The Obedience of Jesus

John gives a challenge to his readers when he exhorts them to walk in the same way as Jesus did (1 John 2:6), with the context indicating that John has in mind the obedience displayed by the Saviour to his Father’s will. There are many details concerning his obedience which could be identified, but here are five of them.

First, the obedience of Jesus was a cheerful obedience. The author of Hebrews (10:7-9) uses the words of Psalm 40:8 (‘I delight to do your will, O God’) to describe the heart attitude of Jesus as he obeyed his Father. What he did for God – whether in his home in Nazareth, in the years working as a carpenter, and in the three years of public ministry – he did from a glad heart, conscious that he was pleasing his Father.

Second, the obedience of Jesus was a careful obedience. By this is meant that he made sure that his obedience was according to God’s Word. He resisted temptation in the desert from the devil by doing what God had instructed in the Book of Deuteronomy. Jesus required people whom he had blessed, such as the cured leper, to go and complete the biblical requirements connected to public declaration of healing from leprosy. There are many examples of his careful obedience. The Saviour meditated on the Bible and always endeavoured to keep it accurately, and always succeeded in doing so. Partial obedience was not an option he ever chose.

Third, the obedience of Jesus was a continuing obedience. Throughout his earthly journey he always obeyed God’s instructions. There never was a moment when his obedience was set aside and he adopted another option. In every circumstance, whether private or public, he fully obeyed his Father with informed mind, loving heart, and determined will.

Fourth, the obedience of Jesus was a costly obedience because it led him to the awful experience of the cross. Throughout his time on the cross he continued to love and obey his Father as he finished the work of atonement. Jesus was willing to please his Father and obey him, knowing that one consequence would be an innumerable number of obedient disciples.

Fifthly, we can also note that the obedience of Jesus was a crowned obedience, as Paul explains in Philippians 2:6-11. The Saviour was obedient unto death and was rewarded by the Father with exaltation to the highest place possible. While any obedience of his people is faint in comparison, there is a kind of parallel because Jesus has promised that if we are faithful unto death we will receive a crown of live from him. The prospect of heavenly reward is an incentive for comprehensive obedience to God’s commandments.

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