Precedent: “any act, decision, or case that serves as a guide or justification for subsequent actions.”
As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles,’” (21:10-11).
In a sequence of events so very reminiscent of our Lord Jesus Christ, prophecy is uttered regarding all that awaits Paul should he continue in pursuing God’s call.
But knowing what was coming never stopped our Lord.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:53-53).
…saying, “Father if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done,” (Luke 22:42).
And knowing what the future held, did not stop Paul either.
When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” (21:12-14).
Consider Him, Our Precedent
I often wonder, if I found myself in Paul’s shoes, could I press on? Would I too be resolute and undeterred, unable to be persuaded?
But in actuality, Paul didn’t’ even walk in his own shoes; by faith he walked in Him, Who is Our Precedent, the exact standard to be followed, Who in all situations, decisions and cases served as both Paul’s guide and justification for every one of his subsequent actions.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20).
Our Precedent in Relinquishing His Own Will
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me,” (John 5:30).
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name,” (John 12:27-28).
Our Precedent in Pursuing God’s Revealed Will
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work,” (John 4:34).
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me, 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:38-40).
Our Precedent in Fulfilling God’s Preordained Will
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again,” (Luke 18:31-33).
How do we respond to Him, Our Precedent?
We have been called to live by faith.
for we walk by faith, not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Faith that He began His Work in us and He will carry it to completion.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 1:6).
Faith that He is the One working through us to relinquish, pursue and fulfill His will.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them, (Ephesians 2:8-10).
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:12-13).
Let us pray, we would so grow in our faith as to walk as Paul did; not in our own strength, but in Him, Our Precedent.
By faith, may we trust His faithfulness in our lives as we Relinquish Our Own Will to Him, Our Precedent, with all that we are.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
By faith, may we walk in Him, Our Precedent, as we Pursue His Revealed Will for our lives above all else.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
By faith, may we believe Him, Our Precedent, to fulfill His Preordained Will for our lives, today and for all eternity, all to the praise of His glory.
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved, (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Today, let’s close by meditating on some truths of Scripture regarding God’s Will established in Him, Our Precedent. And let us pray and commit to relinquish our own will that we would by faith pursue and fulfill His will each and every day.
Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21).
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, (Philippians 4:13).
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:19).
according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death, (Philippians 1:20).