By Arthur W. Pink
Mark how the recognition of God’s sovereignty which is expressed in godly fear, implicit obedience, entire resignation, and deep thankfulness and joy was supremely and perfectly exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ. In all things the Lord Jesus has left us an example that we should follow His steps.
What a wonderful and precious word is that of Hebrews 5:7 – “Who in the days of His flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and having been heard for His godly fear…” (R. V.). What was it but “godly fear” which caused the Lord Jesus to be “subject” unto Mary and Joseph in the days of His childhood? Was it “godly fear” – a filial subjection to and reverence for God – that we see displayed when we read, “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day...” (Luke 4:16)? Was it not “godly fear” which caused the incarnate Son to say, when tempted by Satan to fall down and worship him, “...It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Luke 4:8)? Was it not “godly fear” which moved Him to say to the cleansed leper, “...Go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded...” (Matt. 8:4)? But why multiply illustrations?
How perfect was the obedience that the Lord Jesus offered to God the Father! And in reflecting upon this let us not lose sight of that wondrous grace which caused Him, who was in the very form of God, to stoop so low as to take upon Him the form of a servant and thus be brought into the place where obedience was becoming. As the perfect Servant, He yielded complete obedience to His Father. How absolute and entire that obedience was we may learn from the words He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). That this was a conscious and intelligent obedience is clear from His own language: “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:17-18).
And what shall we say of the absolute resignation of the Son to the Father’s will? What, but between Them there was entire oneness of accord. Said He, “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38), and how fully He substantiated that claim all know who have attentively followed His path as marked out in the Scriptures. Behold Him in Gethsemane! The bitter ‘cup,’ held in the Father’s hand, is presented to His view. Mark well His attitude. Learn of Him who was meek and lowly in heart. Remember that there in the Garden we see the Word become flesh, a perfect Man. His body is quivering at every nerve in contemplation of the physical sufferings which await Him. His holy and sensitive nature is shrinking from the horrible indignities which shall be heaped upon Him. His heart is breaking at the awful “reproach” which is before Him. His spirit is greatly troubled as He foresees the terrible conflict with the power of darkness. And, above all, and supremely, His soul is filled with horror at the thought of being separated from God Himself. Thus and there He pours out His soul to the Father, and with strong crying and tears He sheds, as it were, great drops of blood. And now observe and listen. Still the beating of thy heart and hearken to the words which fall from His blessed lips, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Here is submission personified. Here is resignation to the pleasure of a Sovereign God superlatively exemplified. And He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. He who was God became man, and was tempted in all points like as we are, sin apart, to show us how to wear our creature nature!
Above we asked, What shall we say of Christ’s absolute resignation to the Father’s will? We answer further, This, that here, as everywhere, He was unique, peerless. In all things He has the preeminence. In the Lord Jesus there was no rebellious will to be broken. It was because in Him there was no resistance that He could say, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me...” (John 4:34). Yea, it was because He was in perfect accord with the Father in all things that He delighted to do His Father’s will (Psa. 40:8; Heb. 10:7-9).
Thanksgiving and Joy
What a beautiful and striking illustration of Christ’s thankfulness and joy is found in Luke 10:21 – “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee….” Here was submission in its purest form. Here was One by whom the worlds were made, yet, in the days of His humiliation and in the face of His rejection, thankfully and joyously bowing to the will of the “Lord of heaven and earth.”