Jesus - the Model Disciple
Philippians 2: 6 - 7: "Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of man ... He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross"(NASV).
It is common for us to see Jesus as the Master Discipler and He certainly is. Yet, Jesus demonstrates to us what a disciple is by being a disciple Himself ... a disciple of His Father, God. When we think of salvation through the finished work of Christ on the cross we need to see the place of Christ as a disciple in the plan of atonement.
Theologically, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, distinct second Person of the Trinity, co- equal with the Father and the Spirit and co- labouring in the plan of salvation, is both passive and active. He is passive in the sense that He submits Himself to arrest, horrific scourging, and an excruciating death on a Roman cross. This passive submission is seen in the garden of Gethsemane by the full relinquishment of His own will. “Not my will, but yours be done,” Jesus says. He died for the sin of the world.
What does scripture teach? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the three Persons of the Trinity) were united and unanimous in the plan of crucifixion. In John 10:17 - 18 Jesus said that He has the power to lay down His life and to take it up ... "I lay it down on my own initiative." Jesus willingly and intentionally gave His life as a ransom for many. He did so in submission to the God-head's plan of redemption.
He is righteous, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It was our punishment that He took and by His stripes we were healed (Isaiah 53). Yes, God's wrath against sin was satisfied, but it was done in a willing and passive submission to the will of God.
That said, Jesus was clearly also active in His obedience to His Father in His earthy life. By doing so He proved himself to be the spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. John 5: 19: "The Son can do nothing of Himself unless it is something He sees His Father doing." Jesus was clear that His actions were the Father’s actions; His words, the Father's words.
Jesus came to do the will of the Father and He did so in active obedience as a disciple. What a liberating truth. If Jesus was the model disciple then we in His strength can follow His example.
At this Easter time as we see the cross and empty tomb, let us reflect on the sinless, faultless, obedience of Jesus. May we walk and talk as He commands us to.