ATP Blog #56
Don’t we all want to please God? So often, though, it comes across as the basis for all religions … and don’t we see Christianity as different from all other religions? We say that it is about relationship, rather than a set of rules designed to keep the Almighty happy. Yet, when you think about the simple, yet somewhat complex, relationship between a child and his or her father, there is an aspect of seeking to please the father that loves their children. How much more so in our relationship with the Heavenly Father?
Understanding The ‘they’ in this passage did not understand. What was it they did not understand? ‘They did not understand that He was telling them about His Father.’ Remember, these are the religious leaders of Israel. This meant that they were looking for a Conquering Hero type of Messiah (not the suffering servant). This also meant that they assumed that Jesus was born of Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. So, when Jesus talked of His Father, they misunderstood (sometimes it would seem that they misunderstood on purpose). How did Jesus describe His Heavenly Father? He was the One to whom Christ was ‘going’ after His death (v21), He was the One who is not of this world (v23), and He was the One who sent Christ to this earth to die for our sins (v24, 26).
Knowledge When would they finally know, and understand, Jesus’ identity? ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be.’ Jesus knew that His death and resurrection would finally prove His identity to those who would be paying attention. Even His earthly brothers came to believe at this point! Not only would Jesus’ claims be proven at His death, but also His source of power and authority! ‘Then you will know … that I do nothing on my own, but speak just what the Father has taught me.’ This second piece of knowledge is very significant, because it shows why we, as Christians, are able to follow Christ’s example. He is saying that all power, wisdom, and authority came from God the Father … as it must for us who follow Him. Jesus did not draw the ‘God Card’ in anything He said or did, but rather relied on the Father, through the Holy Spirit, by way of time spent in prayer.
Enablement How is Jesus able to be so consistent in doing God’s will, and resisting temptation? ‘The One who sent me is with Me; He has not left Me alone.’ How encouraging is that! The more we rely on God the Father, the more we feel His presence, enabling us to do that very thing: consistently doing God’s will, and resisting temptation (which is sent for distraction).
Pleasing God ‘For I always do what pleases Him.’ Could you say the same? We get so distracted, or forget and try to do things on our own. So, what does it take to please God? I believe that is the same as any good father: to obey out of a motivation of love. It is also much bigger than just obedience; it is about that relationship with God as our Father, that continually gets deeper and more personal. To accomplish this, we must follow Christ’s example, which is to rely on God for everything. Do not say or do anything, unless God instructs you to. Commune with Him in prayer on a regular basis (you know, pray without ceasing). Most importantly, do not get your loyalties mixed up; you cannot please both God and man. As Joshua puts it (Joshua 24:15) ‘Choose this day whom you will serve.’
Result What happens when we live to please God, as Jesus did? ‘Even as He spoke, many put their faith in Him.’ When we please God the Father, we are not concerned about what other people think, and people see this. Then many are drawn to God through your example! That is exactly what we are called to do as Christians!! So … let’s do it … let us seek to please God.