We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” (Romans 15:1-3)
Christ Did Not Please Himself
In a world filled with selfish hearts seeking their own desires and wants the Son of God came to earth and selfishly gave of Himself to die for every soul that will ever live upon the face of the earth. There are no words to describe the incredible gift of God when Jesus left His place with the Father and came to dwell among the creatures He created to be killed by the ones He loved so much. God left eternity to be a man in the flesh. For thirty years Jesus lived as ordinary a life as any other man in the land of Israel. In less than three short years He turned the world upside down and the place of the skull called Golgotha would become the rallying cry for millions through the centuries giving their lives to serve and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Men were weak and crippled by sin with no hope of glory, destitute and ignorant. As enemies of God every man stood condemned to an eternal life of horror and darkness. Goodness could not save them, works would not justify them and all the sacrifices of every animal on the face of the earth could not heal them. God sent His Son into the world to redeem man to Himself and show His own goodness through Jesus Christ. Justification would come through the blood of the Son of God and one sacrifice would redeem those who would come to the cross. Everything Jesus came to do and everything the Son of God accomplished was not about Himself or His own needs. He was God and could have called twelve legions of angels to destroy the world but He did not. His power was unlimited as he calmed the seas, feed thousands, healed every disease in the world and exercised authority over the domain of Satan. Still, with such great power Jesus did nothing through selfish ambition or conceit. Christ did not please Himself.
King David had written a psalm crying out for help in time of trouble. He speaks of the desire for God to save him because he was in dire trouble. David knew the Lord would deliver him and sought blessings from the Father to save him from the mire and those who hated him. It is this psalm the apostle Paul refers to Jesus as the example of someone who was in dire trouble seeking the blessings of the Father to deliver His soul from death. The lesson from David’s psalm is that Jesus was willing to suffer reproach and contempt of men in order to save man from himself. God’s Son came to serve men giving His life a ransom. What Jesus did lead to the greatest good man would ever know and usher eternal life into the heart of all men. The act of dying on the cross was a selfless act of love unmatched in the history of man. There is no greater picture of love, no higher praise of sacrifice and no story told on the lips of men that will match the grace of God to bring fallen man back to Eden. The reproach of man fell on Christ and He bore the guilt of sin while He Himself was sinless. It was one thing to see that Jesus died such a horrible manner with crucifixion. The greatest picture of love is to see a sinless Christ allow sinful man to kill Him. Jesus did not please Himself. He sought the will of His Father.
Paul’s example of Christ living for others is a pattern for how the children of God seek to please one another. Selfishness and pride is one of the greatest dangers in the church of Christ and destroys many souls through the arrogance of self-willed men who impose their will upon others. The apostle of Christ exhorts the strong to bear with the failings of the weak because Jesus did that for all men. No man in the body of Christ should seek to do things to please himself. Elders shepherd the flock of God by humility pleasing the heavenly Father above their own wills. Preachers never lord over a congregation with an iron fist of superiority intolerant with weak brethren. Men who cause division in the church because of their lack of humility do not show the pattern of Christ who did not please Himself. The church belongs to Christ and He is the only head. God sent His only begotten Son to establish the church whereby men could serve the Father in humility toward one another. When men begin to take on the spirit of Diotrephes seeking the preeminence among brethren they exhibit the character of Satan; not Christ. The Lord came to serve man and give Himself a ransom for man. Everything Jesus did was not about His will but the will of the Father. Remember the church was purchased by the blood of Jesus and everything that is done should be done for the glory of God. The strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak because that is exactly what God did for me.