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  • Writer's pictureJay Lowder

What Would Jesus Do?

Updated: Apr 22

How Jesus’ Meditations Prepared Him for Passion Week!

Jay Lowder - March 27, 2024


During this Passion Week leading to the glorious victory of the Resurrection, let us reflect on how Jesus readied himself for it. You might, without much reflection, respond and say, “Of course, he was ready for it. He came for that purpose!” That is true (Matthew 20:28; John 12:27).

 

How Did Jesus Learn What He Would Do?

While Jesus did say, “For this purpose I have come into the world,” these powerful words were spoken by the adult Jesus. What did he know about himself and when? How did our Savior, who “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7), come to understand who he was and what he had come to accomplish? What did he discover as a young child? What did he learn as a teenager? He was not born with that knowledge any more than he was born knowing how to crawl, talk or walk. When and how did he come to know “what would Jesus do?”

 

An Inspiring Perspective!

Several years ago, I read powerful words written by one of my Ph.D. supervisors, Dr. Bruce Ware. His insight struck me then and continues to come to mind each Easter season. I have come to agree with the statement, “Books don’t change people; paragraphs do. Sometimes even sentences.”1 Bruce Ware’s entire book (The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ) is highly worth reading. But may this short paragraph warm your heart and inspire you this season!  Reflecting on how Jesus could have “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52), Bruce Ware wrote:


Imagine the day when Jesus was reading through and meditating upon the prophet Isaiah. When he came to chapter 53, the Spirit must have opened his mind and heart to understand from this text that he was in fact the suffering servant of whom Isaiah wrote. He would be the one who would bear the sins of many. He would be the one crushed by his Father, the one through whose work the Father would be able to justify the many. Imagine the growing wisdom of Jesus as he read and studied God’s Word. The Spirit of the Lord within him would grant him increasing understanding not only of the truth of that Word but also of his identity as the Son of God, the suffering servant, the one who came into this world to give his life a ransom for many. When Jesus tells his parents in Jerusalem that he must be in his Father’s house and about his Father’s business, we realize that at merely twelve years old he knew who he was and the work he had come to accomplish. 2



How Astonishing!

              How amazing to think that the Holy Spirit, who inspired the writing of the Old Testament Messianic passages, introduced the young Messiah to them! Like other boys his age, Jesus grew up hearing the Jewish Scriptures. Still, he received no advanced human education like the students of rabbis (John 7:15). He heard as much as his peers, and yet, his passionate zeal for his Father, his sinless nature that hungered to know, and his purity of heart enabled him to understand the meaning of those Scriptures beyond his peers and anyone on earth.


How Internalized!

From this young age and throughout his life, Jesus clung to every word of God, committing them to memory.  The Holy Spirit showed him himself in them, and for our great good, he accepted the “sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” (1 Peter 1:11). This was not a passive acceptance of fate but a passionate embrace of all of God’s words that set him on this course to the cross. He loved God's word and lived it out, “becoming obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:8).  It was Jesus who “meditated so profoundly on Scripture that he virtually ’bled’ Scripture, quoting it instinctively in the most extreme moments of his life.”3 His matchless, meditative acceptance of “every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3) was the life that saved us.

 

Easter and Beyond!

“What then shall we do” (Luke 3:10)? Among the many ways that the life and pattern of Jesus can change us, here are but four:


  1. Follow His Pattern to Gain Your Pardon! – Jesus heard the word of God, understood it, believed it, and acted upon what it said about him. You and I must do that, too. But the Bible portrays us so differently! We are lost and wayward sheep (Isaiah 53:6) for whom the Good Shepherd would die (John 10:11, 17-18). Have you confessed with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10)? If not, do it now and experience Easter Sunday this year as a new child of God!

  2. Meditate on the Meaning of Verses! The Holy Spirit of God will help you, as a child of God, when you meditate on the meaning of the verses you read. This is not a shortcut bypassing studying and applying your mind, but while you are considering what is said, chewing on its meaning by meditation, the Spirit of Jesus will give you understanding (2 Timothy 2:7). He will show you both what it means and how to apply it to your life. Often, you will rise from Bible study knowing W.M.I.D., “What Must I Do!”

  3. Celebrate the Whole Life of Jesus! Jesus did not save you only by his work on the cross. That penal substitutionary atonement was necessary, but so was the obedience of his lifetime: “Christ had to live a life of perfect obedience to God in order to earn righteousness for us. He had to obey the law for his whole life on our behalf so that the positive merits of his perfect obedience would be counted for us.”4 Therefore, as we read the Gospels about the daily life of Jesus, let us picture him as living out the rescue plan of the Father for us every minute of his life. Let us, therefore, worship him afresh this Easter season with “lips of praise (Hebrews 13:15)!

 





Here is a helpful, related article:


1John Piper, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All Life (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Publishers, 2014), 13.

2Bruce A Ware, The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 53–4. Emphasis added.

       3Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Penguin Publishing Group, 2014), 163.

       4Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, 2 ed. (Grand Rapids, Zondervan Academic, 2020), 707.

 

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