This morning I felt rebellious. I still feel that way in many respects. I dragged my feet to study, I dragged my feet to pray, I dragged my feet to write my thoughts for the day. In almost every way, I’ve been rebellious today, even in snapping at my wife when she didn’t deserve it. Ironically, I’m preparing to preach on Genesis 3 this Sunday, which is the foundation of Man’s rebellion against God and His Rest. I’ve come to realize this, though, in my study and in my own rebellion: rebellion has no place in the Kingdom of God.
Think about it a moment, Peter and Paul both advocated for obedience and submission to earthly authorities, even as they were imprisoned and tortured by said entities. Why? Because the Kingdom of God is not one taken by Force…at least not until the King returns to conquer the nations and rule and reign forever. This morning, and again, I credit God with His timing and foreknowledge, I read about Jesus meeting with Pilate in John 18. Jesus assured Pilate that He was indeed King, but that His Kingdom was not of this world, which is why His followers were not fighting on His behalf. This is demonstrated by the fact that when Peter sliced off Malchus’ ear to defend his Master, Jesus healed the man’s ear and rebuked Peter for fighting back.
It is not for us to fight the King’s battles for Him. Some day He will return, conquering. We, though, in occupied enemy territory need to be of the resistance, not in the rebellious sense, but in the way in which we live so radically different from the rest of the world, drawing those imprisoned by sin to Jesus who can give them Life, and that abundantly. Today, as in every day, I choose to lay my sword down, I choose to lay my life down, and I pick up my cross and follow Jesus completely.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Peter 5:1-11
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.