Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reflections on the Radical Road - Submitting

Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church

Sermon Title: A Child's Radical Impact – Luke 2:22-52

“Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them (Mary & Joseph) and was obedient to them.” Luke 2:51

When Mary and Joseph found the 12 year-old Jesus in the temple, we see the first evidence that Jesus understood his true identity. He states, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Mary remembered the words of Gabriel. Joseph must have known that Jesus was entrusted to him by a higher Father. So, everybody seemed to be aware that Jesus carried the weight of divine authority on his pre-teen shoulders. Which is what makes verse 51 all the more interesting.

Jesus – God in human form – went with Joseph and Mary back to Nazareth and was obedient to them.

Mike pointed out in the sermon that Jesus grew up under the authority of his parents, and this was true even after he became aware of the authority he rightly held over them.

Submission has become a nasty word in our culture. It conjures images of tyrannical parenting, abusive husbands, and perverted sexual bondage. Even those of us who buy into a good definition of submission tend to carefully determine when and where we allow it to be applied to our lives. For me, it sometimes sounds like this:

“I’ll obey those over me, if I agree with the person in charge.”

“I’ll follow the rules, if I determine that they are fair and work in my best interest.”

“I’ll obey someone over me, if they have the power to punish me.”

“I’ll submit, if I recognize that someone has a superior position to my own.”

Yet Jesus, being in the very nature God, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil 2). Jesus' obedience to God which led to his death on a cross was learned at home with Joseph and Mary.

Jesus submitted to them even though he knew he held ultimate authority over them. In doing so, he teaches us to submit to others over us, even when we are convinced that we are superior to those people in some way.

Richard Rohr states it like this, “All spiritual learning is a function of surrender.” Could it be that we grow in our faith not only when we learn to submit to God, but also when we learn to submit to others who are over us?

Is it possible that we will not learn to submit to a God who we cannot see until we learn to submit to authorities in our lives who we can see?

Today, consider the people who live in authority over you. Do you place conditions on your willingness to obey them? How can the example set by Jesus inspire you to grow in your faith by your willingness to submit to others?

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