“…Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…” —Philippians 2:5-7
If we take the Christian life seriously, we are slaves of Jesus Christ, as we are brought under His authority. Although we are His slaves, we do not feel like one because the relationship that He calls us into is one of love and friendship. But how does being a slave of Jesus Christ work out?
In Exodus 21, we have rules for slavery in Israel. A person could be sold as a slave by a court of justice on account of a crime that was committed or a person could be a slave voluntarily, usually on the grounds of poverty, and sell themselves. A slave could serve for six years, but in the seventh year, they would go free without paying anything. In fact, Deuteronomy 15:13-14 tells us, “When you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing-floor and your winepress. Give to them as the LORD your God has blessed you.” The free slave was to be given as much meat, grain and drinks as they could carry, which would help set them up for a few days. With this provision, it gives a slave every reason to leave after six years.
“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever” (Exodus 21:5-6, ESV). This decision from the slave to remain as a slave is not to be forced or threatened, but a voluntary declaration of “I want to continue being a slave because I love my master.” The master was to “then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become [his] servant for life” (Deuteronomy 15:17). A person with a pierced ear signified that they voluntarily chose to be a slave for life. Every piece of this person’s life has been entrusted to the master, the owner.
Did we know that Jesus had a pierced ear? Psalm 40 is a Messianic psalm about Jesus Christ. In verse six, it says, “You have not desired sacrifice and meal offering; You have opened my ears…” (NASB). Another way to translate “opened my ears” is “pierced my ears.” The psalm continues, “I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). For Jesus, He voluntarily submitted Himself to the will of the Father. Will we choose to be a slave of Jesus Christ?
Dear Lord, I humbly and willingly submit myself under Your will. I choose to be Your slave for life because I love You. Thank You, Lord.