Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Faith, Part II

The humility with which the centurion approached Jesus makes me think of the words of Philippians 2:6-8. Describing Jesus Christ, this passage says: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!

Jesus did not demand or cling to His rights as God. He sacrificially released these rights so that He could pay the price for the sins of all mankind. Jesus believed God's plan. He showed that He believed God's plan by submitting to God's authority. In speaking with the Father about the need to pay the world's sin debt, Jesus says, "...if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39)

Jesus' very life taught great faith. His life was about fulfilling God's will on earth as it was fulfilled in heaven. He recognized the authority of His loving Father and surrendered every claim of entitlement. If anyone could claim entitlement, it was Him, but He released everything to the Father: His body, His reputation, His equality -- all of it was relinquished without expectation. He felt the freedom to say, "Father, I really would like to pass on this one, isn't there another way?" But He did not have expectations regarding God's answer. He knew God loved Him, so He knew God's response would be good, not harmful, and would be marked by love. Period.

Jesus was mocked, beaten and crucified... How can you possibly say God's plan for Jesus was good and not harmful? It may have been good for us, but good for Him?

While Jesus' act of surrender fulfilled God's plan of redemption, it also was the act of faith which effected God's good plan for Him. Though mocked, beaten and crucified, Christ did not stay in the grave. He rose on the third day, and Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It is true, Jesus relinquished every possession, but He sits now at the right hand of His Father and will ultimately be given the possession of all things.

God's plan is always for the good of those that love Him. This is what Christ wants us to grasp: Great faith, recognizing God's authority over every part of our lives and relinquishing every thought of entitlement, precedes great fulfillment. God loves His children and wants to give them everything that is good, but ultimate fulfillment can only be realized through great faith.

Like the centurion, Jesus wants our lives to be described by the greatness of our faith, for great faith renders all glory to a great God.


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