Thursday, March 18, 2010

Clothing Yourself with Greatness

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility. (1 Peter 5:5)
of these scattered churches to “shepherd the flock of God,” willingly and eagerly, leading not as lords but as examples. Next, he turns to those younger in the faith, who are under the spiritual care of these shepherds: “Likewise … submit yourselves to your elders.” He directs them to respond to the elders in the same way he directs the elders to lead them: willingly, eagerly, following their example.
The word for “submit” is hypotasso, the same word Peter used numerous times in chapter 2, of obeying governing authorities and honoring all people, of servants obeying their masters, of wives serving their husbands — and by submitting to all, exercising the true freedom we have in King Jesus the Messiah.

Now, he broadens his exhortation to include both elders and younger: “Yes, all of you, be submissive to one another.” The elders are to be just as submissive to the younger as the younger are to be to the elders. Submission is never a question about who is the boss; it is always about who is the servant, for those who are greatest in the kingdom of God are those who serve (Matthew 20:25-28).

This is really quite a radical thing Peter is telling them, for he adds, “… and be clothed with humility.” This is the heart of one who serves. The Greek word for “clothed” used here is egkomboomai; from komboo, the word for “knot” or “buckle.” It refers to tying on or fastening together garments such as aprons, the clothes of a servant. It is cast in the middle voice, which means we must clothe ourselves, taking upon ourselves the humble attitude of a servant.

Peter knew exactly what this looked like. On the night of the Last Supper, he saw Jesus do exactly that, how He “rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:4-5). At first, Peter did not understand and was embarrassed for Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus answered, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this” (v. 7). When He finished washing all their feet, He sat down and said,
Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)
Jesus clothed Himself with servant humility from the beginning. I call it the “algebra of love”: God is love (1 John 4:8). Love gives and serves (John 3:16; Mark 10:45). Even now, Jesus makes intercession for us at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34). If He has become the servant of all, should not we, then, also serve each other? Paul said,
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-9)
It is in clothing ourselves with humility and serving one another that we clothe ourselves with greatness in the kingdom of God.



Keeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Keeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Peter’s Letter to Jesus Believers Scattered Everywhere
Bite-Sized Studies Through First Peter
by Jeff Doles

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