December 20, 2016
READ: John 19:25-27
I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you (13:15).
Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) left an unusual last will and testament. Because he found English spelling rules unnecessarily confusing (which they are!), he requested that the United Kingdom adopt a phonetic alphabet he had created to simplify things. He even left a large portion of his estate to implement the plan. Schoolchildren would have been forever grateful to Shaw, but alas, the courts deemed the request “impossible.” The money went to other causes.
Jesus didn’t write a last will and testament; He lived one. Nowhere is this more evident than in the 24 hours leading up to His crucifixion. In the upper room the night before His death, Jesus taught His disciples servant-leadership by washing their feet (John 13:1-17). During the Last Supper He gave them instructions, warnings, and comfort (14:1-16:33) and promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide them (16:13-15). He prayed for them (17:1-26), and for us too, declaring, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message” (v.20).
Even as He hung on the cross, Christ directed His last bit of energy to serve others. Seeing His anguished mother with John, He said, “Dear woman, here is your son” (John 19:26). And to John He said, “Here is your mother” (v.27). This was no frantic attempt to cram as much into His brief life as possible. Jesus was simply taking the next measured step in a life defined by service and sacrifice.
George Bernard Shaw chose not to follow God even to his death. In contrast, Jesus focused His life on doing the will of His heavenly Father to the very end. By giving up His life, Christ gave hope and a future to anyone who believes in Him.
365-day plan: James 2:1-13
John 14:15-18, 25-27 reveals how Jesus provided for His disciples (and for us) prior to leaving them.
Is the focus of your life more on making a name for yourself or on doing what God has given you to do? How can the Holy Spirit help you live for Jesus to the end?