The idea of obeying someone, anyone, doesn’t sit kindly with us Westerners these days. Most of our countries have got rid of their Kings and Queens, or if like us in the UK we have kept them, the one thing they do not get to do is command us any more. Lots of controversy rages these days about things like mask or vaccine mandates. Essentially we do not like to be told what to do. And of course much of the time it is not appropriate for someone else to tell us what to do. We all have personal sovereignty. The Bible does seem to have a different view though, and we see this in Judges where it is not seen as a good thing that
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25, NLT)
And Jesus tells us that he expects his disciples not only to obey everything he has commanded, but to teach others to do the same.
Religious people love them. The rest of us hate them.
Yet Jesus commands are very different as I have seen when looking at them previously.
They are different in nature as they seem to be less concerned with outward conformity and more concerned with inward transformation.
They are different in the motivation for following them also. Tim Keller puts it so well when he says that the whole reason we obey Jesus is because we are already accepted by him due to his finished work:
Most religion in the world operates on the principle of ‘I obey—therefore I am accepted by God.’ The basic operating principle of the gospel is ‘I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ—therefore I obey.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) February 14, 2022
Think of it this way. If the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the entire universe loved me enough to leave aside his glory, live a humble life, die a gruesome death, and be raised bodily back to life, to then go and rule the cosmos and prepare our eternal homes, can he also be trusted to tell us how to live our lives? If he loves us that much, surely his commands are not burdensome but light? Surely he simply wants to help us not make more of a mess of our lives than we already have.
I am an expert at messing up my own life.
I want to try and spend the rest of my life obeying Jesus.
Who else is with me?