by Bill Blue
The impact of culture upon a Christian cannot be overstated. Modern America is a contradiction, a religious nation with a Humanistic culture. Christian Americans strive to live by the Bible, which contains admonitions to strongly oppose sin, while living in a nation whose culture says nothing is wrong so long as it does not hurt someone else. This tension causes the evolution of faiths which permit “Christians” to pick and choose those portions of the Scriptures that they will live by. What would Jesus do?
Jesus would not pick and choose which Scriptures He would obey. As we have read already, Jesus would study the Bible (Luke 2:41-50; WWJD no. 3), which He knew to contain “all truth,” (John 16:13), and give Bible answers to spiritual questions (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; Matt. 19:4; WWJD no. 2).
Jesus began His ministry by obeying God’s will to be baptized. He did not question the purpose or necessity of baptism. When John protested that his own righteousness was inferior to Christ’s, Jesus said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” and then He was baptized (Matt. 3:13-15).
Jesus obeyed God in the face of temptation. Following His baptism and fasting for 40 days, Satan tempted Jesus with food (Matt. 4:3), pride (Matt. 4:6), and power (Matt. 4:8-9). Jesus chose to obey God and resist Satan’s temptations by relying upon God’s word (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; Heb. 2:17-18; Heb. 4:15). We, too, are capable of resisting temptation. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Although Christ’s death ended the Law of Moses, He obeyed the Law during His life. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19)
Jesus obeyed God even when obedience caused Him great agony. The night before Christ was crucified He became “sorrowful and deeply distressed,” knowing what fate awaited Him (Matt. 26:37; see also Mark 14:33-34; Luke 22:44). He then prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’…. Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’ So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44; see also Mark 14:35, 36, 39; Luke 22:42, 44).
Christ was obedient to the point of death (Phil. 2:5-8). Christ did not want to die. He was tempted, sorrowful and deeply distressed (Heb. 4:15; Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33-34; Luke 22:44). He prayed three times to God for another way (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44; see also Mark 14:35, 26, 29; Luke 22:42). Nonetheless, through it all, He put God’s will ahead of His own, and obeyed God by dying for a world of sinners, though Jesus Himself was sinless (Rom. 5:6-9; Phil. 2:5-8).
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put [it] on hyssop, and put [it] to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:28-30).
In Revelation 2:10, Jesus admonishes Christians to, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Considering His example of complete obedience, how should we act when confronted with Scripture that requires us to do something we may not like? Jesus obeyed God when He was in agony. Will we ignore His command to be baptized (Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19)? Jesus obeyed God when it meant He must die a tortuous death. Will we now refuse His commandments regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage (Matt. 5:31-32; Matt. 19:3-10), or will we, like Him, obey God in all things?