Romans 5:12–21, Philippians 2:5–11, Hebrews 5:1–10 (read online ⧉)

Obedience is hard. God knows that it is hard for us. That doesn’t excuse us from it, however.

It seems perfectly reasonable to draw from the Scriptures that part of Jesus’ unspoken mission was to show obedience and that obedience is possible. There were points in Jesus’ earthly ministry that he could have not obeyed and had a completely different result. Obedience was hard. Jesus did it anyway.

It is amazing (and depressing) that the first disobedience led to a very long line of disobedience. Paul points out that Adam was the first man, and through Adam death came. This is, for the record, more of a story, as it does exclude Eve’s contribution. Paul was trying to tie all the prophets together, even Moses, into a big line of sin and death. This chain of sin and death was a result of disobedience. The Jewish perspective by this point was not an overwhelmingly positive one. Sin and death were very much a part of their concepts. To some degree, First Century Jews had an almost dystopian view of the world (as do many people today). Finding the positive was hard.

Paul states that while the sin that brought sin and death to the world may be overwhelming, the grace and mercy wrought through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was greater still. So much greater was this gift that it didn’t stop merely with canceling sin and death, it brought abundant life.

This gift of grace and mercy is given through obedience. It is not an obedience of fear. It is an obedience of gratitude for the sacrifice made that we couldn’t make and acceptance of it.

1) As a child, what was the hardest rule of your parents to obey? Why?

2) Why is it important to understand that sin and death are chains? Whose chains are they?

3) What is your understanding of Jesus’ obedience? What does that mean right now for your life?

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.