Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:13-15 (NIV).
Peter knew the score. He may not have known he would, like Jesus, die by crucifixion, but he knew it was possible. All his life he had seen Rome crucify those it wanted to punish…or silence. Ever since the resurrection, Peter and his closest friends had been under surveillance, in prison, been tortured, been persecuted for simply stating, “I believe in Jesus.” Peter and the other disciples understood that both their homeland Jewish church and the occupying Roman government were deadly set against them. They understood what could, what probably would, happen to them for following The Way.
And they did it anyway. The Spirit of Christ crucified compelled them to lovingly, boldly, unabashedly proclaim that Jesus is Lord. In doing so, they proclaimed His word to submit to those authorities who they knew were set against them. Knowing what we know now, it was an act of love.
Jesus Himself had said “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” That’s more than just advice about tithing. It is His advice for applying common sense in a non-sensical world. Money? Pay what you’re required to pay to the government and what your heart moves you to give to God. Employment? Devote yourselves to your work for your employer but give your service to him as an act of worshipping God. Time? Use it wisely because the world is watching, but whatever you do, use it as a testament of God’s love for you.
We do that for God. We do that for us. We do that so that others, who don’t believe in Jesus, will look at us and, like that pagan centurian, give unwitting glory to Him and say, “this was a righteous man or woman.”
We do it because this is God’s truth and that truth sets us free. God wants all His people – and that’s all 7 billion of us – to know, love, worship, and share Him. He wants all of us to live in His peace, yet most of us don’t. Most people on this planet don’t know Jesus or outright reject Him. They are the ignorant, foolish people of whom Peter speaks, yet God loves and provides for them, too. Jesus died for them, too. And He wants us to live our lives as a faithful testimony to Him so that others may see this and let nascent questions become roots of faith.
We do life for Him. That’s the real score for us to make and watch.
For further reading: John 8:32, Galatians 5:13, Peter 2:16
Lord Jesus, let my thoughts and actions testify about You today.