What does it look like to be a "slave of Jesus Christ"? This is a question that you may not have ever considered. And yet, in the Bible, it references this metaphor – slavery to Jesus.
The New Testament, written in the Greek language, uses the word 'doulos' as slave to often times describe the follower of Jesus. Other Greek words were used for servant but doulos is no doubt the stronger word, slave.
For us living in the 21st century and with a clear history of slavery in the United States, we may have an image of what we think slavery was like in the ancient world. No doubt there are similarities between the slavery the United States has had in our past and the ancient world. However, there is an aspect in the ancient Roman Empire (where Jesus was born and lived in Judea) that slavery was a common part of life and was a way for some people to move up in status. Yes, many people would agree to be the slave of a master in order to eventually buy their freedom and have a higher status in society.
This is how the followers of Jesus most likely approached the metaphor of slavery as His followers after He left them and went to be with His heavenly Father.
Jesus ultimatley set the the example for His followers through His message of servanthood through the way He lived His life and how He was wiling to die to obey the Father. The response His followers had once Jesus left was a strong and determined commitment. A commitment and devotion much like a household slave who loved and respected His master was how they viewed Jesus as their Master. They desired to follow Him even to death – and many of them did die for their Savior.
Can we resurrect this idea of slavery as modern day followers of Jesus? How would it help us have an even greater commitment to follow Him on a daily basis? These are some of the questions I would like to explore in articles in the future.
See http://www.onemaster.org/articles/article/a-slave-of-jesus-christ for another article on this topic.