NAILED IT / romans 1:1
Saul was a prominent Pharisee, a graduate of the most respected Rabbinical University of their time, under the great Gamaliel; a “Hebrew of Hebrews”, voted most likely to succeed. The young lawyer, intense and full of zeal, lived up to his namesake. He was a rising star, renown for his knowledge of the Scriptures. He was a terrible speaker, but everybody wanted him on their team for trivia night in the synagogues. Saul went from being the “requested one” of Israel, to “Tiny (little)”, the Roman name of Paul.
But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him before God, then he shall bring him to the door or the door-post. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life.
— Exodus 21:6
In the ancient world, it was customary for concurred nationals to be enslaved, unless one had enough money to buy his way out. Life as a Roman slave was cruel at best and it began with at the auction block, sealed with a searing, red-hot brand of the winner’s bid, Yet, the unthinkable was yet to come. If lucky, the slave had a chance to win the master’s favor for the chance of an extra bread-crumb, a less severe chore, and one day—a chance at freedom, albeit dead or alive. To die is relief, to live is to forever carry the mark of his sordid past.
The Hebrew world was different. There were four ways to become an e’bed or servant/slave: 1) extreme poverty, 2) sold by their father, 3) bankruptcy, 4) a thief unable to repay. According to the Torah, they were not to be mistreated, rather, cared for. He would serve for six years and then be released on the day of the seventh year. But, he could choose to stay because of his master’s kindness and/or the love for his family. The master would bring him to make a public appeal before the judges and return the master’s house. There, the master drove an awl (ancient hole-punch), through the servant/slave’s ear, making him a permanent part of the master’s house-—literally. The slave would forever serve under the watchful care, provision and control of his beloved master.
A pierced ear publicly proclaimed the life-long devotion to the goodness of a master—giving an ear as a pledge of obedience. It was by this “opened ear” that Messiah did not tap-out (Psa 40:6). He willingly gave his back to those who struck him, to pluck out his beard. He didn’t cower from the humiliation or when spat upon (Isa 50:4-6). He knew being equal with God was a concept beyond our reach, so He became a bond-servant, appearing as a man, in obedience, NAILED IT to the cross (Phil 2:6-11). He paid the price on the auction block. Now, Jesus offers freedom to every slave who will choose Him as their Master.
Whether we like it or not, we’re all slaves—we’re controlled by who/what has our ear. “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody” (Bob Dylan). We try to convince ourselves to multi-task. However, Jesus clarified, “No one can serve two masters; either we’ll hate one and love the other, or we’ll be devoted to one and despise the other” (Mat 6:24). I claim to be an e’bed, a doulos, this bonded slave for life. I’ve tacked a chunk of my ear to the door of His house. Yet, who’s REALLY got me by the ear? Sometimes, like Peter, I frantically swing my will around to maintain control—lopping off my devotion to the Master, just to give it to someone/thing else. Ironic. Jesus’ last miracle reattached a slave’s ear. As a freed slave yourself, dare to give Him your ear?
Charlie Mike, fellow Marksmen. Continue Mission.