a great day for obedience.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8 NIV
The obedient nature of Christ cost Him His life. It could be argued that He knew beforehand that He was going to rise up from the dead three days later, but that knowledge would in no way diminish the pain, humiliation and the sacrifice Christ endured on our behalf because of that obedient nature. He was, after all, as able to feel pain as any of us, and the pain of a death from crucifixion must have been horrible to endure.
When Christ exhaled His last breath, the curtain that separated us from God was torn. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38 NIV). This was not some cheap trick meant to elicit a lot of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from people witnessing this event that changed the world. The tearing of the curtain signified that through His obedience, Christ had completed the work that God had sent Him here to do and each and every living person now had direct access to God.
Christ’s obedience to God took away our sins, but it did not take away our obligation to be obedient. For some of us, the term “obedience” seems to almost carry a negative connotation. It’s as if being obedient is a very difficult act we must perform. Obedience is not something we do; it is the way in which we live. Obedience to God is simply understanding how He wants us to live our lives, and then living them in that manner.
Jesus told His disciples that obedience was a way of showing love, and that’s how we should view it; as an act of love, not as an obligation or a task. He said, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15 NIV).
And what, exactly, was He commanding? What were His commandments? Was He instructing His disciples to do anything difficult? Was He telling them to do anything that would cause them, or anyone close to them, to be harmed? First and foremost, of course, was the commandment to love and worship only God. And the rest of it? It all boils down to this: Be good to each other. “…love thy neighbor…” (Matthew 22:39b).
We can make any of this as complicated as we want, but that doesn’t mean that it is. The truth is that our obedience to the Lord is an act of love that should come naturally to us and without any effort at all.
Christ did the hard part. He does not ask any of us for obedience quite like His, so let’s not make work out of something that should be a simple act of love.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson