Dear Members in Christ,
Lessons we can learn from the Lord Jesus - Pleasing God our Father in heaven
(Exhortation from John 8:28-30)
The Lord Jesus Christ ministered with His disciples for about three and a half years while He was on earth. During this period, the Lord encountered much opposition, particularly from the Pharisees. The Pharisees tried on many occasions to entrap or query the authority of the Lord Jesus. The responses of the Lord Jesus in these encounters teach us about how the Lord Jesus lives to please our Heavenly Father.
The Gospel of John records the Pharisees’ opposition against the Lord Jesus saying, “Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true” and “who are thou?” The words put forth, question His authority as the Son of God (John 8:13, 25). To all these gainsaying, we observe that the Lord Jesus had these words in reply,
When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. (John 8:28-30)
The life and walk of the Lord Jesus is in accordance to the will of God
The passage above reveals to us several things about the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Firstly, the Lord Jesus speaks of His being “lifted up”. This phrase was used by the Lord in relation to His atoning death on the cross in John 3:14 when He said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” This is a reference to His sacrificial death by crucifixion, an atonement for the sins of all who put their trust in Him. Secondly, the phrase “do nothing of Himself” means that the Lord Jesus does nothing of His own will, but the will of God. Thirdly, He will only speak those things “as my Father hath taught me.”
All these words put together speaks of one central theme that the Lord Jesus’ work, ministry and His eventual death on the cross is about serving the will of God. His teaching and preaching is in accordance to the word of God. The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus as an atonement for sinners is in accordance to the redemptive plan of God. Whether in life or in death, the Lord Jesus is doing that which is in accordance to the will God. So, despite the opposition and query of the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus held up His testimony, that eventually they will know that He is living and doing God’s will. This holds an important lesson for us all. As we walk this life on earth, let us be Christlike in seeking to know how to live our lives according to God’s will.
The Father in Heaven is always with Him
The Lord Jesus’ second response to the Pharisees is, “…he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me…” Even though the Pharisees doubt His Deity and His constant communion with the Father in Heaven, the Lord Jesus speaks with full confidence that the Father is always with Him. Though men may desert Him, though disciples may abandon the gospel banner, the Lord Jesus is fully assured of the Heavenly Father’s presence abiding with Him.
Let us know that though the Omnipotent God is invisible to human eyes, yet His presence with us is real and substantive. A Christian ought not to fear loneliness for God is always with him. Like loyal soldiers we do not fear when others desert the battlefield, for God is with us and fighting for us. In whatever circumstances, let us take heart from the words of confidence spoken by our Lord Jesus, “…the Father has not left me.” What wonderful words of comfort!
The work of the Lord Jesus is pleasing to the Father in heaven
The Lord Jesus ends the discourse with “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” By doing the will of God, and teaching that which is taught in the word of God, the Lord Jesus expresses His confidence that, “he that sent me is with me.” The reason for this close communion is explained by the Lord in saying, “for I do always those things that please Him.” Certainly the Son of God who gave Himself a ransom for many, to redeem many into the kingdom of God is doing the will and pleasure of the Father. In the course of His life, the Lord Jesus preaches and teaches in accordance to God’s will. In His death, the Lord Jesus gives Himself in accordance to God’s salvation plan for mankind. It is no wonder that the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus is pleasing in the sight of the heavenly Father!
Are our lives pleasing in the sight of God?
Let’s examine ourselves if our lives and walk on earth is pleasing in the sight of our Heavenly Father. If we are outside the will of God, our lives cannot be pleasing to the Father. If we harbour unconfessed sin in our lives, we cannot be pleasing to God. If we are serving God by the arm of flesh it cannot be pleasing to God, for He delights in those who lean on Him for strength. If we are making life’s decisions not by faith but by our lusts of the flesh, it is sinful and therefore displeasing to the Father in Heaven. Any sense of pride in self or man’s ability cannot be pleasing in His sight. What then ought we to do?
Instead, let us edify one another and encourage one another in the faith to do that which is pleasing to God. Let us strive to please God in all that we do, searching His word for guidance to live our lives. Let us be in constant prayer and worship towards God, knowing that He is in constant communion with us. And finally, let us set our minds to serve and strengthen each other in the faith for the glory of God! Amen.
Dn Lim Seh Beng