To illustrate Jesus’ commitment to God’s will a little further, Derek points to His willingness to set aside His own will —no matter what that may have been —and do His father’s will instead. This death to self brings life to others. Jesus always looked to the end of something, the finished work He saw set before Him.
It’s good to be with you again, as we continue with our theme for this week: Objective for Living. In our previous studies we’ve seen that Jesus is both our pattern and our inspiration, and that the whole purpose of His coming to earth is stated there in one verse which we’ve quoted more than once already, Hebrews 10:7:
“Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God.’” (NIV)
Let me imprint that statement, “Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God.” Jesus had come to do God’s will. That was the supreme objective of His life, and the thing that He had to do to accomplish the will of God was already written in the scroll. He did not have to improvise, He did not have to write His own part.
In our study yesterday we looked at the way in which this motivation of Jesus was practically worked out in His earthly life and ministry. And we saw three specific results in His life. First of all, physical restoration. There at Jacob’s Well He was tired, He was hungry. And yet in doing the will of God in sharing the truth with that Samaritan woman, He received physical restoration—He was no longer hungry when His disciples returned with food.
Second, a proper view of the situation. He saw the harvest field with the eyes of God, where His disciples still looked with natural eyes. His commitment to do the will of God gave Him a different view from the people round about Him.
Thirdly, we saw another result—just judgment or impartial discernment. He said, “My judgment is just because I don’t seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” He was never fooled, He was never carried away by His own wishful thinking or emotions or reactions. He always waited for the Father’s revelation concerning every situation.
In my talk today I’m going to share with you two further results produced in the life of Jesus by His commitment to do the will of God. For this next result we are going to look in John chapter 6, verse 35 through 40. This is a discourse of Jesus after He had fed the 5,000 with the five loaves and the two fishes. That’s the kind of starting point of the discourse, and He then gives it a spiritual application to Himself—John 6:35–40:
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. [See again, that one central motivation—‘I have come down from heaven, not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.’ And I think it’s significant that there has to be a setting aside of our own will before we can do the will of God. And then Jesus continues.] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’” (NIV)
Notice there at the end—“My Father’s will...” Jesus had set aside His own will. Now He states the Father’s will. What beautiful words those are. I never read that statement—“I am the bread of life.” without being moved. “The one who looks to Me and believes in Me shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.” Beautiful words, a beautiful offer—the bread of life, the One who can feed a hungry world, the One who can give life to a dying world. But what was the price? The price was, “Not doing my will but the will of him who sent me.” You see, as long as we’re busy with out own plans, purposes and objectives, we cannot be channels of divine life. This was true even of Jesus. How much more of you and me? If we want the privilege of being God’s bread, broken to feed a hungry world, and God’s life shared with a dying world, then we have to make a renunciation. “Not my will but the will of him who sent me.”
In this connection I’m often reminded of the words of Paul, his own personal testimony. And it seems to me that in many ways Paul came as near to following Jesus as a lost any man did. And in 2 Corinthians 4, verses 10 through 12, Paul says this about himself and the way his life worked out.
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus many also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” (NIV)
Let me say those last words again, “...death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” Believe me, the world needs channels of life, but there’s a price to pay. If you want to be a channel of life to others, death has first to work in you. We cannot have it any other way. We cannot change the order. Death is at work in us, then life is in at work in you. I’m here not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me. The will of Him who sent me is to feed a hungry world. The will of Him who sent me is to give life to a dying world. If I will renounce my own will and if I will pursue with single-hearted devotion the will of God as revealed for my life, then I too, in my own measure, can be food for a hungry world, and life to a dying world. But not while I am concerned to do my own will.
I want to look now at one more result that was produced in the life of Jesus by His commitment to do the will of the Father. Turning now to John chapter 17, verse 4—this is part of the great high priestly prayer that Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf of His disciples before He was separated from them by arrest and trial and execution. And in this fourth verse, Jesus says this:
“I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou has given Me to do.” (NASB)
Where that translation says “accomplished,” the Greek word is just the ordinary simple word for “to finish.” I prefer to keep the word finish. “I glorify Thee on the earth, having ‘finished’ the work which Thou has given Me to do.” Because you will see that all the way through the emphasis of Jesus is not merely on doing the will of God, but on finishing the work. He had said earlier in connection with the incident with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” Jesus was always looking ahead to the triumphant conclusion of His task. And here He says, “Now, I’ve brought glory to Thee, O Father, on the earth [how?] because I’ve come to the end—I’ve finished it.” To take the picture of the race that we looked at in our first study—He’s finishing the race, He’s just about to breast the tape. And He says in doing that, “I’ve brought glory to God.”
You see, doing the will of God will always bring glory to God. It’s always so designed that whatever God calls us to do, whatever task He assigns to us—it may seem to be very simple, very humble, very ordinary, it may be just being the best wife and the best mother that a person can be, it may be just being a very efficient secretary, or a very good physician—but if that’s your assigned task and you finish it, you do it thoroughly, you can rest assured that you will bring glory to God.
Self-seeking, half-hearted service never glorifies God. And one of the reasons actually why it doesn’t glorify God is because such a person’s motive is always wrapped up in himself. There are, I’m sorry to say, Christians—even ministers—who are concerned for their own glory rather than God’s glory, and they do not bring glory to the name of the Lord. They may attract a following, they may get people interested in themselves and in their gifts and in their ministry, but the ultimate end will not be the glory of God. In order to glorify God we have to have a single vision for the task that God has assigned us and a complete determination that no matter what it costs we’re going to finish that task. There’s nothing that I could desire better that I can think of, that by the time I come to the end of my ministry and my life on earth, I will be able to say in my own limited measure what Jesus said, “I glorified Thee on the earth having finished the work which Thou has given me to do.”
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking about the culmination of God’s will in the life of Jesus—the sacrifice of His own body.