Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Obedience of Christ

"The obedience of Jesus Christ to the Father is carried out above all through obedience to the written word.  When Jesus was tempted in the desert, his obedience consisted in recalling the word of God and keeping to it.  'It is written!'  God's words, under the present action of the holy Spirit, become vehicles of the living will of God and reveal their 'binding' nature as orders from God.  Herein lies the obedience of the new Adam in the desert.  After the last 'It is written' said by Jesus, Luke goes on to tell us that the 'devil left him' (Lk 4:12) and that Jesus returned to Galilee 'filled with the Holy Spirit' (Lk 4:14).  The Holy Spirit is given to those who 'obey God' (Ac 5:32).  St James says: 'Give in to God, resist the devil, and he will run away from you' (Js 4:7).  That is what happened when Jesus was tempted.  Jesus bases his obedience, in a particular way, on the words written about him and for him 'in the law, in the prophets and in the psalms,' which he, as man, gradually discovers as he advances in understanding and fulfilling his mission.  The perfect concord that exists between the prophecies of the Old Testament and the acts of Jesus, as seen in the New Testament, cannot be explained by saying that the prophecies depend on the acts (that is, that the prophecies were later applied to the acts already carried out by Jesus) but by saying that the acts depend on the prophecies: Jesus 'fulfilled' in perfect obedience what was written of him by the Father.  When his disciples want to oppose his capture, Jesus says: 'But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be? (Mt 26:54).  The life of Jesus seems to be guided by an invisible luminous treail formed of the words written for him; it is from the Scriptures that he takes the 'must be' (dei) which governs hi whole life."
from Obedience: The Authority of the Word by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

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