Saturday, December 08, 2012

Christ, Our Example

but so that the world may know that I love the Father,
I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.
John 14:31a

As Christians, we know that Christ is our model, our exemplar, and as such view Him as the example of how we are to live our Christian life.  While this is true and right, what we miss so often is that He is the model for how our relationship with our heavenly Father should look, as well.  

I don't know if you have ever thought about what your relationship with God should look like, but to know what it should look like you have to look no further than Christ.  In going through the Gospel of John, you will see Christ in a much more personal way than in the other gospels, and one of things you will notice about Him is His relationship with the Father; and how He fulfills all righteousness by first fulfilling the greatest commandment, which is to love the Father above all else.  

Loving the Father was His greatest desire and was the springboard for all that He did.  As you go through the Gospel of John you will come across verses that give you insight into His love of the Father and how that is manifested in His life here on earth.  Let's look at some of them:

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish all His work.
John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner.
John 5:30 I can do nothing on My own initiative....I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 8:28b-29...and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father has taught Me.  And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.
John 12:49-50 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.  I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.  

So we see in these verses that the things Jesus did were what He saw the Father doing and the things He said were what the Father gave Him to say.  We also see that what sustained and nourished Him was doing the will of the Father, and that He always did what pleased the Father.  And what was His motivation, His foundation, if you will, for this great desire to please God and accomplish the Father's will in His life.  We see it expressed in John 14:31 above. Out of His great love for the Father came forth the desire to please the Father, and the desire to please the Father manifested itself in His obedience to the Father.

And what kind of obedience was this? It was a loving obedience.  It is obedience that was born out of love and its accompanying desire to please the One who is the object of that love.  My friends, it is to be the same for us.  Our obedience to the Father should not be a legalistic obedience or the obedience of duty or the obedience of fear, but an obedience that springs forth from a heart full of love for our heavenly Father.  In fact, our obedience is directly connected to our love.  This is why Jesus told His disciples (and is meant for us, too), "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."  Jesus could make this statement without the slightest twinge of the guilt of hypocrisy, because that is exactly what He did.

So let us love the Father and the Son by being obedient to them, and may our obedience to them be an obedience born out of love; and may our love and its obedience know no bounds.


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