18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:18-25
With the privilege of preaching comes the responsibility of a Pastor’s Note, so here’s a “tale from the field” to orient us to this week’s message.
I called the training “Doulos: training servant-leaders for the church,” and it was the final piece to get the church established. You see, leadership training is an essential component of how the Bible tells us to plant churches. (Can I get a PSA – proclaim, strengthen, appoint – from the Acts class students?) A couple sessions in, some new potential leaders joined and were immediately protesting the training. They were shocked that we used the Greek word “doulos,” meaning slave, as the name of the training and even more upset that we were encouraging leaders to be servants. The offense of slavery was very real in their country of origin and the concept of a leader being any less than a “lord” or “powerful authoritarian” was unfamiliar. When we pointed out that Jesus said He came not to be served, but to serve (Matt 20:25-28), and that those who want to be great in His kingdom must be servants (Mark 9:35), we almost had a full-fledge revolt on our hands.
It took some time, but eventually order was restored. Do you know what unlocked this concept for them? It happened when they came to the realization that slavery is a terrible, horrendous, despicable thing unless the Master is good, perfect, sacrificial, and has preformed the greatest act of servanthood in dying in the place of us. They concluded that this kind of master is the only one worthy of giving over total control of their lives.
This week, we study a paragraph of Scripture that requires this kind of realization. Encased in the cultural norms of a broken society, Peter writes to servants, telling them that the Shepherd and Overseer of their souls instructs them to “be subject” to their master. Like the potential leaders mentioned above, it shocks us. And like them, we will need to see the beauty, sacrifice, and goodness of Jesus to understand why He uses servants to teach us how to be “Forged in Meekness.”
Here’s the worship set to help you prepare as well!
See you Sunday!
Pastor of Ministry & Mission Development