The Special of the Day... From the Orange Moon Cafe...
Authority Above, Authority Below
The Lord Jesus Christ delayed the beginning of His ministry in respect of the earthly authority and guidance of Joseph and Mary.
"Honor thy father and thy mother... "And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business? And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them" (Exodus 20:12; Luke 2:46-51).
Interestingly, our Lord also began His ministry in deference to earthly parental authority.
"And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it... This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory" (John 2:3-5; 11).
The Lord Jesus well knew that God often executes His Divine authority through delegated human authority. Thus, He expected guidance from above, as manifested through agencies from below. This constitutes a challenging Biblical consideration in light of God's working to fulfill His perfect authority through imperfect human leaders. How does He accomplish this? Only our Lord knows the answer. We simply understand the fact of our wondrous Father's executing His ultimate purposes through the frailties of humanity. This includes those who personally lead us, or in larger jurisdictions such as government, the church, the workplace, and educational institutions.
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13).
Many questions arise in the light of such Biblical truth. We thus do well to "look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). First, He serves as our perfect example, as illustrated in the episodes mentioned above regarding Joseph and Mary (along with other accounts in the Gospels in which the Lord respected earthly authority). Our Savior also serves as the indwelling wisdom, understanding, and power regarding our own journey of respecting Divine authority by respecting human authority. As we trust and submit to God, the Holy Spirit reveals the character and nature of the Lord Jesus in the context of our lives and experience. In personal and practical terms, He guides us in our own particular path of exercising authority if given a place of leadership, and submission to authority when called to serve (Colossians 3:22-4:1).
It is a most fasinating historical reality that the Lord Jesus delayed His earthly ministry in respect to His parents. He also began His ministry in the same recognition of Divine authority revealed through human authority. We do well to remember the mystery of such wonder, and then to realize the same Christ now lives in us by His Spirit. He will lead us to walk in His humility and the recognition of our Father's inexpressibly wonderful ability to execute His perfect purposes through imperfect vessels of weakness.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."
Weekly Memory Verse
Put them in fear, o Lord, that the nations may know themselves to be but men.