Fulfilling Your Duties

Fulfilling Your Duties

John 19:26-27 – “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘woman, behold your son!’ Then He said the the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus’ primary reason for coming to earth was to make salvation possible for all those who would believe.  Many people teach today that we as humans are basically good people who just need someone to come along beside of us and teach us how to live better lives.  Jesus becomes for them a great teacher who enables them to live life better.  Yet that is not what the Bible teaches.  The Bible teaches that  we are not basically good people who just need a little nudging to become better people, we are sinners in need  of a Savior.

Our lives are filled up with sin, and we need forgiveness.  We need freedom.  Jesus purchased us those things and more on the cross.  He came so that we might be saved.  That being said, He does give us a great example on how to live.  He teaches us much about life, about responsibility and about love, and once we are His followers, once He is our Savior we ought to put those things into practice. 

As He hung on the cross the example that He set was amazing, but it was still something that we should put into practice.  Here He was hanging on a cross and suffering an inexplicably excruciating death, but He never focuses on Himself, His focus is always on other people, and always on doing the will of God the Father.

We have already seen while on the cross that He cried out to give others forgiveness and love and here as He hangs on the cross He is concerned about His mother and one of His close friends.  His concern can be seen when He says to His mother, “behold your son,” and to His friend (most likely John the disciple), “behold your mother.”  He was concerned about them grieving and about them hurting.  He was concerned about their impending loneliness.  But I believe it goes much deeper than that. 

Jesus is demonstrating even on the cross what true friendship looks like.  It is always a concern for other people.  If you are friends with someone you are concerned about them.  That’s why the Bible says, “we are to put others needs above our own.”  Jesus shows us a pattern of love and He shows us how to be a friend while He is hanging on the cross.  Not only that however I believe that He shows us also a pattern for the church.  The church of Jesus Christ should be a place where people find true relationships and friendships.  The church should be the place where a person feels at home.  It should be a place where a person is among family.  After all Jesus linked Mary and John (the disciple whom He loved) together in a family type relationship.  It was a precursor if you will of the church.  It was an example that the church should follow. 

Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.  He leads the prisoners out to freedom.”  That is precisely what Jesus is doing here.  Loneliness will grip His mother and His disciple, Jesus knows that and so here on the cross He sets the lonely in families.  At the same time He is setting the prisoners free and leading them to freedom.  He is setting free those trapped in sin and through the love of God displayed on the cross He leads them to a life of freedom.

Jesus institutes and empowers the church.  He also gives us an example for the church to follow.  We are to be welcoming and loving just as He was.   We are to reach out to the hurting and the lonely.  We truly are to become family to one another.  That is our duty as the church.

There is however another angle to what is going on when Jesus speaks these words.  He is fulfilling one of the commandments.  The fifth commandments says, “honor your father and mother.”  Jesus is doing precisely that on the cross.  Many people when they read the fifth commandment think that it has to do with obedience.  Obey your mom and dad.  But that isn’t what it says, it says, “honor your mother and father.”  The idea of honor means more than just obedience, it also means love.  Jesus is showing that on the cross.  He is certainly showing His mother love and compassion.  His concern is for her, and He is fulfilling His duty to her as a son.  Loving her even to the very end.  He is fulfilling the fifth commandment, and honoring His mother.

He honored His Father as well didn’t He? When He prayed “not my will but Yours be done,” in the garden He was honoring His Father.  When He walked daily in obedience, He was honoring His Father.  Honoring Him by not just obeying but by loving Him.  Jesus’ motivation in everything that He did was showing love to the Father, and glorifying Him.  He fulfilled the fifth commandment when He went to the cross by honoring both His mother and His Father. 

In fulfilling the fifth commandment Jesus once again gave us an example to follow.  And that example is to keep the commandments.  To walk in obedience to our Father, to honor Him, to love Him and to glorify Him.  We are also called to fulfill our duties.  To fulfill them to our loved ones, to our family, and to our church family.  We must love other people, and fulfill our duty by doing so.  The Bible points out over and over again our calling to love other people, and then it makes the bold declaration that the world will know that we are Christians “by our love”.

In other words they will see Jesus living within us as we are transformed by His love.  They will see Him living within us as we walk every day in faith and repentance (Mark 1:15).  They will see Him living within us as we follow His example, and they will see Him living within us as we yield ourselves to Him and the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives.  That is why Paul as he wrote to the church at Galatia said, “the fruit of the Spirit is love….” (Galatians 5:22)

We are to fulfill our duties, we are to be what Jesus calls us to be.  We are to follow His example.  Will we do that perfectly? No way, we will stumble and we will fall.  As we relate to our families there will be times when we are short, times when we lose our tempers, times when we demand to much from them, times when we don’t honor them or show them love.  We will fall short not only as we relate to our families but we will also fall short as the church of Jesus Christ.  There will be times when jealousy rears its very ugly head, times when we want our way, times when we become aggravated with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is during those times when we will need to go again to the cross.

We will need to go and humble ourselves before Him and cry out for His forgiveness. When we do that 1 John 1:9 gives us the blessing of “when we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  When we embrace that forgiveness then of course we need to put the Gospel into practice and forgive someone who has hurt us, or perhaps by even asking someone to forgive us. 

Jesus fulfilled His duty on the cross.  His duty as a friend, His duty as a son to His mother, and His duty as a son to His Father.  He fulfilled His duty and left us an example to follow, that we should do those things as well.  We won’t do them perfectly, only He did that, but because He did even when we fail we can be perfectly forgiven.  That is the power of the cross and of the Gospel.