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Published Date: January 5, 2011

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Published Date: January 5, 2011

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Reverencing Jesus

CONSIDER – Christ, the crucified God, “loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph. 5:2). Consider then what it means for a Christian marriage to be “in the Lord.”

THINK FURTHER – Though this is often lost in our translations, “submit to one another” (21), along with singing, making melody, and thanksgiving, is in the original Greek an expression of being filled with the Spirit (18). Just as the Spirit-anointed Christ did not seek his own advantage, so we should imitate him by submitting to one another. Paul explains what this means for the most important relationships in the first-century home: marriage, children and fathers, slaves and masters.

To put these in context, let us begin with the last. For many Christians slavery has little relevance, and it would be as foolish to reinstate slavery in order to fulfill this command as it would to ignore the far-reaching changes wrought over the centuries by the Gospel. Similarly, whereas first-century fathers exercised near-absolute authority over their children, we expect our children to take more responsibility, thinking through for themselves what it means to follow Jesus instead of simply imposing our will.

Likewise in marriage. In most first-century arranged marriages, young wives had little education and even less life experience than their considerably older, better educated, husbands. That Christian girls began to be married to men more their own age who were expected to remain faithful, meant that Christian marriages were more stable and fulfilling. Today wives tend to be at least as well-educated and experienced as their husbands. Our marriages are far more mutual than anything Paul could have imagined! For a husband to love his wife as he loves himself, indeed as Christ loves the Church, truly radicalizes our conception of submission. Reverencing Christ is the key, for both husband and wife.

APPLY – Ask yourself, “Is Christ truly the head of my life and my family”? How is this evidenced? How can I more closely follow Christ’s example in all my relationships?