Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 1 Peter 2:13-14
Submitting to the emperor is probably the most counter-cultural thing Peter’s audience could do. Nero is no friend of those following Jesus. In fact, he is no friend of almost anyone. He murders his wife and mother. He uses his power and position to gratify his desires. Even the Roman Senate declared him a public enemy. On top of it all, Nero persecutes Christians and may have burned them alive. To this most despicable of leaders, Peter tells them to submit and honor (1 Peter 2:17).
Perhaps anticipating their unwillingness even to consider doing this, Peter tells them why—“for the Lord’s sake.” This command has nothing at all to do with whether Nero was worthy of respect and honor. He certainly wasn’t. They were to do it because Jesus asks them to.
The reason is the same for us. We are to do it not because of the worthiness of government leaders or because their decisions merit this response. When we submit ourselves and honor our leaders—especially those of another political party—it makes Jesus look good in the eyes of those around us. This means that how we talk about our governor is a spiritual matter. What we say about our president (past or present) is connected to Jesus’s reputation. What we post on Facebook about the latest political topic makes Jesus look good or bad in the eyes of all who read it.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Start praying for the government leaders you struggle to honor. Use this prayer to fulfill Paul’s command in 1 Timothy 2:2 to pray for those in authority, “Father, even though I disagree with many of their policies, I pray today for __________________. I pray that you would bless them and show your goodness to them. Help me to honor them in my thoughts and words today.”
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
February is SABBATH. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.