“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8)
Most of us have, at one time or another, wondered what it must have been like for the Messiah to know He came to earth to die a grotesquely cruel death for which He was so unquestionably undeserving. One must wonder the immeasurable anxiety that must have weighed on Him in the Garden just hours before His betrayal. Subduing the flesh under such circumstances couldn’t have come easy, not even for the Son of God. The battle He fought in body, mind and spirit was unlike that which any human had faced before and which can never be experienced again.
This kind of obedience can only come from a love so deep and so divine that the flesh has no victory, that fear has no hold, and that submission to the Father’s will is the only path forward. Love for the Father. Love for those who so horridly abused Him. Love for all mankind.
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10, emphasis added)
The phrase live through him implies that those to whom the Son was sent were in a condition of spiritual death; Jesus mission was to impart life. This amazing love proven by Jesus’ obedience to the point of death is the kind of love so deep it allows mankind to choose to accept or reject it. Surely, He pleads before the Father on our behalf that each and every man, woman and child would come to Him, learn from Him, and follow Him from death unto life.
Surrender and obedience are words we don’t like to use. The very thought of surrendering ourselves to such a degree that we become wholly obedient to God opens the door to a fierce spiritual battle. Jesus not only reckoned with the weight of all mankind’s sinfulness, but His flesh cried out time and again to be released from the burdensome task that lie ahead while, at the same time, surrendering His will to the Father’s will.
As difficult as it is, we are all called to surrender of our will to the Father’s will. Obedience on this level is not a matter of saying a quick prayer, signing a membership card, or even raising your hand during an altar call. It’s a daily–no, it’s a moment by moment surrender, casting down everything within us that is antagonistic to the will and purpose of God in our lives. It is only living through Him that we are empowered to die through Him so He might live in us and through us. A process of discipleship, following in His footsteps, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This hasn’t been an easy message to write as I am so powerfully convicted by the principles of surrender and obedience that Jesus set as an example through His own battle in the Garden. When we begin to think that things we face in life are tough, it will be good to remember how Jesus faced His accusers daily without sin and continued to minister the love and grace of God to all those who believed in Him.
Father, help us to grow in our desire to have that type of surrender–that measure of love and trust in You that would make it possible to both live and die through You. Not for our glory or to exalt us in any way, but that You might be glorified through us in some way. Amen.
© Jan Ross
All Rights Reserved