A Perspective on Submission

So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered,“What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 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 to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:21-30 ESV)

I find it interesting here that when chronicling Jesus’ death, John uses a very interesting order of words: Jesus did not die and then slump over, he bowed his head and then released his spirit. Instead of just dying, Jesus bowed his head in submission. This final act of humility and selflessness shows that God is in complete control; none of this could have been done without his willingness. I love the fact that Jesus’ life ends with this. He does not fight, he does not resist. “He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” (Isaiah 42). Christ came softly, gently, with love and humility, even to the point of death on a cross. So after reading this, I wonder… what suffering am I submitting myself to in Christ’s name? If Jesus was willing to die on a cross for me, shouldn’t my life reflect that willingness? We will never have to endure the extent of his suffering, no. But there are things in our life that we are called to endure and trust God through even when it hurts. In these moments, are we bowing our heads or are we clinging to the desire for self-preservation? What in our lives is God calling us to patiently wait through? And how can we do that in a way that brings honor and glory to Him? Our lives are not ones of bliss, of comfort, of complacency, but rather of trials and pain and constant development. So, I ask you: how are you handling the trials that God is giving you? The hard decisions that he’s calling you to make? Are you bowing your head or shaking your fist? Let God control your life today. Submit to his desires for your life and you will surely see that what he wants for us is better than what we want for ourselves.

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