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16 - Eternal Life

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?

There is much to be said for the value of hands-on mentorship. As the student carefully observes, the teacher is able to carefully guide them through their own experience. Although it is possible to learn a craft on one’s own, it will involve much more in the way of making mistakes than will be experienced by the one who looks to their mentor for wisdom. The mentor knows the potential pitfalls of their craft because they themselves made the mistakes. They know what it is that works and what will cause headaches. We look to mentors because they have demonstrated by their beautiful, finished works that they have experience worth gaining.

I have always been the type to learn best through watching another demonstrate. I watched my parents like a hawk growing up. When I knew I was going into ministry, I carefully observed my pastor and considered what worked best in his preaching and in his practices. In seminary, I paid close attention to my professor and mentor, who served as dean of one of the schools in the seminary. To this day I notice elements of each of these key figures along the way will often make their way into my own practices. If anyone knew my mentors, they would see clear callbacks to their wisdom and expertise in what I do.

Christ’s work is an imitation of the work of the Father. Colossians 1 calls Christ “the image of the invisible God” (1:15). We are likewise called those who are “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). There is something of a chain formed here – believers in Christ are made into the image of the Son just as the Son is the image of the Father. Just as the Son is not the Father, so we are not the Son. But the Son is certainly like the Father, and we similarly become like the Son. Just as the Son watches the Father and does the same things He does, so we watch the Son and do what He does in order to be conformed to His image.

Christ makes it clear that the work He does is not of His own accord but is according to the will of the Father. The Son chooses to place His own will in subjection to that of the Father in the interest of obedience. Our primary issue, it would seem, is our refusal to say, “Thy will be done” and our insistence, “My will be done.”

Growth in Christlikeness is an exercise in humility. It is a stubborn refusal to allow pride and ego to cloud our judgment, instead choosing to submit in all things to our heavenly Father. Those who submit themselves to God are the recipients of the glory He gives to His people. We cannot truly be called Christians – those who are remade in the image of the Son – if we do not humbly submit ourselves to the Father, for in exhibiting this obedience we find conformity to the person of Christ. To be Christian is to be humble before our God and Father – and those who are humble are those He exalts.

Your will is perfect, O God, for You are good and kind toward us in all things. I recognize that my own will and desires often conflict with the good, pleasing, and perfect will which You display. What I think is best for myself may not be beneficial at all. In all things, let me trust You. Let me trust Your plans and purposes. Let me look to You in everything that I might model obedience and Christlikeness to those I encounter. Mold my heart and make me more like the Son every day. I know that to be like Him is to be like You, Father. Thank You for sending us the exact representation of Your being, the radiance of Your glory, that we might no longer walk in ignorant blindness but instead follow the Light of the World. Illumine my heart with the wisdom which comes from above that I may share in the mind of Christ and that my will would be conformed to Your own.


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