We come to the concluding part of the series on how our Saviour diligently fulfilled the two commandments in each phase of His life. On Tuesday we focused on the “preparation” phase of His life, and today we come to the last two phases, namely the “proclamation” phase and the “passion” phase…
Let it be said at this stage as to what prayer really is. Prayer is not about merely bringing a lengthy wish-list before our Heavenly Father. It’s more about enjoying a time of deep communion with our Creator, borne out of unalloyed love for Him. When we examine the lives of some spiritual giants like Matin Luther of the Reformation and George Muller of Bristol Orphanage fame, their priorities were well laid out. They would perfectly balance their prayer life with their onerous Ministry responsibilities. The following quotes of these great men of faith bear out this truth:
“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” (Martin Luther)
“I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming.” (George Muller)
Well…their inspiration? Their Saviour Himself, who with much to do, all in the span of 24 hours, would begin the day (even before sunrise…say at 5am) with prayer…an expression of deep love for the Father: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 ESV). In fact, Mark’s Gospel is also called the “speed Gospel,” for the author uses the word “immediately” not less than 42 times to describe events in Jesus’ life. This would give one an idea of Jesus’ busyness in His Ministry.
After prayer, when the needy (mind you…”neighbours” is the word Jesus used to describe those in need — SeeLuke 10:25-38) would start flocking Him for various reasons, from say, hypothetically speaking, 8 am onwards. He would not give the excuse that He has to “now pray” and be unavailable to them; rather He would readily be available to address their needs. It was not for Christ to give obedience to only the First commandment at the cost of the second one, or vice-versa. He got His priorities right and kept both commands by exercising proper discipline. Period!
Say Christian minister…is your prayer life well-balanced with your ministry…
Nowhere in the Scriptures is the Son’s love for the Father in the “Passion phase” of His life more clearly manifested than in these words of our Lord, spoken probably less than 12 hours before His ordeal on the Cross…
“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I ‘love’ the Father…” (John 14:30-31 ESV)
Implicit obedience to the Father’s commandments is proof of one’s love for Him (“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments…” (2 John 1:6a ESV).
Now let’s shift our focus to Calvary. Even as shouts of mockery of, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross…” (Matt. 27:40b ESV) rent the air whilst Christ hung on the Cross, rubbing as it were salt into his wounds (SeeLuke 23:35), our Lord consciously chose not to perform the “miracle” of coming down from the Cross. This would not only have shut the mouths of His enemies, but would have also guaranteed immediate replacement of the Crown of thorns with that of Gold, for the people, on seeing this “miracle”, would have accepted Him as “King”.
So why did He continue to hang on the Cross?
To demonstrate His love for the Father by dying as a ransom for the sins of the world, as per the Almighty’s Will (SeeRev. 13:8); and also at the same time to demonstrate His love for the “neighbour” (you and me), who needs redemption from sin. And also, was not mankind (the neighbour in this context) in a far worse condition, spiritually-speaking, than the Jew who was attacked and left for dead by the thieves in the Good Samaritan parable (SeeLuke 10:25-38)?
Oh how great is our precious Saviour! Oh how wonderfully He fulfilled both of the great commandments in all the three phases of His exemplary life.
It is said that unless two blades of scissors are put to use, the scissors would be inoperative. Ditto with a Christian’s life. Unless he obeys both the commandments of the New Testiment dispensation, as exemplified by the Master, his life would be aimless: “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (I John 2:6 ESV).
Dear Friends, how are we faring in obeying these two commandments which have been labelled quite rightly by the Biblical scholars as “conjoined twins”? We cannot obey one without obeying the other!
Let’s bank fully on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who equips us from within with His rich resources (SeeRom 5:5/Eph 3:16), to obey these two commandments. Full steam ahead…Fellow sojourner…
Prayer: Father, strengthen my inner man I pray that I fulfil the commands of loving Thee and my neighbour whatever be the cost. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Exemplary Exemplar” mini-series,please clickhere.)