Out of Line

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Mark 8:32 “And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.”

The verse above occurred is a dialogue between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was, and Peter’s response was that He was the Christ. Jesus then taught that He would “suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” It was at this point that Peter took Jesus and “began to rebuke him.”

One of the great principles missed in this verse is how Peter was out of line when he rebuked Jesus. Yes, he was out of line because Jesus is the Son of God. However, there is another reason that Peter was out of line, and that was because he was rebuking someone who was an authority. Peter had no business rebuking Jesus because Jesus was his authority. It was not Peter’s area to correct the one who led him; it was Peter’s responsibility to follow and obey Him, not just because Jesus was the Son of God, but also because He was his authority.

One of the more unpopular principles in our day is that subordinates don't have a right to rebuke an authority. The fact that we believe we have a right to rebuke an authority shows that we feel we are our own authority. Everyone must have an authority, and it is never the subordinate’s place to rebuke an authority. Let me teach several principles about how rebuking an authority is out of line.

First, God established authority roles. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” It is God Who established the roles of authority because He understood that someone has to be in charge.

Second, to resist authority is to resist God. Romans 13:2 says, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” The word “resist” means to stand against. In other words, when you stand against authority, you are standing against God. When you are standing against God, you are God’s opponent. In other words, it is an unhealthy move to resist or stand against the authorities that God has placed in your life.

Third, it is never your place to rebuke your authority. 1 Timothy 5:1 commands, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;” The reason God commands not to rebuke an elder is because it is wrong for the subordinate to usurp the roles of authority. Jesus rebuked Peter so sharply because he got out of line and had no business rebuking his authority, Jesus. Jesus was setting an example for all believers to learn that the subordinate does not have a right to rebuke or correct an authority.

The only one who has the right to rebuke an authority is God. When you take it upon yourself to rebuke an authority, you are saying that God is not doing His job properly. Ultimately, when you are rebuking an authority, you are rebuking God, and that never goes well. Only rebels disagree with this truth. God can do His job without your help; you just need to do what you are supposed to do, which is to submit to the authority. Whether the authority is a pastor, parent, boss, or civil servant, we are to let the authorities above the authority deal with the authority when they are wrong.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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