Bible Reading: Matthew 26:36-46
“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39)
Obedience means fixing our eyes solely on God and His will for our lives. Obedience means putting aside our personal desires and asking God to mould our will and desires to His. Christ’s life on earth as a man gives us the ultimate example of obedience.
Christmas and Jesus’ life leading up to the cross display Christ’s obedience to His Father. In obedience to the Father, Jesus willingly emptied Himself of His glory. We read in Philippians 2:6-7, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” In obedience, Christ came to earth to be a servant.
However, it was not only that. From the moment He came, He knew that His life would lead to the cross. Philippians 2:8 continues, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Christ walked the dust of the earth in obedience leading to the cross. See what Christ sacrificed for obedience. The author of Life gave up His rights to glory. The Holy One took upon Himself our vile sins. The Son who enjoyed eternal communion with the Father was willing to be separated for our sake. It is radical obedience and sacrifice for the God of the universe to be mocked and shamed by sinful men to death on a cross.
Yet, in all this, Jesus prayed, “not as I will, but as you will”. It was the Father’s will for Christ to be born and to die on a cross because it is the Father’s will that His love would be shown to His sinful and stiff-necked children from all nations. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Father willed all this to happen so that we, sinners, can be restored unto eternal life, that is, eternal communion with God. He’s calling us home to call Him Lord, to enjoy fellowship with Him, to get to know Him as our Father.
If He’s loved us so much, what should become our vision each day? As Christ looked to the Father to obey Him willingly, we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ and the Father. The Triune God should be our vision each day. Our primary business each day should be to obey and execute God’s will in our lives. Nothing else should matter, including our personal desires and woes. Does this mean that we should just toughen up and endure miserable lives for the sake of God’s will? No! Jesus says, “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. “These things” refers to all our earthly needs. There is endless peace and joy in obeying God’s will amidst the sacrifice and cross-bearing of obedience. Blessed are those who can comprehend this paradox!
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with thee one
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art
High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all