Our pastors are currently preaching through the book of 1 Peter and today came to 3:1-8 which is addressed to wives and husbands. The passage starts with a command to wives to be submissive to their husbands. Consider that a minute. The very suggestion seems odd and out of place in our culture. Militant feminism has become so ingrained into our national psyche that we sort of just stare at the suggestion in disbelief. Try to blink through the bewilderment and stick with me, there is a very important point coming.
Peter’s central point is to live more like Jesus in all the situations you find yourself in. So when he addresses people living under the central government in Rome he says, submit yourselves. To slaves, he says submit to your master. To wives he says submit to your husbands. To husbands he says to be considerate and to treat your wife with respect. What is in the middle of all of that is most instructive.
Sandwiched between four commands to submit to authorities in our lives are these words: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” Doesn’t it always come back to Jesus somehow? Jesus, though he was completely innocent, accepted a death sentence from a corrupt government. He was silent as lies were said about him and held his tongue while wicked men insulted him. I don’t know about you but I could never do that. Eventually someone would say something and I would be all over the comeback. Not Jesus.
Jesus understood that he was under another authority and a greater one. It did not really matter if those who imagined themselves better than the Holy One of God insulted him with profanities. The cowardly judge who finally sent him to death because he had trouble controlling a crowd did not have the final say. “Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
And now we have come to the real issue. If Jesus can trust himself to God all the way to a hill of death can’t you and I submit ourselves to the authorities over us knowing it is only for a little while? Somehow, that’s not as easy to do as it is to write.
How do you handle authority in your life? Is it a struggle? Share your story in the comments. I’d love to hear it.