house.
“The Son of Man?” Simon asked John, “Who is this man?”
“Praise God,” Andrew and John replied, “All I know is that was awesome!”
1 Peter 2:13-17. Submit Yourselves
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
Submission Starts Here. We would all agree that submitting to God is a good idea, whether we do it or not. However, it is much more difficult for us to submit to human authority. Peter explained that God put human authorities in our lives to enforce appropriate behavior in society. Even if these authorities don’t appear to be godly, God chooses to use them. Jesus set an example in this area by paying taxes, deferring to religious leaders, and obeying the Roman laws. As a matter of fact, Hebrews 5:7-8 says that Jesus wrestled in submissive prayer and through that suffering he learned obedience. Submission to God starts with submission to human authorities. That submission teaches us obedience.
The Obedient Life. Peter described the impact of living a submissive, obedient life. When people see Christians demonstrating God’s will by properly demonstrating the freedom of submission, they will start to wonder where this faith comes from. We have freedom to obey or not to obey. Christians demonstrate the power of a godly life when we use our freedom to serve God. The word Peter uses for service is the same word used throughout the New Testament to describe Christians—God’s slaves. We become enslaved to whatever power we submit to. Instead of submitting ourselves to the world’s power, we choose to be slaves to the One we love and trust. Our obedience to God, demonstrated in our obedience to human authority is a testimony of our faith.
Proper Respect. Peter applied the principle of submission to every relationship. Our respect for men is the proof that we are submitting to God. This applies in every area:
- We respect everyone, even those without faith, thus demonstrating the love of Jesus to all men, “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.” (Message, Matthew 5:46).
- Peter commended Christians to “love the family of believers” as a matter of proper respect. They are after all, God’s children. You wouldn’t mistreat the King’s children, would you?
- Peter reminded them to “fear God.” You would think this would go without saying. However, I know that in my own heart, I take for granted the blessings of God. I need to be reminded to respect the One who truly deserves my respect. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
- Peter closed out where he began, “honor the emperor.” Regardless of who that is (and the Roman Emperors were less than deserving of honor!), we are to respect the human authorities in our lives.
Personal Application ____________________________
1. What insights did I gather from today’s devotional?
2. What decisions should I make?
3. How can I put into action what I’ve learned?
4. Share with another person what insight, decision or action you have taken.