High Priorities (1)

Obedience can be a difficult choice, but not nearly as difficult as the results of disobedience.

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1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 

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I have often heard people make the statement that obeying the Lord is never difficult.  People who make statements of that kind reveal a very shallow understanding of life, especially in the arena of leadership.  I can tell you unequivocally that while obedience is certainly better than sacrifice, there are times when obedience can be a difficult decision.  Jesus certainly acknowledged such through His life in His earthly ministry.  Consider the following moments in His ministry.

When Jesus encountered the man with the withered hand, He was angry with the religious minded folks when He healed on the Sabbath.

When Jesus took His stand to speak truth, regardless of how people reacted, His own mother and family walked away from Him.  It’s tough when you own parents turn away from your ministry.

When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before His arrest, the pressure in His obedient action was so great His sweat became like drops of blood.

Yet in times like these just cited, Jesus walked in obedience to Father.  He declared He always did those things that please the Father.  He was a son of covenant.  When a Jewish boy turns 13 years old, he celebrates the rite of bar mitzvah.  The word “bar” means “son of.”  For instance, King David was called “David ben (another way of saying “bar”) Jesse,” meaning the son of Jesse.  Solomon would have been Solomon ben (barDavid.  Jesus, as recognized by those among whom He grew up would have been known as Jesus bar Joseph.  But when used in the term bar mitzvah, it is not a matter of being a son through birth, but a son through growth and qualification, for the word “mitzvah” means “commandment.”  Hence, the term bar mitzvah means that one has grown up and passed the test to be known as a “son of commandment.”

Such a term was not only a ceremony, but a point of taking on a new identity that spoke to the highest levels of righteousness, obedience, and holiness before the Lord.  Jesus did not simply experience the rite, or ceremony, of bar mitzvah, He became Jesus, bar Mitzvah, or JesusSon of Commandment.  Far more than implication, He pledged Himself in that ceremony, and by accepted that title, to be completely obedient and compliant with Father’s will and commands.  My dear friend, when you made Jesus you Lord and Savior, being born again by Holy Ghost, and being washed in the blood of the Lamb, you became bar Mitzvah.  I became Beechard bar Mitzvah.  That is more than a title, dear one; it is a lifestyle to be deliberately lived by faith.

Manna for Today –  1 Peter 1:3-25; 1 Samuel 15:22-23; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; Mark 10:29-30;     Mark 3:1-6; Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 22:39-46; John 8:29