Responding to the will of God

The Bible abounds in illustrations of the necessity and blessings of adhering to God's will. Moses, for example, learned of the inescapable requirements of obedience to God when he was sent to liberate the Israelites from their bondage under Egyptian rule. The challenge was great, but the reward was sure—freedom for the children of Israel, a land of promise, and the covenant of the Father's perpetual care.

In the life of Christ Jesus we can see the supreme example of what is involved in responding to the will of God. Each step of his holy ministry was taken in accordance with divine directives. He proved the perfect dominion that comes from abiding by God's law in thought, word, and action. Even at Gethsemane, knowing what lay ahead with the crucifixion and from the depths of his struggle, the Master had prayed to his heavenly Father, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Luke 22:42. Jesus' life and healing work had already provided convincing evidence that the divine will is always good. And Jesus must have seen beyond the cross to the glory of the resurrection that awaited his triumph over mortality.

Earlier in his ministry, Jesus had given his disciples a prayer that remains today a central bond among Christians throughout the world. The Lord's Prayer contains this line: "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matt. 6:10. This is presented in the Sermon on the Mount; and also in that sermon Jesus teaches about salvation and obedience, implying that more is required than merely calling on his name. Salvation demands faithful adherence to God's law: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 7:21. So, at Gethsemane, through his own lifelong prayerful acceptance of God's will, Jesus was prepared to face the cross. In fulfillment of his God-appointed purpose, he vanquished the lie of death and proved man's eternal unity with divine Life.

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A change of clothes
October 25, 1982

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