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Category: Mark (page 1 of 2)

Messianic Success Criteria

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 8:31

The business world has a concept called “success criteria”. When pursuing a project or strategic initiative, it’s important to identify what success looks like. What is the desired outcome and how will it be assessed, measured, and determined whether it has been achieved?

It struck me while reading through the book of Mark this morning that Jesus’ success criteria looked a lot different than what His disciples were expecting. They had their own idea of how the promised Messianic King would establish His kingdom and be exalted. Jesus had to reset their expectations. Success wasn’t to be judged or measured by the disciples. Success was measured by the Father. The desired outcome was that the Father’s will be fulfilled. Success had even been hinted at by the prophets and was documented in what would become known by us as the Old Testament.

So, what did success look like for the Messiah? According to Jesus in Mark 8:31, it looked like this:

  • Suffer many things
  • Be rejected
  • Be killed

But although the OT prophets hinted at the suffering He would endure, they also pointed to His glory; how He would be high and lifted up, and exalted. And so, we should not forget that not only was He to suffer, be rejected, and killed. We also see that after three days He would rise again.

History tells us that according to this criteria, Jesus was very successful. History tells us that He did indeed suffer, He was rejected, He was definitely killed, and He most certainly rose after three days. Not only that, but we also know that He ultimately ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father and sent the Spirit to be our Counselor.

One thing I notice is that there’s a relationship between Jesus’ suffering and His glorification. And isn’t that true for us as well. We see that our present sufferings are not only refining us and equipping us for more fruitful lives in the here and now but they are also preparing us for our lives to come; when we find ourselves in the physical presence of Christ. And we know that our present sufferings are not even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.

Similar to the disciples, we need to be careful to not construct our own skewed view of who Jesus is and what He is about. We need to be informed by scripture, as illuminated by the Spirit, and have a clear picture of Jesus as revealed through His word. When it comes to our understanding of Jesus – who He is, what He thinks, how He acts – we need to humbly say, “not my will but your will be done”. We need to set our minds on the things of God not on the things of men.

Teachers Gonna Teach

Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, …
Mark 4:1a

A thought struck me this morning while reading Mark 4. For some reason, before diving in to the the parable of the sower, my mind got stuck on the sequence of events as described in the verse I reference above. Specifically, that Jesus began to teach and then a very large crowd gathered about Him.

So often, we measure ministry success by numbers; how many people attend our services, classes, gatherings. We use numbers to gauge interest and to determine whether a particular program or event is “worth it”. If we’re not seeing results that justify our effort, we just start going through the motions,  mailing it in, or we just quit.

When I read through Mark 4 this morning, I didn’t see Jesus begin teaching because a very large crowd had gathered. I see that a crowd gathered because He was teaching. He didn’t start teaching in response to a large crowd. He started teaching in obedience to the Father. He started teaching to fulfill His mission and ministry. I get the feeling that regardless of how many (or few) people were around to hear Him, Jesus was going to teach. He was going to do what He was called to do. Success for Him was not measured in numbers but by His obedience to the will of the Father.

My encouragement to those who teach and lead is to respond in obedience to God’s call on your life without being distracted by how we might measure “success”. God has not called you to be successful. He has called you to be faithful. He has called you to be obedient. He has called you to be a good steward. Be faithful where you are with what you have. One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much. For God’s glory alone.

Whenever you stand praying, forgive

Forgive

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Jesus
Mark 11:25

When I read this verse as part of my morning reading I was instantly struck by the thought; how many of us do this? How many of us use our prayer time as a trigger to consider the people in our lives to whom we need to extend forgiveness? I have a sneaking suspicion that not many of us do this.

Some of us may even try to use technicalities to exempt ourselves from this command to forgive. “I don’t stand when I pray, I sit. And Jesus didn’t say anything about forgiving when you sit to pray”, you might say. Or, maybe what’s even more convicting than our desire to find a technicality is that we don’t need to worry about this particular command to forgive when we stand to pray because we don’t really pray. Sure, we’ll bow our head when other people are praying, but we don’t ever take the initiative to have a purposeful dialog with God.

Maybe others of us pray regularly but we never forgive anyone because we’re so busy thinking about ourselves and all the things we want God to do for us. Or, maybe we do think about the people who have wronged us but our prayer is focused on how God should deal with them rather than asking that He soften our hearts toward them that we might extend forgiveness.

It’s interesting to consider why Jesus would have added this note about forgiveness right here. The context is faith and prayer (wrapped in the meta-context of the triumphal entry, cleansing of the temple, and a cursed fig tree). Faith and prayer are two things that seem to naturally go together kind of like peanut butter and jelly. After all, it is our faith in God (a gift of God I might add) that brings us before Him in prayer in the first place. But forgiving others? What does that have to do with prayer?

To be honest, I’m not sure. But here are some things I have rattling through my mind right now:

  • Forgiveness expresses our humility before God
  • Forgiveness displays evidence that we have been forgiven
  • Forgiveness is our response to being forgiven
  • Forgiveness shows our gratitude toward God

The parable of the unforgiving servant also comes to mind. You remember, the guy who was forgiven a very great debt only to find someone who owed him a very small sum in comparison and treat him very poorly.

Sometimes, forgiving others is an act of obedience much more than something we want to do or feel like doing. But if we really want to be humbled and put things in perspective, consider the great debt that was paid on our behalf when Jesus died on the cross in our place. Consider how we, who were once alienated and hostile towards God, are now presented as holy, blameless and above reproach because of the blood of Christ. I don’t know about you but as I consider that truth, I find my heart starting to align with God and I find that my motivation to forgive becomes more pure.

And yet, it’s still difficult, isn’t it? We have a sense of justice that prohibits us from just forgiving someone like that. We like to set up conditions that will help us determine whether they are worthy of our forgiveness. We forget about grace; undeserved and unmerited favor. We are to forgive not because it is deserved. We are to forgive because we have been forgiven.

It makes me wonder how much of my prayer life has been hindered due to the fact that I have not done this very simple thing; when I come before God in prayer, consider all those people that I might have something against and just forgive them.

At the very least, my application from this morning’s reading is a reminder to use my daily prayer time as an opportunity to ask God to search me and know me. To reveal any unforgiveness in my heart and to soften my heart that I might freely give what I have freely received. That I, in obedience to Christ, would forgive so that I might not have anything hinder my prayers or my fellowship with God. That my heart would be set free and that the grace of God might be extended and shared to those who are in need of His forgiveness and grace and mercy. For His glory alone.

Listen to the Son

Business man holding his hand to his ear trying to hearWe had a guest speaker at church this past Sunday and one of the things he shared was the time (in Matthew 3:17) right after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Well, this morning in my quiet time I was exposed to another time in the New Testament when God the Father had something to say about His Son.

Just to set some context, the verse referenced below occurs on the heels of Peter confessing Jesus as the Christ, Jesus predicting His own suffering, death and resurrection, Peter’s rebuke of Jesus for saying such nonsense, Jesus’ rebuke of Peter (“Get behind me, Satan!”), and then Jesus saying “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Now, we have Jesus taking Peter, James and John with Him up a high mountain where they were privileged to witness His transfiguration and His meeting with Elijah and Moses. After acknowledging that “it is good that we are here”, Peter proposes to make three tents – one each for Jesus, Elijah and Moses. In other words, “this is awesome! Let’s stay awhile!” Verse 6 tells us that Peter suggested this because, “he did not know what to say, for they were terrified”. And then, God the Father speaks up.

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Mark 9:7

Back to the guest speaker from church; He pointed out that in the New Testament, you have quite a bit of the Son speaking about the Father and the Son speaking about Himself. But you don’t have much where the Father is speaking about the Son. In fact, this might be the only two times – Jesus’ baptism and His transfiguration (I don’t have time on my morning commute to confirm this so I’ll defer to all my Berean-like friends to correct me if I’m wrong). Assuming it is just these two times, what does God the Father want us to know about His son? He wants us to know He loves His Son, He is well pleased with His Son and that we should listen to His Son.

So, at about 350-words in to my journaling, this is usually the time where I try to draw a conclusion or consider an application from my reading but the problem is, I’m not really sure where I’ve ended up this morning. More than conclusions, I’m left with thoughts that deserve more consideration. Here’s what I find myself thinking about right now:

  • The Word of God – Although Jesus, Elijah and Moses were all there together, God wanted the disciples attention to be drawn to His Son. I’m sure God could have said some nice things about Elijah and Moses but He didn’t. He spoke only of His son. He is well pleased with Him and He wanted Peter, James and John to listen to Him. In the past, God spoke though prophets like Elijah. Now, He speaks and reveals Himself through Jesus. In the past, Moses was the mediator and communicator of God’s law. Now, Jesus is the final mediator of God’s rule. We are to fix our eyes and ears on Jesus. He is the Word of God and He is the author and perfecter of our faith.
  • The will of God – Although Peter had previously been rebuked and informed by Jesus that the Messiah must suffer, he was satisfied to set up camp and stay awhile. He wanted to stay on the mountaintop and enjoy the glory and radiance of the transfigured Christ rather than descend back down into the valley of suffering. Despite our personal desires and preferences, we are to be aligned to the will of God – even if it involves descending from the mountaintop.
  • The wonder of God – Although Peter may not have had the things of God in mind, I sure can’t fault him for wanting to call it a day right then and there and just stay and rest in the radiating presence of the glorious Christ. We too should desire to spend time enjoying the presence of our Savior.

I guess what I’m left with today is that I have something upon which to meditate the rest of the day and that is this; if I am to listen to the Son, what is it that He is saying? What is it that He wants me to hear and know? And then, what should my response be to what He has said?

Share your story

What's Your Story typed out by an old typewriterFor as long as anyone could remember he had been out of his right mind. Not just out of his mind but a stark, raving lunatic. Crazy. Scary crazy. Downright evil. It had gotten to the point where they tried to keep him physically restrained because he had become so dangerous – both to himself and to others. No longer willing or able to live among his family and friends, he had been driven to live among the tombs and mountains outside of town where he could be heard crying out in anguish throughout the night as he cut himself with sharp rocks. His torment was without end.

And then, he met Jesus. Now he was free from both the literal and figurative chains that had bound him for so long. His torment and anguish were relieved. He was healed and made whole. His life had been redeemed. His heart was overwhelmed with gratitude and awe about what Jesus had done for him. He desired to be with Jesus and follow Him wherever He went. He begged Jesus to come along. But Jesus does not consent to the man’s request. Instead, He tells him:

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
Mark 5:19-20

Jesus didn’t tell the man to be quiet about what had happened. He didn’t send him to unfamiliar or faraway places to tell his story to people who had no context for what this man’s life was like prior to meeting Jesus. He also didn’t instruct this man to limit his interaction to only those people who had also received God’s mercy.

Jesus tells the man to go home and share his testimony with his family and friends – with his own people. His own people were Gentiles; those who were outside the chosen, covenant people of God. People who needed to hear about the one true God of Israel who had so liberally shown His mercy to a poor, demon-possessed gentile. People who, by God’s grace, would ultimately have the opportunity to be grafted in, adopted as children and given the right to be called the sons and the daughters of God.

We see in the verses referenced above that the man was obedient and faithful to do what Jesus commanded. He shared his story throughout the ten surrounding cities that made up the Decapolis. He told everyone who would listen what Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. They were amazed at how this man’s life had been transformed.

Regardless of whether your story is sensationalistic (like the demon-possessed man) or relatively mundane, if you have met and know Jesus you have a story worth telling. If your life has been transformed by the power, grace, mercy and love of Jesus, there is occasion for you to go home and share it with your family and friends. You have the opportunity to tell them about how you were once lost but are now found. You have the chance to tell them that you were once dead but are now alive. You have the privilege of telling them what a friend you have in Jesus.

Give people a chance to marvel. Tell your story. Tell people what the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you. For their joy. For His glory.

Ministry and rest

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” – Mark 6:30-31

After calling the twelve disciples, Jesus sent them out two by two and charged them to spread the message of God’s kingdom, to heal the sick and the lame, and to cast out demons. I don’t know how long they were away but upon returning and debriefing Jesus with a trip report, Jesus invited them to get away for a while and rest. This may not seem like a big deal and quite frankly is probably something that I would typically just gloss over. But for some reason, I found myself lingering on this idea after ending my time in God’s word this morning.

One thing that strikes me is that it was Jesus’ idea to rest. I mean, Jesus was all about finishing the work to fulfill His Father’s mission and we know that He had a limited time on this earth with only three years dedicated to His public ministry. In fact, in John 9:4 Jesus said, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” And yet, after acknowledging that His disciples had just returned from a long trip where they worked very hard and in light of the fact that they were constantly ministering to the lost sheep of Israel wherever then traveled, Jesus recognized that they needed a break. They needed to cease from any more movement or labor in order to recover and collect their strength. They needed to be refreshed.

The word used here for “rest” is the same word that Jesus used in Matthew 11:28 when He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In order to initiate rest, true rest, we need to first come to Him. We need to take a break from being a human doing and instead take time to be a human being. We need to cease from all the “busy work” and just sit at His feet and enjoy that which is best. We need to rest from doing things for Jesus and instead receive rest from Jesus.

There is wisdom in Jesus’ invitation to rest but I wonder how often we overlook this in our own lives. I wonder how many of us, and especially those in church leadership, never avail themselves of the opportunity to rest? I wonder how many are simply powering through in their own strength, power, and might rather than taking the opportunity to get away to a desolate place and resting and being refreshed and filled by the Lord?

As individuals, we need to follow the example of Jesus and make time to get away to desolate places – away from all other distractions – to spend time with, and rest in, Jesus.

As leaders within the church, we need to ensure that we don’t burn our people out. We need to follow Jesus’ example and be the ones to suggest that our disciples – the men and women in our church body that are faithfully serving – take time off, get away, and rest.

Don’t quote me on the following, but I couldn’t help from identifying a bunch of ‘Rs’ that help summarize (at a very high level) the benefits of rest.

Recharge – rest allows us to physically recharge and ensure that we have the optimal health, strength, energy and endurance required to persevere through the demands of our service in ministry.

Reconnect – rest allows us to quiet our hearts, minds, and bodies so that we can reconnect with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It is important that we remember that it is by Him, for Him, and because of Him that we do all things.

Recommit – rest allows us the opportunity to evaluate our priorities and to recommit to the mission that Jesus has us on and the cause for which we are working.

Remember – rest allows us to remember and be encouraged by the past evidences of God’s faithfulness and how He has called us, redeemed us, and equipped us to serve Him in obedience.

 

Why are you so afraid?

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” – Mark 4:35-41

In hindsight and as a “Monday morning quarterback” looking at this scripture in the context of what I know of the Bible and the person and work of Jesus, it’s somewhat ironic to hear the disciples ask, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” It’s almost laughable. Of course He cares. That is the entire reason that He has humbled Himself to take on flesh and live as a man that He might offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice for their sins. He’s with them because He cares. And He’s not concerned about them perishing in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. He’s concerned about them perishing in a lake of fire. Of course He cares. But that’s the way we feel sometimes, isn’t it? Based on how we feel or the situation we’re in or the trouble we’re facing, it seems like Jesus must not care about us.

If there is anyone that had reason to question whether God cared, it was Job. And yet, despite all that he had been through, Job was still able to acknowledge to God that, “You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” We need to believe that which God has revealed about Himself and listen for His voice as our good shepherd and remember that He cares.

Notice also in this passage the relationship between fear and faith. Jesus asks His disciples,  “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Jesus was not surprised or upset by the storm. In fact, He slept through it. But He seems to be upset by the disciples’ apparent lack of faith. The lack of faith that causes the disciples to wake Jesus with accusations of not caring. The disciples had the faith to respond in obedience when Jesus suggested that they cross over to the other side of the lake but their faith was shattered by the storm. Their fear caused them to forget the promise of Jesus – “Let us go across to the other side”.

Sometimes Jesus appears to be sleeping. Sometimes we are hoping or expecting Him to act on our behalf in a visible and mighty way and when we don’t see any tangible evidence of this, we assume that He’s sleeping and doesn’t care. This is the time when we are to rest in Him and remember that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We are to remember that God is faithful. We are to remember all that He has promised and completed and be bolstered by the past evidences of His faithfulness. We are to remember that God’s word invites us to cast all our anxieties on Him because He cares for us.

A sower went out to sow

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.” – Mark 4:3

While some might argue that it’s not the most gripping opening to a story, this is how Jesus opens up the parable of the sower – “a sower went out to sow”. I don’t know, it’s kind of compelling to me. It makes me wonder and anticipate what happened after the sower went out to sow. But before that, it says something else to me. It tells me that the sower is doing what he should be doing. It tells me that he is doing what’s expected of him. It tells me that he is doing what he has been called to do. A sower sows after all and if he’s not sowing, can he really be called a sower?

In the context of the rest of the parable, I also notice that the sower sows and does not worry about the things that are outside of his control and not within his job responsibilities. Things like the soil upon which he sows. From the rest of the parable we know that some of the seed that he sows falls upon the path, some seed falls upon rocky ground, some seed falls within the thorns, and other seed falls on good soil. The sower didn’t hold on to his seed until he found what he determined to be soil worthy enough of the seed. No, he simply sowed.

From an agricultural perspective, it is relatively easy to explain why the sower cast his seed on ground that was not fit to receive it. It’s because typically, the ground would be plowed after the seed had been spread. Consequently, the sower would not be aware of the condition of the soil at the time he was sowing.

So, what does this mean for me? How do I take everything that I’ve read about the parable of the sower and apply it in my life? Here’s what I’m thinking.

1. Just like the sower was faithful to sow, so I should be faithful to do what God has called me to do. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. I am called to make Disciples. And, in the context of this parable, I am to sow – “preach” or share – the word (seed) of God. Of course, without doing this, how could I ever hope to make a disciple since faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. It’s great to read God’s word, to study it, memorize it, and meditate upon it but unless you sow it, you will not allow the harvest to increase.

2. Just like the sower, I am not to be concerned with the condition of the soil. When Samuel went to anoint David we were reminded that man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. In the parable of the sower, the soil represents the heart and only God knows the heart of man. Only the Holy Spirit can prepare a man’s heart to receive the good news of God’s word. I can pray that my listeners would have hearts to receive but I am not to be the judge of that.

3. When God’s word is preached to me, I need to prepare my heart that I might receive it with good soil. As long as good seed is being sown (the unadulterated, unfiltered and complete word of God), I have no reason to offer critique. I simply need to ensure that I receive it into a heart that not occupied by the cares of this world or listening to the lies of the enemy or fainting in the face of trouble. Preparing for Sunday morning by asking God to search me, know me, and purify my heart that the words of Christ might dwell in my richly. That I might have both ears to hear and a heart to receive.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Reclining with sinners

And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. – Mark 2:15

Here’s some food for thought; how often do you find sinners* reclining around you? This idea of reclining gives me the impression that the tax collectors and sinners were very comfortable around Jesus. So comfortable in fact that they reclined with him around the table. They weren’t up tight and hiding in the corners with the backs up against the wall. They weren’t making up excuses for why they had to go and they weren’t slowly inching their way toward the exit. No, they are reclining and relaxed and comfortable. But why? After all, He is the light of the world. Surely His light would expose their darkness. They were sinners which meant that it was openly known that they were transgressors of God’s holy law. And yet, they are following Jesus and resting in a reclined position with Him.

How often do you invite sinners to recline at your table? Do you create an environment where they feel comfortable around you? Even comfortable enough to relax, recline and linger? Even though they are aware of the fact you serve a God that desires them to repent of their sin and come to Him for forgiveness and new life, is their experience with you one of love and compassion or is it one of judgement and condemnation? When you spend time with sinners are you always trying to save them or are you always trying to serve them?

Ask the Lord to search your heart as you consider these things. Ask Him for wisdom for how you might better share your love and service to sinners in a way that causes them to glorify our Father in Heaven.

*For my purpose here, I’ll define “sinners” as anyone who is not walking in relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, we are all transgressors of God’s law and it is only through Jesus Christ that we receive forgiveness and may enter into relationship with God and it is only through the Holy Spirit that we are empowered to live a life worthy of God’s calling.

Identifying with sinful man

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. – Mark 1:9

My reading plan had me in Mark 1 this morning where I read about Jesus coming to be baptized by John the Baptist. Before Jesus shows up to be baptized in the Jordan, the Bible tells us that “all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.” The people in the surrounding areas were responding to John’s preaching of a baptism of repentance and they confessed their sins. This caused me to ask myself the question, why was Jesus baptized? There was nothing of which He needed to repent and there were no sins to confess so why was He baptized? A couple of reasons come to mind.

  1. To identify with sinful man – the book of Hebrews tells us that, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Part of God’s will in sending Jesus to this earth was that He would remain fully God but that He would also be fully man. Jesus was to live His life on earth in such a way that He could identify with and empathize with the experience of man on this earth. He humbled Himself by taking on human form. We are told in the book of John that the Word (Jesus) became flesh. Galatians tells us that “when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law”. Jesus’ baptism was an act of obedience that further identified Him with sinful man whom He came to save.
  2. To be identified to sinful man – After Jesus is baptized by John we read that, “when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”” I don’t know about your baptism experience but when I was submerged in the waters of the local community pool, I didn’t hear the audible voice of God referring to me as His beloved son and commenting on how pleased He was with me.  There’s a different dynamic happening here. Something special. Now, in the book of Matthew it is recorded that the voice from Heaven said, “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased”. Here in Mark it seems as though the voice is speaking directly to Jesus so I can only speculate (based on the fact that it’s recorded in the Bible) that perhaps others in attendance also heard the voice. If indeed they did, this would have been useful in identifying Jesus to sinful man as the divine Son of God.

Whether Jesus was baptized to identify Himself with or to sinful man, we know that Jesus was all about doing the will of God the Father. Jesus said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” Jesus did everything that the Father commanded Him so that, “the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do.” Jesus sets for us an example and in so doing, reminds us that everything He did was as a humble servant, being obedient (even to the point of death) to fulfill the will of the Father for the Father’s glory and our joy.

Just as Jesus identified with sinful man, we are called now to find our identity in Him. To exchange the filthy rags of our sinfulness and to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. To identify with Christ’s death that we might also receive and identify with new life in Him. To put off our old self and to put on our new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

I am thankful for Jesus’ obedience to the Father and I am thankful that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I have been given everything I need in order to walk in obedience as well. Now I just need to choose to do so.

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