Titles and positions have their place, as do superiority and subordination. I was busy in the kitchen yesterday with the radio on. I’m not sure what the discussion topic was, but someone called in saying that they detest the craving for power by some in positions of authority. The example he used was working for government, some who are directors general are not satisfied with the title Mister “X” or Miss “X” or Misses “X”, they want to be known as and called Director “X”. At times in a church it can be almost unbearable when people insist on using a title for a clergyman. Having the title is different from insisting that it be used. Like I have said before, we are all equal in Christ … the musician, the usher, the singer, the pastor, etc. Although Jesus’ preferred name for Himself was “Son of Man”, most likely taken from the Old Testament Book, Daniel, the New Testament writers refer to Him as Jesus … because that is most likely how He was known before His Resurrection and Ascension. All the leaders in both Testaments are referred to by their own names … no titles used. Having said that … we read in Matthew:
Mat 27:37 “Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
It was customary in the Roman Empire to draw up tablet when people were executed. In the Roman official language it was called “Titulus”. It was a metal plate coloured white with letters written in black. The person’s name and their crime was written on the tablet … that is, the reason for their execution (crucifixion or death in the lions’ den) was announced for all to see. Sometimes the condemned person would carry the tablet, holding it up or having it hanging around his neck for all to see as he walked towards where he would be executed. At other times it was carried by another person who would hold it high and visible. Once the person was … say crucified, this tablet would be secured above the head of the person. We don’t know whether Jesus carried His or whether another carried it … but we do known what it said and where it was secured after Jesus was raised on the Cross. The accuracy of the tablet cannot be better … for that is what Jesus was and that was His name, God given through the angel in chapter 1 of Matthew.
The reason I introduced my topic the way I did is because those fixated on titles are also fixated on their image and what they project into the community or society they move in. Even my title, though it defines me, could easily be a stumbling block to someone as often titles divide. They separate people into camps … and nowhere in all the Scriptures do I see this required. In God’s sight we are all equal. In a zoom call today with family the USA and friends in the UK, we chatted about the “royal family” and I mentioned that in our country a certain nation’s king died this past week. If a man or a woman are royalty by earthly designation and rules with authority and power over a people on earth … they die and their standing after death is the same as all who die! If they were Christian … they are equal to all other Christians. They will not have special rewards, titles and positions. This is true if they were non-Christians. They will die and be caste into the Fires that never die and suffer for all eternity … and there in hell they will be equal to all the damned.
Do you know the difference between a biography and an autobiography? A biography is the life history of an individual, written by someone else. An autobiography is the story of a person’s life, written by that person. Whether a person writes a book about their life or another does it, it draws attention to the person. Some love this. As you know I have a webpage in my name. I did not chose it, my family did. I hope no one looks at the page name … rather I trust they will look at the material hosted there. My point is and hopefully will always be that all focus and all attention MUST be upon Jesus. That is why I’m so happy with the tablet’s declaration about our Lord. What was not known is that it clearly pointed to who was being executed for all to see. They might not have grasped at the time what was happening … but this One being executed so gruesomely was slaughtered to bring reconciliation with God. He was held high as the only substitutional, penal, sacrifice for man’s sin. Only through Him would reconciliation with God be possible.
I love how the Spirit of God moved Paul to write:
2Co 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Who we are and what we have done for Jesus (though even our employment and other associations we belong to must be a testimony for Jesus) is what it’s really all about. We don’t need to promote our titles, degrees, certificates drawing attention to ourselves. What is written on our hearts must burst out daily in our engagements, in our marriage, family and home, school room, work place, neighbourhood, shopping mall, gym and sports club and whatever membership we are part off. A realization of what has just been written will help us to live at all levels of life for the glory of God out of a thankful heart for Jesus. He must get the attention!
Precious Lord, help me to seek daily to conduct myself in such a manner that I draw attention to You. Help me day by day to fill my heart with the Scriptures … soaked in prayer … so that my life might point to Jesus wherever I am. Help me Lord never to be a stumbling block causing others to be distracted from Jesus and the Gospel. Lord, let Your light shine through me. Thank You loving Saviour for being able to prayer like this in Jesus name. Amen.