“From this we conclude that he had no regard for himself; as he clearly affirms, ‘For their sake I sanctify myself’. For he who gave away the fruit of his holiness to others testifies that he acquired nothing for himself. And this is indeed worth noting: to devote himself completely to saving us, Christ in a way forgot himself.” – John Calvin
I wake up thinking about myself, my comfort, my problems, and my needs. Even when my thoughts are turned to others I somehow make it about me not them. I try to be a good husband, a good father, and a good pastor, but the moment my wife complains to me, or my children disobey me, or my parishioners criticize me my heart sinks and I turn inward. Deep down I have a sneaking suspicion that I matter more than them. In fact, the greatest thing that gets in the way of my own devotion to God is this attitude rooted in the corruption of my soul (which the Bible calls my sinful nature) that convinces me that I matter more even than God.
Jesus forgot himself completely. He had nothing to gain from his life in this world but the unbearable anguish of his body and soul on the cross. The source of all life forgot his life. The righteous one forgot his merit and innocence.
Jesus forgot himself, but he did not forget his Father who sent him. There on the cross, Jesus brought glory to his Father, accomplishing the work he had been given. His Father would forsake him on the cross, yet this did not diminish his love for his Father or his commitment to fulfilling his Father’s will; it added fuel to his fiery determination to bring his Father glory.
Jesus forgot himself, but he did not forget the people he was sent to save. There on the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. His own people would abandon him, yet this did not diminish his love for them or his commitment to redeem them from their sins with his own life; it added fuel to his fiery determination to save his people.
Now that I have seen him crucified and risen for my salvation I can forget myself and love God and neighbor knowing that I will never be forgotten. For even when I forget him he will not forget me.
[Originally appeared in my previous blog, Farewell to Shadow-Lands]