“Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ [as there certainly is in abundance], if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship [that we share] in the Spirit, if [there is] any [great depth of] affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ].”
Philippians 2:1-2 Amplified Bible
Humility and Authority
A turbulent era. Jesus was born into the realms of fear, control, tyranny, and hatred. This was the societal norm. He lived and ministered in a very oppressive culture. People were governed by fear, so Jesus had to fully depend on His Father in Heaven for everything He believed, thought, and acted upon. He did nothing without the Father’s leading and would follow the Father’s directives at all cost. At any point where there was opposition to Father’s rule, Jesus would submit to Him and His ways. Father God was His authority. The Bible states in Luke 2:52 that “Jesus increased (grew and advanced) in wisdom, stature (maturity), and favor with God and men.” In this COVID-19 season, it’s important to increase in all these areas. It’s essential to value the protection of the physical health of others. People should be very wise and consider their actions accordingly. It’s also very important and essential to protect the God-given freedoms of others so they aren’t unduly burdened and enslaved economically, physically, psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually. The Lord desires His children to be healthy and free in all areas. Humility is the key to powerfully affect change. The spirit of humility that led Jesus, the Slain Lamb, to the cross is the same spirit of humility that led the Lion of Judah to roar and raise from the dead. Both are radical. The Lord has given us the freedom to openly practice our faith and we must stand for what He has given us without fear. He knows the weight of our choices. True and lasting PEACE and JOY will be our reward! As the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle (battle) is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We war from a place of victory as His worship warriors. We don’t hide our head in the sand.
Jesus frequently broke traditional Jewish interpretation of the religious laws surrounding Him. He did not break Biblical commands. In Luke 13:10-17 He strongly verbally opposed the religious leaders and defied their opinions and ways. He healed a woman who was crippled for 18 years, possessed by an evil spirit, on the Sabbath. This was a major breech in the eyes of the religious which fueled the rising hatred towards Him. Zechariah 9:9-10 prophetically announced that the coming King of Zion would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey as a king. Jesus became the fulfillment of that prophecy as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as the King, as reported in Matthew 21:1-11. Clashing with powerful religious thinking, Jesus was declaring that He was the Messiah. More anger, hatred, and jealousy were stirred against Him. Upon entering the city, Jesus went to the temple and was clearly angered by the defilement and desecration. The holy place was turned into a marketplace. According to Mark 11:15-17, “Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations but you have made it a robbers’ den.’” This was intense. Jesus took action. This was not silent Jesus. He was radical yet sinned not (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:22). He heard His Father.
There was harsh conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem, yet He lived a holy and righteous life. This triggered the ultimate hatred and offense against Him. Jesus was judged as a law breaker by the Jewish leaders and died a criminal’s death, ordered by the governmental authorities. Crucifixion was His portion. Both anti-kingdom systems worked hand in hand to silence the Lamb. Both were used. The Ultimate Servant was unjustly punished for spreading the love of The Father. He was killed for living in peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit, as He gave His life to serve humanity. May we consider Him above all. He was (and is) the Humble Lamb of God who was slain. He was (and is) the Humble Lion of Judah who is coming again. People were on His mind. People were in His heart. Passive? No. JESUS CHRIST WAS A HOLY REBEL.
We as Christians must understand the government’s role in society. While we recognize its legitimate authority in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17, we also must clearly and wisely discern as we seek to understand Holy Spirit’s directives for our actions and decisions. We are ultimately governed by our Higher Kingdom Authority and must obey His voice above all. We are citizens of Heaven first and foremost. We are called to be led by and follow King Jesus who paid the unimaginable and outrageous price for our lives. Our response is to live fully for Him, to please Him. These following Scriptures are inherent to our Kingdom culture as sons and daughters of the Most High God, and must not be ignored or tabled when there is a crisis. The inability to freely demonstrate His love in Dunamis power is a diabolical strategy intended to neutralize and eventually eradicate our effectiveness as followers of Jesus. We must have eyes to see and not let that happen. As stated in Matthew 10:1,7-8, “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.’” Jesus knew that His followers would have a hard road before them. He always spoke the truth, and it was always gentle and kind. His definition of gentle and kind needs to become our definition of gentle and kind. Matthew 10:16 AMP bottom lines His straightforward and unapologetic approach, “Listen carefully: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves (have no self-serving agenda).” We are sent ones.
Before His Ascension, Jesus gave us our marching orders as noted in The Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 states “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” What is the Lord’s plan for the great end-time harvest that is imminent? Are we actively part of that Kingdom culture? What is the heartbeat of our King in this hour?
As the early Church began to grow in Acts 4-5, Peter and the Apostles were performing many miracles. According to Acts 4:29-31,33 many sick and afflicted were touched in the midst of great opposition: “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed the place where they had gathered together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. And with great anointing and power the Apostles were giving testimony to the Resurrection of The Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” Revival was escalating.
We further read in Acts 5:11-16 that revival continued “And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things (also referring to Ananias and Sapphira). At the hands of the Apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also, the people from the cities from the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”
Imprisonment and Supernatural Release
Peter and the Apostles were beaten and jailed as the Sadducees were enraged. But Acts 5:19 reminds us “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison and taking them out, he said, ‘Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.’ Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, saying, ‘We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.’ Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. But someone came and reported to them, ‘The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.’” The Lord is serious about the Gospel being spread with the demonstration of signs and wonders regardless of what is happening in society. There is no pause in Satan’s kingdom. He is relentless.
The Apostles were brought back to the Council and were questioned in Acts 5:28: “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than man. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.’”
Finally, in verses 40-41, the Apostles were whipped and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus and were released. They rejoiced that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. Verse 42 states: “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on preaching and teaching Jesus as the Christ.” The Apostles followed the model of Jesus’ life.
THEY FOLLOWED THE LAMB IN THE SPIRIT OF HUMILITY
They spread the Kingdom. They rejoiced in suffering. They refused to be silenced.
Jesus is calling us to become like Him. An impossible mandate. Only through complete submission to Him, His heart, and His Kingdom ways is this possible. This will cost us everything, our entire lives. We must become the message. It takes humility to know when to be a lion and when to be a lamb. It takes the leading of the Spirit. True humility can take the form of both. This is a vital message for this COVID-19 season.
Philippians 2:3-11 AMP
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit (through factional motives, or strife), but with an attitude of humility (being neither arrogant nor self-righteous), regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this same attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (look to Him as your example in selfless humility), who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God (as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes-the entire nature of deity), did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted (as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it); but emptied Himself (without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity)) by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men (He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man). After He was found in (terms of His) outward appearance as a man (for a divinely appointed time). He humbled Himself (still further) by becoming obedient (to the Father) to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also (because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself), God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow (in submission) of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.”
In response to these verses, we are encouraged and told in Philippians 2:12a-13, “work out your salvation with fear (of the Lord) and trembling (in His presence); for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for HIS good pleasure.” When we believe that God is really at work in us to see His will accomplished and that this is for His pleasure (and glory), our desire for deeper humility increases. We readily want to wear the brown robe of humility. Our hunger for more of JESUS will increase as we fully consider the Lamb and the Lion. As we mature in this revelation, nothing will be able to hinder or stop the fiery believer who intimately knows the Master. These are not suggestions; these are God’s orders for us. They are strong, loving, and kind. Embracing His mandate will enable us to better love others the way Jesus did and does today.
During COVID-19, we must know and remember who He really is and whose we are, so we can love Him and others wholeheartedly. Our hearts must be purified in this season, so we are not acting or speaking out of what the Lord defines as fear. He doesn’t want us to label something as wisdom when it’s not. He doesn’t want us to be led by “that’s just what my heart tells me” when making choices. The Lord knows the difference, and so does the enemy of our soul. Jesus brings and is freedom, which defines true faith.
In America we have been blessed with liberties in life (religious and others) that were wrought by the blood sacrifice of many. Many fought for our freedoms of today with their own lives, and God has blessed us through their sacrifices. They have shed their blood. We must never take that for granted. It is our duty as citizens of the USA to value those sacrifices and freedoms, and responsibly protect those liberties for others. This is selflessness, not selfishness. The accuser wants this to be confused in our thinking so we make unwise decisions. Jesus considered the life and liberties of others when he overturned the tables and wrecked the money changers’ and merchants’ plans. The Lord knew the weight of those intense actions and more. The same holds true for us today. Jesus carried in His heart the weight of the needed freedoms and acted selflessly to ensure those for all. He delivered us from the power of tyranny, bondage and slavery, and we are to uphold and guard the same for others today and in the future. This is true humility; to see as Jesus sees. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free” (Galatians 5:1).
Daniel stood his ground, against all odds, for his right to practice his faith and worship God. Esther stood her ground to do the same, at the risk of her personal demise. And there are many other Old Testament examples for us to ponder. Consider the book of Acts as ground zero for us. Life after the Resurrection was explosive. We must fight for the heart of our King so others can enjoy the freedoms that we currently possess. To do so, we must be continuously overflowing with the Holy Spirit, filled with His power, His boldness, and courage that only comes when Jesus is our complete obsession. HOLY JOY will be the hallmark of our lives! No person or thing is to supersede our full allegiance to the King. All areas of our lives are to be wholly given to Him. Nothing remaining. No excuses. No rationales. Complete surrender. The life of a holy rebel, pleasing our God. That’s why we are here. This is reality.