Pastor Gale Watkins has been serving at Westminster Presbyterian Church for the past twenty-eight years. He also teaches part-time in the College of Theology at nearby Grand Canyon University. Pastor Watkins especially enjoys helping others, both in the church and in the college classroom, discovering the riches of God's grace in the Bible.
"We can benefit from the story of Bartimaeus. Consider those three moves he makes. He cries out to Jesus and approaches him. He receives help from Jesus. Then he follows Jesus down the road of life." (Extracted from one of Pastor Gale's sermon)
As the pastor's wife, Laurie Watkins is an active and integral part of Westminster Presbyterian Church. She is a talented singer who adds to the beauty of the Westminster choir. Her co-management of the coffee hour is appreciated every Sunday. She also participates in the World Vision marathon as a one-half marathon walker. Here is what Laurie says about walking for World Vision: "This is what motivates me. I am thinking of children as I walk. I'm also thinking of their mothers. In one of the videos, a mother who now has clean water says, 'You have lifted a burden from me. All I could do was carry water every day.' Children now can go to school."
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Meeting ID: 556 253 1951
December 3, 3023 (First Sunday of Advent)
John 6:35-40 (New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition)
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away, 38 for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.”
Why did Jesus come? Today we hear Jesus saying, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). Earlier in the Gospel of John is a very similar statement that Jesus made: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work” (John 4:34).
I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. The first thing I notice is that Jesus has come down from heaven. This is a striking claim. He says that he is not originally from here. He has come from elsewhere, from heaven, God’s own realm. As the prologue of John’s gospel says, The Word became flesh and lived among us (1:14). This is the very heart of what we Christians celebrate at Christmas. We call it the Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh.
Jesus tells us not only that he has come from another realm, but that he has been sent. He speaks frequently of God the Father as him who sent me. When you’re sent out by someone else, you’re usually being asked to do something. It may be as simple as being sent to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread. You’ve been sent. You’re sent out for a reason. You have something to do. Jesus, the Son, has been sent by the Father. He is on a mission. He has a task to accomplish.
He goes on to tell us what this task is. His task is to do the will of the Father. This is a staggering statement that Jesus is making. The eternal Son of God comes to this earth. In becoming a human being, he does not cease to be God. Yet he willingly subjects himself in total obedience to the Father’s will. Jesus told his disciples, my food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. To Jesus, the Father’s will is not peripheral. It is not an option that he may or may not select, depending on his mood. Rather, it is his food, which means that doing the Father’s will is the very central fact of his life.
Thus, Jesus’ words tell us that he is on a mission. There is a sense of purpose about him. His priority is doing the Father’s will. As you look around today, you will notice that a large number of people do not have a sense of purpose in life. We’re busy doing things, maybe even worthwhile things, but we would be hard-pressed to explain what they’re for. It’s common for people to have no sense of purpose in life. It’s striking that, in Jesus’ case, he had a strong sense of mission, a clear awareness of being sent.
His priority is the Father’s will. Jesus has a very clear understanding of what God’s will for him is, which he spells out. The Father’s will for him is that he would lose nothing of all that the Father has given him. The Father has given him people, and the Father’s will is that they not be lost, but have life. The Father’s will for Jesus is that he would hold on to these people, give them life, and then raise them up on the last day.
This life that Jesus imparts is both present and future. Eternal life begins now, and it continues into the future. The will of God which is Jesus’ food, then, is to impart life to those people whom the Father has entrusted to him. The Father’s will is for Jesus to hold on to them. He will not drive them away. Rather, he will hold them with a strong grip. We are held firmly by the Lord Jesus Christ. He will not lose track of us. What good news this is!
Today, we ask the question, Why did Jesus come? And the answer he gives is that he came to do the Father’s will. The Father’s will for him was that he would grant life, eternal life, to people. That gift is imparted to those who come to Jesus in faith.
Jesus’ clear statement that he came down from heaven to do the Father’s will is a great comfort. It means that for us he was willing to lay down his life. We think of his prayer to the Father shortly before his arrest: Not my will but yours. We think of his suffering and death. We benefit from his resolve to do the Father’s will. God’s will, which Jesus accomplished, is that we receive eternal life. We’re grateful that Jesus came to do the Father’s will, for we benefit from his obedience.
Our response, then, is to come to Jesus and to believe in him. Throughout our lives, we keep coming to him, since he is the bread of life. Jesus Christ himself imparts true life to us. We keep coming to him, and we continually receive from him what we need in order to live, truly live.
So Jesus’ saying that he has come to do the Father’s will is a great comfort for us. But this same statement is also a tremendous challenge. We are followers of Jesus Christ, we are his disciples. Jesus says that disciples are not above their master. Thus, our great task, our “food,” is also to do the Father’s will. It’s true that Jesus is the unique Son of God. He alone is the Savior. There is only one Jesus Christ. But we’re called to live in this world as he lived. Thus, for all of us who are his followers, doing God’s will is our first priority. As the disciples of One who came to do the Father’s will, we will be like him in seeking to do the will of God.
Jesus Christ came down from heaven to do the will of the Father. And he has accomplished the Father’s will, which is to impart life to us. Hear the good news! Now that we have received the gift of life, eternal life, we too can freely and gladly do the will of God.