Well, let me begin with an interesting boxing-related episode. Larry Holmes, the undisputed World Heavy Weight boxing champion from 1978 to 1983, was in his younger days a sparring partner of the most popular of all heavy weight champs in boxing history…the one and only Mohammed Ali.
Some wouldn’t believe that the upcoming and not-so-famous (at that time) Holmes was indeed Ali’s training partner when he raved about it in his neighborhood. “I had to pull out pictures of me with him to prove it,” wrote Holmes in his biography. Finally one day the “blessed moment” arrived, despite all the protective gear during the training sessions, one punch of Ali landed square on Holmes right eye giving him instantly the “Black eye” and what was Holmes’ reaction to it? Let’s hear it straight from Horse’s (Uh…Holmes) mouth: “I wouldn’t put ice on it. I wouldn’t put dark glasses on. I went around telling people, ‘Ali gave me this black eye.'” Boy was he mighty proud about the fact that he bore on his body the mark that marked him as Ali’s training partner!
Ditto with Apostle Paul who spake proudly thus: “…I carry on my body the scars of the whippings and wounds from Jesus’ enemies that mark me as his slave.” (Gal 6:17 TLB). In this Series, yours truly has endeavored to present before the readership the significance of some Biblical scars…some scary and some not-so-scary. Well, firstly the not-so-scary ones…
Skin and Spirit…
On fulfillment of certain conditions, Exodus 21:6 outlines the “not-so-scary” procedure that would produce a scar in the skin of a Jewish slave (to be precise on his ear), which would mark him as a permanent slave to his master. Otherwise, this master would have no power to enslave him beyond a 6 year span (prescribed span in the Law — SeeExo 21:1-5).
As Christians, we may not at the beginning of our Christian journey bear any physical marks of our life-long subjection and commitment to Christ, but in our spirits there would be that indelible mark of the Cross, which would make us more and more Heaven-inclined and less and less Earth-oriented by the day (SeeGal 6:14).
While on the subject of slavery, it is simply remarkable to note how brothers (or should we say half-brothers — SeeMatt 13:55) of our Lord Jesus, namely James and Jude, address themselves in their respective Epistles. Post-resurrection of Jesus, so transformed were these erstwhile mockers of their “Elder Brother” (seeJohn 7:3-5) that far from addressing themselves as “Brothers of Jesus”, they amazingly stoop down to level of a “bond-servant” (Greek Doulos).
Bible students familiar with the Greek language and culture of the First Century would know that they were two types of slaves at that time. Firstly “Andropodon”, the one bought in the market. This one had some “rights”, and on fulfilling some “conditions”, could walk away free from his master. A “Doulos” slave, on the other hand, was one who was born in his master’s household (his parents would have been slaves at the time of his birth), and was thus consigned to a life of life-long slavery from birth. It is a measure of James’ and Jude’s humility, plus their commitment to their Master (with “a scar” of the Cross in their hearts), that from the time of their “second birth” they called themselves slaves, not of the “Andropodon” category, but of the “Doulos” genre.
Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for putting the mark of the Cross in our hearts which binds us to our Saviour Jesus Christ. We praise and thank Thee for this inexpressible privilege. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Scary and Not-so-Scary” mini-series, please click here.)