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An Audience of One

By Michael Roop

This is part five in a five-part series on the lifestyle of Jesus. To catch up on previous posts in this series, click here.

As we wrap up our series on the lifestyle of Jesus, perhaps the most important observation is that Jesus lived His life before an audience of One. We see from His lifestyle a supreme lack of care for His own reputation when compared for His priority to be connected to the Father, the Spirit, and to the Word, all for the glory of the One who sent Him.

We’ve already noted in this series that Jesus’ highest priority was His relationship with the Father. Luke’s extensive research revealed that Jesus “would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16). Jesus confessed that He could do nothing apart from His Father (John 5:19). Jesus spent His last hours deep in prayer with the Father (Mark 13:32-42) and cried out to the Father from the cross (Matthew 27:46).

In His humanity, Jesus relied on the lead of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit drove Him to the wilderness to be tempted and brought Him back to Galilee when the temptation was over (Luke 4:1-14). The Spirit empowered Jesus’ miracles (Matthew 12:18) and raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). Jesus claimed that He was anointed by the Spirit for His Messianic role (Luke 4:18-21).

Jesus also knew His Bible. Perhaps the most famous example comes during His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), but I found myself more captured by His teaching on Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” In context, Jesus is defending His disciples, who were plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath, as well as His healing of a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Both violated Pharisaical tradition, neither violated Torah. Jesus knew this because Jesus knew that the Father desires mercy (covenant-faithful, consistent, faith-based love) more than religious ritual.

Finally, we’re told that Jesus did everything for the glory of the Father. In the High Priestly prayer recorded by John, Jesus prays, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4). All that Jesus did, from the miracles to the teachings to the dinner parties to the fasting - all of it was done to glorify the Father. The Apostle Paul sees this as the primary goal and focus of the Christian life, the life lived in the yoke with Jesus: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Last week, I shared a phrase that I learned during my pastoral residency. Here’s another: intimacy breeds integrity. This is a reflection on God’s invitation to Abram in Genesis 17. As this new covenant relationship was being forged, God invites Abram to “walk before me and be blameless” (17:1). The Hebrew word behind “blameless” doesn’t necessarily mean morally perfect; a better translation would be “whole.” God invites Abram into an intimate, committed relationship that will result in Abram’s restored wholeness. A life where his being and doing match. A life lived consistent with his created design.

This is the life Jesus lived. A life walking before the Father as the only truly whole human to ever live. And it is also the life He offers to those who will enter the yoke with Him. In John 15, Jesus tells His disciples, “Abide in me, and I in you…Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” Like Jesus, we can do nothing apart from intimacy with God.

The life of integral wholeness means that we have nothing to hide, nothing to fear, and nothing to prove. We have only to abide. By the gracious provision of His Son, the Father makes it possible for us to walk before Him and become whole again. This is the life of Jesus, a life lived before the audience of One.

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