Laying Down our Rights Today’s readings are Isaiah 6 – 7, II Chronicles 26-27, and Philemon 1.
Laying Down our Rights
Today’s readings are Isaiah 6 – 7, II Chronicles 26-27, and Philemon 1. We are reading from the New Living Translation.
The only way this world is going to be made right is if someone puts aside their rights, and offers love instead. Lay down your rights, in order to do what is right, to make this world right. That’s the request that Paul makes of Philemon. Onesimus was Philemon’s slave and had run away from him. In God’s providence, both men had been led to the Lord, by Paul. Now they are new people that God has begun a work of transformation in. Paul is sending Onesimus back to Philemon, who, legally, still owns him. This is a teaching moment for these two men. In this moment, Paul is challenging both of them to discover the depths of the Gospel – the radical extent to which the Gospel transforms individuals and societies. Paul is reminding Philemon that the only way the world is going to be made right is if people put aside their rights and offer love instead. Paul is saying, Philemon, you may own this man according to Roman law, but Jesus has shown you a better way. He has made you free by giving up His rights and becoming a slave so that you might be made right, and set free, by God. Paul describes this in Philippians 2:7.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
Jesus gave up his rights, to do what is right, so that this world might be made right. This is the only way that this broken world and it’s broken people are going to be made right. This was not only a call for Philemon, but for you and me. We are called to follow Jesus’ example and lay down our lives on behalf of others. There is no greater demonstration of love than to lay down one’s life for a brother. Jesus had done this for Philemon, and for all of us. Our joy and privilege is to follow His example. And when we do this not only is this world made right, but our souls are made right.
Follow his example. See what Jesus has done for you, how he has laid down his life for you. It is your privilege to follow him and do the same. It’s only as we lay down our life that we truly find it.
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