The Vow of Christ
Article by Jared C. Wilson
“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” — Ruth 1:16-17
Even in the face of our sin, Jesus doesn’t blink. Nothing surprises him. Nothing fazes him. Not even the prospect of being loved back imperfectly or infrequently will send him packing. Our well-meaning friends may decide the prospect of our pain and junk spilling into their lives isn’t worth it. They see our habits and our baggage and our self-interested patterns and they wish us well, but sadly, like Orpah, choose another path. But not our friend Jesus! He sets his face toward the cross, scorning its shame, and makes his covenant with us to the bitter end.
Jesus, like Ruth, makes his commitment to the ones he loves for better or worse. But unlike Ruth, he knows just how bad the “worse” is going to be. Still he stays.
Ruth stays too, and things do not look great for her in the immediate wake of her commitment. She and her bitter mother-in-law make the journey to Bethlehem. It is hard to see the wisdom in Ruth’s decision. They are poor. They are widows. She is a Moabite. Her mother-in-law is really kind of a downer. I wonder if Ruth ever had second thoughts.
But she went. Why? Because her vow had been made. It had been made out of love for God and love for Naomi. Ruth was willing to venture into the unknown because her love was greater than her fear.
I think of Jesus in that garden mere minutes before his betrayal and arrest, mere hours before his torture and crucifixion. The agony of the cross is already gripping his flesh. In his prayers, he is sweating blood. In the near distance, his friends nap. He is doing this for them?
Yes, and for us. Jesus even prayed for you in that garden. Did you know that? John 17:20says he prayed for all who will believe because of the apostles’ message in the future. “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (verse 23).
Christ’s vow has been made. It has been made out of love for the Father and love for you. Jesus was willing to venture even to death on a cross because his love was greater than his fear. And because his love is greater than your sin.
Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church.