Completing Our Assignment

Daily Devotion: Day 217 | By Stephen Bilson-Ogoe

“But He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know . . . My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work’” (John 4:32-34, NKJV).

Jesus’ disciples had gone out to buy food. While they were away, Jesus had a lively discussion with a woman from Samaria who had come to Jacob’s well to draw water. Finally, the disciples returned to find Jesus speaking with the woman. At first, they were surprised, but they didn’t make a big deal of it. Once the Samaritan woman had left, the disciples urged their Master to eat. Today’s Scripture reading tells us what happened next.

Jesus stunned his disciples when He said, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” This left the disciples wondering if someone had brought Him something to eat. They were thinking about physical food. But, Jesus meant something else. “My food,” He explained, is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.” This was Jesus’ secret food; call it His spiritual food.

What Jesus said reveals something profound about His spirituality. Food is necessary for life. Without it, we can hardly survive – let alone thrive. What Jesus meant, therefore, was that His very survival depended on doing the Father’s work and finishing it. This was Jesus’ source of spiritual nourishment.

One more thing: There are two parts to what Jesus said. The first part is doing the will of the Father. The second part is finishing the work. This is very important. It is not enough to do God’s work; it is necessary to complete the work. Why? Because, first, God deserves completed work. And second, for God, only completed work counts. Anything less is unacceptable. Jesus understood this.

Jesus indeed finished His work, as He declares in John 17:4, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You gave me to do.” And again, on the Cross: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus finished His work, not so we will have no work to do, but to give us power to finish ours.

Even among us humans, we expect people to complete their assigned tasks, whether at home, at school or at the work place. No one wants uncompleted work. If you truly are committed to someone or something, you will put in your best effort by completing the work given to you. Uncompleted work is, usually, a symptom of laziness and lack of commitment.

Today, God wants you to draw inspiration from Jesus’ sense of duty, His tenacity and His commitment. Jesus completed His assignmentComplete yours.

May the Lord command His blessing upon you today. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Matthew 25:14-30

Becoming Perfect through Obedience

DEVOTION: DAY 209

“Though he [Jesus] were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9, KJV).

As the eternal Son of God, Jesus didn’t need to ‘learn’ anything. But upon taking on flesh as a man, He had to learn many things – the most important of which was obedience. Jesus learned obedience, not for His own sake, but for our sake – to show us how to become blameless (perfect) in our walk with God. God has not changedwe have. From the beginning, God’s purpose has been for His children to be blameless in character. God, for example, said to Abram (later, Abraham): “I am the Almighty God; walk before meand be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). Jesus demonstrated to us the way of perfection. If we walk in His steps – through obedience – we shall be like Him.

Today’s Scripture passage says Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Jesus was not exempt from suffering. Neither are weObeying God is very rewarding, but it comes with a price. To obey God, you need to endure suffering and give up certain pleasures, habits, desires, attitudes, relationships, conversations, lifestyle, social settings, and even certain religious views and practices which are contrary to God’s Word.

Notice that Jesus learned obedience, not by the miracles he performed, but by the things He suffered. He learned obedience the hard way: the temptations He endured, the opposition to His message, the threats from people, the persecution and hate, the pain of seeing loved ones suffer, the limitations of the human condition, etc. On the Cross, Jesus reached the height of obedience and perfection when He made the ultimate sacrifice – to redeem us.

The Bible continues by stating that Jesus became the author (i.e. the source or the cause) of eternal salvation for those who obey Him. Notice that there is a specific group of people for whom Jesus becomes the author of salvation: those who obey Jesus. In the original New Testament Greek, the word “obey” in this passage is rendered in the present tense and in the active voice. The implication is, Jesus is the cause of eternal salvation for those who currently (actively) obey Him, not those who obeyed in the past but have since stopped obeying Jesus.

Ongoing obedience to Jesus ensures, therefore, that we are connected to the source of eternal salvation. It further ensures that we grow in perfection: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). If you obey Jesus, it means you are abiding in Him. And if you are abiding in Him, you will manifest the Jesus-life.

Without obedience, there is no perfection. And there is no obedience without some measure of suffering. In Christ, and by the power of His Holy Spirit in us, we can walk in obedience like Jesus and become God’s blameless children in this world (cf. Philippians 2:14-15).

May the Lord bless you and keep you from all danger today. Amen.

For further study: Philippians 2:5-16

Meet Jesus, the Captain of Our Salvation

Daily Devotional: Day 149

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10, NKJV).

God made Jesus the Captain of our salvation. Jesus is not one of many captains of our salvation. Jesus does not have a co-captain. He, and He alone, is the Captain of our salvation. This title and role was not conferred on Jesus for free. He earned it by paying a heavy price. How do we know that Jesus earned it? Today’s opening Scripture tells us. It says God had a plan to bring many sons to glory. “Many sons” is referring to us who are born again and destined for salvation. The Father wanted many children (us) to share in His heavenly glory. But Someone had to pay the price and lead the way. God, therefore, appointed His Son to become the Captain of our salvation. And, God made the Captain perfect through sufferings. The glory of God is now upon us because of what Jesus did.

 Jesus’ sufferings did not begin on “Palm Sunday,” “Holy Thursday” or “Good Friday.” Jesus started suffering as a baby. He was born in a manger, exposed to the elements, and deprived of the basic comfort of normal birthing conditions. Still as an infant, His life was in danger because of King Herod’s fury. We can go on and on, counting the sufferings of Christ. The Cross was only the culmination of His sufferings. It was in this crucible of sufferings that Jesus was made the Captain of our salvation.

Because Jesus is our Captain, you can be confident that you are on the winning team. Jesus has never failed as a Captain, and He never will. Your salvation rests on the solid ground of Jesus’ captainship. This also means that obeying the voice of the Captain is key to your success. Be of good cheer and know that, no matter the challenges you face, your Captain will never let you down. Know that you are child of glory through Captain Jesus.

May the Lord let His face shine on you today! Amen.

For further study: John 17:20-26