The willing

John 18:4-5 “Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am he.’”

There were a number of occasions during Jesus’ time on earth that men tried to kill Him. The first time was soon after his birth when King Herod killed all the children under two years of age to rid himself of any future rivals to his rule. Jesus, however, was taken by his parents to Egypt after they were warned by an angel to escape Herod’s murderous rampage (Matthew 2:13). Then in Nazareth, where he first proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah, we are told that “they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away” (Luke 4:29-30). Then there was the time that He claimed deity and eternal existence with these words to the Jews: “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Then in the next verse we are told: “So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”

At none of these times was it the Father’s will for Jesus to die, but now, in the account of John 18, above, it was the time, as Jesus willingly came forward in the Garden of Gethsemane. Unless Jesus had been willing, men could have had absolutely no power over Him. Jesus reiterated this in His trial before Pilate. It was there that Pilate said “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” to which Jesus replied “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:10-11).

It was Jesus’ willingness to lay down His life for us in obedience to the Father that has made it possible for us to have eternal life. Otherwise, we would have no hope. Likewise, it is willingness to obey the Father and love one’s neighbor no matter the cost, that are hallmarks of the follower of Christ. The true lover of God willingly gives to the work of the kingdom, whether it be money, time, or talent. He or she is a cheerful giver, eager to serve the Lord. They are willing to share the gospel, even if he or she is to suffer persecution because of it.

A willing heart – the only reason Jesus died for us, and the reason a true lover of Jesus lives for Him.

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