Today we look at some events in the life of Jesus where He practically worked out His commitment to do God’s will, and the results that followed. Jesus experienced physical restoration and a proper vision of the situation in his encounter with the woman at the well. His judgment was just because He sought God’s will first and so received discernment.
It’s good to be with you again, as we continue with out theme for this week—one which relates in a very personal and practical way to the life of each one of us: the theme Objective for Living.
In my introductory talk yesterday I pointed out that One essential condition for a successful life is to have an objective—clearly defined and steadily pursued. Without such an objective a person is like a boat drifting on the open sea, carried hither and thither by the winds of habit and the waves of circumstance—without any control over his own destiny.
Herein lies one of the greatest benefits and blessings of the Christian life, as God planned it: it provides each one of us with an objective for living.
For us as Christians, Jesus—in this respect—is both our pattern and our inspiration. We’ll look once more at the passage in Hebrews which reveals the purpose for which Jesus came to earth—this is in Hebrews chapter 10, verses 5 and 6, and then verses 9 and 10. Hebrews 10, verses 5 and 6:
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. [That was the negative. That was what God did not require. And then in verses 9 and 10 we have the positive.] Then he said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do your will.’ He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, [that Jesus came to do] we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.’” (NIV)
I pointed out three important truths that came out of that passage. First, the supreme motivation of Jesus—the thing that brought Him down from heaven to earth was to do God’s will. Second, He learned that there was a part for Him in the scroll of Scripture. It was not something that He had to write for Himself, it was not something that He had to improvise, it was already written for Him. Third, God’s will culminated for Him in the sacrifice of His own body.
Now each of these three points needs to have its counterpart in our lives. We need to have the same motivation to do God’s will. We need to understand that there’s a part written for each one of us in the scroll. Something that God has appointed from eternity for us to do. And third, we need to understand—and I’ll be showing you this week—how the doing of God’s will for us as for Jesus finds expression in the sacrifice of our body.
In my talk today, I’m going to share with you how this commitment to do God’s will was practically worked out in the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. I’m going to look at that well-known incident where Jesus was at Jacob’s Well and he met there with the woman of Samaria. You’ll recall that He and His disciples were journeying by foot back from Judea to Galilee. They passed through Samaria and they came to that place which is still known today as Jacob’s Well. It says that Jesus was tired and He sat down by the well to rest. Also, apparently they had run out of food, they were hungry, and so the disciples went into the local town to buy food while Jesus sat by the well. And then the woman from Samaria came out and Jesus had that wonderful conversation with her in which He showed her so clearly that He knew every detail of her past life. And then He gave her that beautiful promise about the living water for everyone that was thirsty. And the woman got so excited that she left her water pot without collecting water, went back into the town to tell the men in the town about this wonderful person she’d met at the well and to get them out to meet Him. Now Jesus remained there at the well and His disciples came back and found Him sitting there. And this is what follows in the account now in John chapter 4, verses 31 through 36:
“Meanwhile his disciples urged him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’ Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘Is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so the sower and the reaper may be glad together.’” (NIV)
You see there that clear statement of Jesus, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Always this was the central motivation of His entire earthly life—to do the will of the One who sent Him.
I want to point out particularly two results of this motivation in the life of Jesus—which again should have their counterpart in our lives. First of all, His commitment to do the will of God actually worked in Him supernatural physical restoration. When He came there He was tired and hungry. He sat down, but instead of partaking of food, He flowed in the will of God in His conversation with this poor woman who was in such desperate need. And in putting God’s will above His own physical needs He received supernatural restoration. When they came with food, He wasn’t particularly interested. He said, “I’ve already partaken of some food.” And His disciples couldn’t understand what kind of food could He have had. Did anybody bring Him food.
But Jesus explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” Food is the thing that gives us physical strength, that sustains us, that keeps us going. Jesus said, “That’s what sustains me. That’s what keeps me going—my commitment to do the will of the One who sent Me.”
And then He begins to speak about how to look at the world. He said, “You look at the world one way, I look at the world another. You say there are four more months to harvest, but for Me the harvest field is already ripe, dry, white. And I’m already reaping.” And He was referring, of course, to His encounter with the Samaritan woman. He was reaping the harvest in that village just then. A few minutes later the woman came back with all the men in the village and Jesus shared with them.
But you see, He had a different viewpoint. The disciples looked on things from a purely natural point of view. They said, “It isn’t time yet for harvest.” Jesus had a spiritual viewpoint. He saw things from another aspect. What gave Him this spiritual insight is commitment to do the will of God.
So we see two outworkings of the commitment to do the will of God—physical restoration and a proper vision of the situation, a vision of the situation as God saw it taking into account the spiritual realities of the situation.
In the next chapter of John’s gospel, chapter 5 and verse 30, there’s another statement that Jesus makes that has much to teach us about the result of being committed to do God’s will in our lives. Jesus is discussing the healing of a man who had been impotent many, many years—lay there by the pool, unable to move, paralyzed—and Jesus had brought him healing. And as a result of this there’s a discussion partly about keeping the Sabbath and so on. And in the midst of this discussion, Jesus makes this statement:
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (NASB)
Notice those words there—“My judgment is just—it’s right.” Why? “Because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” So there’s a third result of that commitment to do the will of God. I would call it just judgment or impartial discernment. You see, Jesus was never fooled. Nobody ever deceived Him. No matter who it was—rich or poor, religious or not religious, man or woman. Whoever came to Him, Jesus discerned the truth. He saw into their inner motives. He knew what they were really after. He knew just how to reach them, and touch them where they needed to be touched—whether it was spiritually or whether it was physically.
That’s something, I have to confess, that I covet. It’s the ability to judge aright. Too many, many times I’ve been fooled by people. I’ve misunderstood situations, I’ve made wrong decisions and regretted them later. And I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this in my own life. How can we avoid foolish judgment and wrong appraisals of people and situations. I think the key is given to us there. Jesus said, “My judgment is just, my discernment is accurate. I see things the way they really are. Why? Because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Jesus’ judgment was not clouded by His own desire to get His own way, to do His own thing. He was, as it were, in neutral until the Father moved Him. He waited for the Father’s revelation. He waited for the indication of the Father’s will and then He made a just and accurate judgment.
So there are three outworkings of doing the will of God. Physical restoration, a proper vision of the situation and just judgment or impartial discernment.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll have more to share with you on how the commitment to do God’s will was practically worked out in the earthly life of Jesus.