As I consider the account of Jesus on the cross, between the two thieves, I can’t help but think that Jesus missed an incredible opportunity by not witnessing to the other thief. You know, the one that was not repentant? Didn’t He have all the reasons to convert him, especially when he was about die?
A verse that I read many times before was brought to my attention changed my view of Jesus and my relationship with God entirely when I finally understood it:
John 14: 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.
Whoa, when I finally understood that Jesus did not say anything that He was not told to, that blew me away. Apparently, Jesus was not supposed to say anything to the other thief. Of course, He did talk to the popular thief, the one who pleaded in Luke 23 “42 … “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus hears his plea and assures him in the next verse: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
We cannot ask ourselves WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) because the decision we have to make is what is God telling us.
With the woman at the well, it was a different story. Jewish men did not even associate with Samaritan women, yet Jesus initiated that conversation: John 4:7 “Please give me a drink.”
What Jesus did was rely on the Father:
John 5: 19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
And verse 30
“I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.”
So we clearly cannot base our decisions solely on what Jesus did when He walked the earth, but what God is telling us to do or say today. Of course, there is much to learn and model from reading about our Master, but if we are to imitate Christ as Paul suggests in 1 Cor 11: And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. then we should seek and submit to the Father’s will as Christ did: Luke 5: 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Prayer and knowledge of God’s Word are keys to knowing the Father’s will. Consider the famous prayer in Gethsemane:
Matt. 26: 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
This show’s Jesus humanity and that He sought God during this time of crisis to seek God’s will and of course soon after this He allows Himself to be taken captive, clearly the will of the Father, but not what the disciples had in mind.
I’ll leave you with this verse:
John 15: 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
Are you remaining in Him?