Talking about reinstating slavery today would probably draw fire from liberals and conservatives alike. You’d have the ACLU and the SCLC and the NAACP and a bunch of other acronyms draggin’ you into court faster than you could say “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”Slavery has existed in many forms and countries from Biblical times. Our country fought a civil war between states in the South who wanted to keep slavery, and states in the North who wanted to abolish it. On January 1, 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that, though it did not completely end slavery, captured the hearts of millions of Americans and changed the character of the war. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, by the House on January 31, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865.¹
But to authentic followers of Jesus Christ, slavery is a high calling. Not just slavery but bond slavery. Bond slavers were distinguished from “slaves” by the nature of their allegiance. A slave was often considered hired help and could go from place to place for work. A bond slave, however was purchased by a master and was considered chattel, personal property, owned and controlled by the person who purchased them. Like livestock. Many owners of bond servants used to pierce the ear of a bond servant and put a ring through the servant’s ear, to distinguish him, mark him, as property owned by the master. Bond servants have no property, they have no rights, they earn no wages.
The Jews were not permitted to ever make bond slaves of their own race. The Gentiles, however, could have bond servants. When we come to the New Testament, however, the word in the Greek for the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ is not “hired servant” but “bond servant” by which is meant to sow that our position where we have no rights and no appeal, where we are the absolute property of our Master, to be treated just as He wishes.”²
If we understand who Jesus was, we realize that if we choose to be bond-servants, we are bond-servants to one who Himself was a bond servant. In Philippians 2 we read,
“Have this attitude in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7.
Jesus’ job in coming to earth was to serve man and bring man back into fellowship with God as beloved children. Jesus spent His entire ministry in stark and total humility as a bond servant to man. That is his lowly position today as He serves you and me each day.
If Jesus made himself nothing to become a bond servant to man, how lowly does that make us, if we are to be bond servants to Jesus? The degree of our servant hood to Christ depends solely on the degree to which we are willing to serve our fellow man. If we’re to be bond servants to Jesus, Paul admonishes in Philippians to,
“Do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility, consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4.
“WHOA! Wait a minute now. Are you telling me that I have to consider others more important than myself? Are you telling me I’ve got to put others first?”
No. Only if you want to be obedient to God’s word and serve Jesus like He serves you.
“But, it’s hard serving others. Especially if you have to be nice to that jerk next door and the egomaniac who works in the cubicle next to yours. They are cruel, negative, selfish, rude people. No one likes them.”
That may be true, but Jesus loves them.”
How about you? If Jesus came to your front door this evening and said, “Excuse me, I’m Jesus Christ and I’m taking a survey of my children. I just have one question. Right now, today. On a scale of one-to-ten, how would you rate your level of service to others? To me? One being no service, and ten being a totally committed and surrendered humble bond servant of mine, putting everyone else’s needs before your own?” . . . . So? . . . .Be honest . . . .What’s would you say your number is? What would Jesus say it is? He knows, you know.
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²Calvary Road ©1950 by the Roy Hession Book Trust, England; pg. 19.