March 26, 2009



By Phil Schmidt, a senior Bible and religion major from Berne, Ind.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 5:5-10 (NRSV) Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL: Today’s text offers us a picture of Christ’s submission to God that leads to eternal salvation for all who believe and obey. In this text, Jesus lives into God’s reality and does not give up when worldly oppression bears in from every side. Instead of giving in, Jesus prays harder.

In my Narrative Theology class the question has come up: Did Jesus come to live or to die? John Howard Yoder, a prominent Mennonite theologian, affirmed that Jesus came to live a righteous life completely in submission to God, completely in-step with God’s plan. This was Christ’s purpose: to show people how to be the flesh and blood of God in the world, through service. This radical righteous living eventually sent Jesus to the cross, because it came in stark contrast to the violence of the world.

So, what is our calling and purpose this Lenten season? To live into God’s reality of love, peace, compassion and service. To care especially for the poor, oppressed and marginalized. To live lives of submission to God — because when we submit to God, we express our true need for God — and God always hears the cry of those in need.

I want to end with a blessing I heard at church recently:

As you go, become a window to the fierce light of God’s love.
Befriend a poor man; show no deference to the wealthy.
Protect a woman without hope; doubt the intentions of the powerful.
Give your food to the pantry, your hope to the despairing, your time to The Window (a social service agency in Goshen), your love to an enemy, your blood to the Red Cross.
Wherever you may be this week, become the window to God’s love.


SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 5:5-10(NRSV)

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’;
as he says also in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.



Comments (11)

  1. I am amazed and inspired by the depth of thinking of you college students. Thanks for your thoughts today.

    Mary K. Mishler March 26, 2009 |
  2. This was wonderful. Thank you and may the Lord continue to bless you.

    Eleanor March 26, 2009 |
  3. I liked the blessing that you shared! May we all be windows of God’s love. What a great concept! Thanks Phil.

    LRH March 26, 2009 |
  4. Amen and amen! It is through service that we express Christ’s love!

    Linda March 26, 2009 |
  5. Your comments were one of the more wonderfully articulated explanations of the meaning of “submission to God” that I have heard. You turn the focus less on the one submitting toward the one (the other) who is in need of such sacrificial love. In the process, we all become better individuals and the world becomes a better place. Thank you.

    Jim Brenneman, President, Goshen College March 26, 2009 |
  6. Thank you for your meditation, especially the blessing. I printed a copy for further contemplation.

    Ruth March 26, 2009 |
  7. Thanks for these helpful insights, Phil. You did a great job with this writing. Blessings, Aunt Cynthia

    Cynthia Neufeld Smith March 26, 2009 |
  8. What an interesting question! I’m going to take it and Mr. Yoder’s response to my “small group”.

    Carol Head March 26, 2009 |
  9. Excellent question, to live or to die. Might it also be framed that for Christ these are not separates and that even death as we know it was life for Christ?

    Stuart Buisch March 26, 2009 |
  10. I really appreciate the focus on Christ coming to LIVE – and that his “radical righteous living eventually sent Jesus to the cross.” Even in the face of death, Christ did not give up on his radical and righteous allegiance to God. Yes, Stuart, even death as we know it was life for Christ – and perhaps life for us all if we choose to follow Christ’s example of radical living.

    Thushan Hemachandra March 26, 2009 |
  11. Thank you so much for these thoughts, which are very true. We need to learn to live and daily practice living the life of Christ in the world. That is the world’s “window” to Jesus. However, it is necessary to remember that Jesus came not to show us just how to live, or so we would live rightly. He came to die. He said this Himself, more than once. He came to die for sinners, the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. Had he not died and risen from the dead, man would be without hope. It is His death, burial, and resurrection which brought salvation and hope to a dead and dying world.

    Lorraine March 26, 2009 |