When parents and grandparents coo over a newborn member of their family, they often share hopes and plans for what this little girl will accomplish or who this little boy might become. It would be quite remarkable, however, if young children were to declare their own intentions and purposes in life. Yet this is one more way in which Christ is unique: He did enter the world declaring, “I have come to do your will, O God.”
When Jesus was twelve, His parents found Him conversing in the temple with the religious leaders and teachers. Mary and Joseph had been looking for Him for three days without thinking to look there, and were baffled; but He replied, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). He understood His express purpose from His earliest days.
What was the will of the Father that Christ came to accomplish? The Bible tells us that in sending Jesus, God gave His people the one who would satisfy all the law’s demands through full submission and who would then suffer the penalty of sin to set men and women free from its bondage. The coming of the Savior had been planned from all of eternity and promised through all of the Old Testament, the “scroll of the book.” Jesus—who entered the world as a baby in a manger—is the very fulfillment of our salvation.
Every moment of His life, whether He was being tempted by Satan or experiencing agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew and remembered His purpose. He understood that He was there according to the Father’s will. Though He pleaded for His cup of suffering to pass, He submitted to the Father in perfect obedience. As any human would have been, He was tempted to shrink from the Father’s will, yet still He prayed, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39-46).
Jesus was not vague concerning the reason for His arrival—and because He lived according to the Father’s will, we will join Him in eternity, rejoicing in all He accomplished on our behalf.
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Today, you and I can live to do God’s will, not in fear of punishment if we do not obey but with faith that we are already blessed in Christ. Because He always obeyed, we are forgiven for our failures to do likewise and freed joyfully to pursue our Father’s will—not because we must but because we desire to.