2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. (NIV 2011)
In ancient Rome, when a military commander or great general came back to the Eternal City after a victorious campaign, a triumphal procession was given to honour both the leader and also the mightiness of Rome itself. Behind the victorious leader in his chariot, a procession of captives, made up of kings, chieftains, princes, and other tribal leaders from the defeated region, would slowly march in chains after the glorified general. This was to publicly display how great a victory had been accomplished, as well as to humiliate the once-proud and defiant enemies of Rome.
The apostle Paul used this public spectacle as a means of describing the followers of Christ. Jesus had triumphed over sin and death; His disciples and servants had been conquered by His Spirit, and so they became captives of Christ. Paul was declaring that Christians became prisoners of Christ, whose only purpose was to glorify how great a victory Christ had accomplished.
In today's post-modern, individualistic, idealistic world, this is a very hard concept to accept. We are so used to being free and independent spirits that we find it difficult to embrace the idea of being captives and prisoners of Christ. We tend to want God to do things for us; we feel that Jesus should support our ideas and opinions, beliefs and needs. Being servants of Jesus is a lot harder to accept than being served by God; becoming captives of Christ and His ways impinges on our personal freedom and individual choice. We want Jesus to accept us as we are and what we want to be; we flinch and push back against the chains of conformity, as well as the fetters of our faith. Pride prevents us from surrendering to Christ's will, which is not only a sin, but an act of defiance.
Let's use this precious time, right now in God's presence, to recalibrate our commitment to Christ.
Questions for personal reflection: Are we willing to become Christ's captives in order to glorify His victory, or are we still hesitant to let go of what we want, in order to embrace His will?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we want to follow and serve You, but sometimes, we are afraid to make a compelling and total commitment to You. Forgive us for being hesitant, and help us to stop resisting Your ways. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.
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