Christ's Obedience to the Authority of God

by Don Landis
Featured in Answers Magazine

The supreme argument for the accuracy of Scripture is simply that God Himself tells us it can be trusted. Do you know why?

The Creator of the universe, who called the galaxies into being by the authority of His voice, illustrates by His own life the need to be under authority.

In our previous issue we saw that Scripture has authority because God has all authority and He spoke the Word. Now we will look at how Jesus Christ’s life exemplified, by His own obedience, our need to obey the authority of Scripture and God.

Jesus Lived a Life of Complete Obedience to His Father

Study & Discussion Questions

  1. Does the verse that Jesus “learned obedience” sound strange to you? Why?
  2. Can you think of anything Jesus taught or said that was in opposition to God?
  3. What event in Jesus’s childhood illustrates His desire to honor His Father?
  4. How does Christ’s complete obedience evidence His own deity and humanity?
  5. In John 9:1–6 Jesus said He healed a man to show what truth?
  6. Read and discuss John 4:31–34 in light of the question, “How important was it for Jesus to obey His Father?”
  7. What if Jesus had not been obedient? Read Galatians 1:3–5 to learn what His obedience made possible. (For this reason we should give thanks for Christ’s obedience.)
  8. How does the creation account motivate me to obey my Lord?

Visit to print copies of these study questions to use for your family devotions, small group, or Sunday school (in pdf format).

Jesus honors the authority of His Father through complete obedience. A very clear but seldom pondered truth of the New Testament is that Christ’s entire life and ministry were orchestrated by His Father and that Jesus was careful to carry out every detail according to the will of His Father. “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come . . . to do thy will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:7).

Even His coming to earth was an act of obedience to His Father. His life and ministry focused on the will of the Father. “That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do” (John 14:31).

All that Jesus did and said was exactly what His Father wanted Him to do and say. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak” (John 12:49).

All that Christ did in His life on earth was done according to the Scriptures. What God had spoken in the Old Testament was so authoritative Christ obeyed it completely. “Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled” (Matthew 21:4).

Ten or so times in the book of Matthew we see that Jesus lived exactly as the Scriptures predicted in order that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

For Christ Himself, the second person of the trinity, to live out in minute detail what God had said speaks volumes about the authority that Scripture is to have in our lives.

Christ’s Obedience Brings Benefits to Believers

It is strange to think of Christ, the perfect Son of God, having to learn anything. Yet the Bible clearly tells us that He learned obedience. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

We know He did not learn obedience because He was disobedient. Then why did this happen?

He learned obedience experientially so we would have an “older brother” (Jesus is called the “firstborn among many brethren”), a high priest who can fully be sympathetic and empathetic with our situation. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

When we come to Christ for help, we know that He will be sympathetic to our needs. “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Christ’s Complete Obedience Climaxed in His Death

Going to the cross showed obedience. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

Christ’s Obedience Brings Eternal Benefits

His prayer to the Father and the Father’s response clearly show that Christ’s own death was the only way to save lost men and women. He said, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42).

Christ’s Obedience Sets the Goal for Us

In the Disciples’ Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13), Jesus tells us to desire to do the Father’s will. “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, . . . thy will be done” (Matthew 6:9–10 %}). It is not enough just to recognize the authority of Scripture as the voice of God. God wants us to honor that authority by our own obedience. In fact, Jesus makes obedience to the Father a condition of our relationship with Him: “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50).

So my Lord Jesus Christ illustrates by His own life and walk the path I am to choose. My life is to be completely in line with the Word of God and thus the will of God.

If even the stars and elements that He created obey His voice, should not I obey Him as well?

Related Downloads

Biblical Authority Discussion Questions: Christ's Authority

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January – March 2008

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