Just pause and think of what it meant for the Lord Jesus to obey for us, in our place. For thirty years he never once said or did anything wrong. More than that, at every single moment he positively said and did exactly the right thing, in the right way, to the right degree! More than that, his obedience didn’t just extend to his outward actions and words—his inner life was perfect in line with the law of God. In his thoughts, his feelings, his will, his desires, his reactions, his attitudes, motives and disposition—not once, not for so much as a millisecond, was there even an infinitesimal lapse.
Remember, too, that Jesus wasn’t living closeted away from the corrupting influence of sinful people. He was plunged into the middle of the world, surrounded by and in close contact with sinners. He experienced the weaknesses of a human nature that give temptation extra power. He knew what it was to be tired—weary to the point of exhaustion. (So weary, indeed, that he was able to sleep through a windstorm at sea when the boat he was in threatened to capsize!). How often we give in to temptation when we’re tired and our guard is down. Jesus never did.
Jesus knew what it was to be poor—to have barely enough to live on. The offering Mary and Joseph gave in the temple to redeem their firstborn son was the offering prescribed for the very poorest of the land. As an adult he had nowhere to call his own home; he owned nothing but the clothes he wore. And yet never once did he covet anything that belonged to his neighbour or envy anyone.
As a baby, Jesus never once cried in rage or frustration. Think of how young children find it hard to control their emotions and reactions, how they squabble with their siblings and refuse to do what their parents tell them. As a young child Jesus never once lashed out in anger with his fist or his tongue. As he grew older and encountered peer pressure among the other children in Nazareth, never once did he give in and follow the crowd in doing wrong. As a teenager and a young man, when Jesus went through puberty and all the normal, God-given hormones began to surge in his body and new temptations assailed his eyes, never once did he look at any girl or woman with anything but perfect purity. Never once did he show off his developing strength by picking a fight. Never once did he disrespect his mother or Joseph, even when they were in the wrong. When he baffles the professional theologians at Jerusalem at the age of twelve there isn’t even the slightest whiff of pride. When he is being falsely accused, sorely provoked and beaten to within an inch of his life, when he is being mocked and scorned while hanging in physical and spiritual agony on the cross, never once does he do or say or feel anything wrong. Instead he speaks and thinks and feels only grace and compassion and kindness.
Now, ask yourself, “Whose record of obedience do you want to trust in for salvation? Yours or Jesus’?” There is no contest, is there? To ask the question is to answer it. Think of your performance over the course of your life, from infancy to where you are now. Think over some of the things you’ve done that you shouldn’t have done. And think of the many things you should have done and haven’t. Things you should have said and felt and wanted. The great good news of the gospel is that you don’t have to depend on your performance—we have a Saviour who has done everything that needs to be done. He has fulfilled all the demands of the law of God in our place and on our behalf. He didn’t just die in our place—he lived in our place. Read the full article by Warren Peel.