And whatever you do, do it with heart, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
It’s been 9 months, and John is ready to be born! So, he is, and his father Zacharias is still mute. After 8 days, John is circumcised, and everyone comes over to see him and ask what his name is. Back then, it was common to name a child after their father or grandfather, so they expected his name to be Zacharias, but Elizabeth shocks them by revealing that his name is actually going to be John. When they go to Zacharias to ask what the kid’s name is, Zacharias writes “His name is John”, and instantly his ability to speak returns, he praises God, and he’s filled with the Holy Spirit and begins to prophesy about John’s destiny!
What’s important here is why Zacharias lost his voice in the first place, and how he gets it back. Zacharias lost his voice because he resisted God’s authority and doubted when Gabriel visited him, and he regains it when he faithfully obeys God’s command to name his son John. Zacharias is not only freed from his speaking constraints, but he is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesies! It was only when Zacharias yielded to the will of God that he was freed from his bondage and used as a vessel for God’s glory!
In many of the letters in the New Testament, the apostles call themselves ‘servants’ or “bondservants” of Jesus Christ. The Greek word is “doulos”, and it literally means slave; they were calling themselves slaves of Jesus! For many of us today, that makes us uncomfortable, because the words “slavery” or “slave” have an extremely negative connotation, but we have to put aside our modern context so we can see what they were saying back then. Paul often stressed the crucial fact that Jesus is Lord; He is God’s chosen King who’s been given all authority in Heaven and Earth, sits at the right hand of God’s Throne, and calls us to receive Him as the Master of our lives, the King of our hearts. And this wasn’t just a cute sentiment for Paul, it truly meant that Jesus is our Ruler, and that when we surrender our lives to Him, we give up our right to be in charge, and make Him the rightful Director of our lives!
So, when Paul and the other NT authors call themselves bondservants or slaves of Jesus, they’re basically calling themselves humble servants of the King, whom they’re totally devoted to; it was their way of expressing their humility and subservience to Christ! And this isn’t a forced, agonizing thing, it’s a choice to serve and obey the same Lord who became a Servant Himself, and died for us because of His love. Even though we’re more than servants because we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters into God’s family, we willingly make ourselves Jesus’ servants/slaves out of our deep love and gratitude to Him! And here’s the great thing about it: when we humble ourselves, and present ourselves as servants of Christ, we not only experience freedom from our sin-struggles and chains, but we also make ourselves available for Him to produce fruit in our lives and use us as His vessels!
- I encourage all of us to come to the realization that Jesus is the Messiah, our Lord, who purchased us with His own blood and freed us from slavery to sin and Satan. He wants us to surrender our will to His, and to live under His loving rule. When we do that, and willingly submit to His authority, we’re freed from any slavery we might have to sin, and allow Him to use us for His Kingdom! Where are you resisting His authority? How can you kneel before King Jesus and honor Him as your Lord?
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)