Day 21: Heard Because of His Reverent Submission
There are more than a dozen verses in the Gospel of John where Jesus stresses that His life was not about self-will, but about His Father’s will. In John 5:30b He says, “For I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” In Hebrews 10:7 it is said of Jesus, “Here I am, it is written about me in the book, I have come to do your will, O God.” From the beginning of His ministry it was evident that such was His mindset, so it is not surprising to see that, as His final moments are lived out, He is continuing to press forward in the reverent submission that Hebrews 5 says warranted a hearing from God.
Jesus’ reverent submission took two forms: continual dependence, and surrender of His will. Jonathan Edwards says, “Christ had an extraordinary sense of His dependence on God, and His need of His help to enable Him to do God’s will in this great trial. Though He was innocent, yet He needed divine help. He was dependent on God, as man, and therefore we read that He trusted in Him.” Indeed, He said at the outset of His ministry, “The Son can do nothing by Himself.” In keeping with this, Edwards says, “It was [appropriate] and suitable that Christ, when about to engage in that terrible conflict, should thus earnestly seek help from God to enable Him to do His will; for He needed God’s help—the strength of His human nature, without divine help, was not sufficient to carry Him through.”
The continuity of His surrendered life bore fruit in this time of severe testing of His resolve to continue to choose the Father’s will above His own. If it had been His first testing of this determination to obey, would He have had the strength to remain in reverent submission? We know for certain a lifetime of dependence and surrender fully prepared Him to be that open vessel into which the Spirit of God could pour in all the strength He needed to perform the ultimate act of obedience. Perhaps we too often fail in the big testing because we have neglected to submit daily in the little things, failing to fervently pray to remain in His will.
• If Jesus, who was morally pure and perfect, needed to pray for the strength to obey, how much more do we? How aware are you of your need for God’s strength in trial? How often do your pray for that? How earnestly do you pray for that?
• How often do you think about your dependence on God, or do you mindlessly go on in your own strength until that isn’t enough?
• What do you think would happen in your life if you began each day with the prayer, “Here I am, I have come to do Your will, O God?” then prayed for the strength and dependence to do so?
The more I look at Jesus the more I admire His qualities, and the sharper the contrast between Him and me in our attitudes and actions. I am too often unaware of my need of You until I run out of my own strength. Change me in this.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries