with Jeremy Westcott
When Jesus lived on earth, He had power over nature, power over sickness, power over demons, power over everything. He taught about speaking to the mountain and telling it to move. He operated in the power of the kingdom to bring everything into subjection to God’s will and purpose. He wants us to live the same way.
‘Training for reigning’
Those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17)
It is clear from this verse that we will reign. Reigning is what is done by a king, on a throne, over a territory or an area they govern (their kingdom). Notice that those who are to reign need to receive it as a gift. It is not achieved through our own strength, self-effort or self-worth. It is through receiving the gift of righteousness.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth (Rev 5:10).
There is a period of training we have to go through for this. Many of us find ourselves in that place of training right now. If we try to remain in control, seated on the throne of our life (which contains the scroll of our destiny), there is no seat of rest or government for us. We have to abdicate the throne of our lives in favour of Jesus. We have to give up the throne, give up control of our lives.
When we make Jesus Lord, He can then train us to be lords. That training involves trials, troubles and tribulation, circumstances which teach us to overcome and to grow, situations in which we manifest His kingdom.
But the first thing He wants us to do is to learn to be servants.
We sing about ‘lifting Jesus higher’. The first way of lifting Him higher is for us to go lower. When we have abdicated the throne of our lives, when we are on our faces in obedience, He is higher. The servant does the works of God. This is part of our training to occupy the throne and the seat of government.
Jesus is our example of what it means to be a servant. Even though He was a king, he came to serve. Everything in the kingdom of God starts with having a servant heart:
“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matt 20:26).
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him” (John 12:26).
When Jesus talks about ‘where I am’ in this verse, He is referring to the relationship He has with the Father: He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. He says that we can be part of that relationship too.
Humility and obedience
When we humble ourselves, when we bow down in obedience to serve Him, the Father will raise us up. It is not for us to raise ourselves up, and try to get on a throne. We certainly do not try to lord it over other people, or seek to control or manipulate situations. We bow down in humility, and we surrender our lives to Him who will equip us to be on a throne. If we sit on a throne, and do not know how to use authority correctly, we will abuse that authority. The correct use of authority will bring blessing to ourselves and to others. And God will honour us.
Jesus was obedient to do the works that the Father directed Him to do. In absolute strength, He surrendered that strength to His Father. He learned to allow God to work through Him.
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19).
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10).
Obedience is the training to know that we are a habitation of God’s presence; to know that God will work through us as a channel of His glory and power – if we surrender.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).
Doing greater works than Jesus may sound pretty impressive, but it is actually just being a servant.
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).
In the Old Testament, when someone was sold into slavery, they could go free after seven years. Many chose not to go free, and became bond-servants. So a bond-servant is someone who could have gone free, but chose not to; someone who chose to surrender their freedom in order to serve their master. They wore a ring in their ear to show that was their status. This is how Paul describes both himself and Jesus:
…although He existed in the form of God, [He] 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. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8).
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered (Heb 5:8).
Through the things that Jesus went through in His life (and death), He learned obedience.
We learn to obey through exactly the same process, even through the difficult things that sometimes happen to us. Jesus totally humbled Himself and surrendered His authority and power so that the Father could use Him for His kingdom purposes.
Jesus was a bond-servant, and God is looking for those who are willing to become bond-servants, just like Him. Because they can be trained to be kings, and ultimately revealed as sons.
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