John 8:28-29 “So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I also do what pleases him.”
In some cultures, believers are confronted with making the choice to either be loyal to Christ or loyal to Caesar. We see that choice in the early days of Christianity. These were cultures where people accepted clear lines of authority. People knew their place. For the most part they accepted their limitations and the rulers used their power to make sure it stayed that way.
Today, at least in the U.S., we are used to standing against authority. We have to make a different choice. We must decide if we will be loyal to God, or loyal to ourselves. We live in a time when we are defined by our own desires, or longings. In this, we often reject the way God created the world to work and the place we were to play in it. Instead of living under his order, we are encouraged to chart our own path, or go our own way.
We see an opposite principle at work in Christ. His love kept him dependent on the Father and nurtured a desire to please him. On his way to the cross, Jesus “did nothing on his own.” He was not an independent Savior who exerted his power over things. He was dependent on the Father’s words and his presence. That’s hard for us to imagine, unless we understand that he was fully human. When he came to earth, out of love, he opted for a life of dependence.
Love also nurtures a desire to please God. Jesus wanted to please the Father because he loved the Father. He wasn’t trying to earn the love of the Father, rather he was loved and returned that love through obedience to God. When we love God, we will inevitably desire to put a smile on his face by living out his plan in the world.
Love continually repeats the words of Jesus, hours before he went to the cross. “Not my will, but yours be done,” he said while sweating drops of blood. He said this and we learn to say it, because love does not demand. It submits. It yields. It surrenders our will for the good of the other. And what is better than the will of God? Nothing.
Lord, we thank you for submitting to the cross, so we might find life. Thank you for showing us the love that kept you on that path. Give us strength to live that kind of love today. Help us, by your Spirit, to yield to you and to the needs of those you’ve called us to love.
If you’ve missed the first two devotionals this week, find the first here.
You can find the next one here.