In the final portion of what is now known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21-27), Jesus says something that I didn’t expect him to say. I have read and heard this passage many times, but I’ve never heard a preacher or a commentator fully address my disquietude on the subject.
I will not be afraid of my will
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, New International Version)
The last sentence is the one that gets me. I expected Jesus to say “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘You didn’t do the will of my Father. Away from me, you evildoers!'” But instead he says “I never knew you,” as if that was the most terrible indictment he could bring against a human being.
Perhaps when the audience heard the phrase “does the will of my Father,” they imagined the miraculous demonstrations Jesus mentioned in the following sentence. Perhaps Jesus felt a need to disabuse his audience of those imaginings. I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar. I don’t believe you need to be a Bible scholar to see that one of the points of this passage is that Jesus teaches it is the will of his Father to be known by Jesus.
“Your will is to know God. Do not be afraid of your will. You are created by God. God’s will is to know you. Your will is to know God. There is no other will. All motivations other than this are born merely of confusion and fear. To know God gives God power and gives you power as well.”
I cry out with the psalmist David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23, New International Version). I cry out with Jesus “Not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36, New International Version). I cry out “I will to will your will, O God.” I will not be afraid of my will.
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