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Jesus Became Obedient

04 Aug
from Google Images

from Google Images

Sometimes the word obedience takes on a negative slant.[1] The image brought to mind might be that of defeat, perhaps even demoralization—being made to do or say what one hates. On the other hand, one could envision the utter joy on the face of a babe who takes his first steps, causing his feet to obey his desire. Obedience can be thrilling—to experience the joy of having what one eagerly desires to finally fall into place! The wonder of it all, Jesus became obedient, all the way to death—even the death of crucifixion (Philippians 2:8)!

Come on! One may say—do you really expect me to believe Jesus was thrilled to die on the cross? No, not exactly, but what I am saying is Jesus was thrilled to obey—even to die on the cross. Pain is thrilling only to a masochist, but being willing to endure the pain for the higher good, the obedience to a higher purpose, is honorable and often a joy despite the discomfort. For example, consider a young married woman who plans with her husband to have a family. Her joy is not diminished as she enters labor for her child; she is obedient to her desire to fulfill what she considers her calling as a mother.

Jesus explained that he was able to do only what he saw his Father doing, and like a young child the babe copies the parent, and the parent, who loves his son, will always behave in such a manner that the son will grow into a man just like his parent (cp. John 5:19-20). Jesus, who loved his Father, could do only what he saw his Father do, and in this manner Jesus showed us what God was like (John 1:18)—even in his death Jesus eagerly desired its coming and to be with those whom he loved (Luke 12:50; 22:15).Thus, in death Jesus fully disclosed that our Father would rather die than allow us to destroy ourselves in ignorance. In other words, God in his essence is a Servant; he is humble, and comes to us in a childlike manner. He doesn’t exercise his almighty power over us, but, rather, he comes to us in weakness. He has taken the lower place, ignoring tradition so that we can be free to choose, and in the Light of his presence we are changed into his likeness.

Obedience, from God’s perspective, is meant to be a thrilling fulfillment of our own desires, just like the babe taking his first steps that show he wants to do what his parents do, to be like them. Jesus said that if anyone would want to follow after him—to be like him—that one must deny himself and take up his “stake” and then follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24). Remember, we have no ‘cross’ to bear—Jesus bore our cross. The Greek word means stake and in the context of Matthew 16 it concerns the stake used for the temporary dwelling during the Feast of Tabernacles. In this sense, Jesus is saying that we need to pull up the stake we have in this life—in Adam’s world—and follow Jesus. This involves our denying our rights in this life. The same Greek word (G533) is used for Peter denying Jesus. Peter didn’t want to be associated with Jesus at that particular time. In the same manner, the cost of following Jesus is to disassociate ourselves with the goals we may have in this life. Our stake is in the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Adam.

Paul put this in another way when he explains in Romans 12:1-2 that we must not allow ourselves to be conformed to the pattern or mold that images this world. Rather, we need to present our bodies (our life, our time) to God as a living sacrifice to him which is our reasonable service. In so doing we are becoming like God, being changed by his Spirit working within us into an ever-increasing glorious and beautiful image of him (2Corinthians 3:18). If it is our desire to be like God, our obedience (i.e. to Romans 12:1-2) will be our joy, just as Jesus’ obedience was not only his joy, but something eagerly desired (Luke 22:15).

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Jesus

 

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