Frank Sinatra in his famous song ‘My Way’ sings “Regrets I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention”. I guess that’s true of us all, we have regrets at some time in our lives, something that perhaps we’ve done or said which we wish we could take back. I find that when I’m sitting alone, my mind can return to some of the things that have caused me to regret, small things and big things. It may be an unkind word or a joke at someone’s expense, something which I now regret. I’m sure it’s a common experience.
As far as I’m concerned there is only one person who has lived a life without regret, and that person is Jesus. When you read the Bible and look at the life of Jesus there is no evidence to suggest he had a cause to regret. As both God’s servant and Son, he was perfect.
There’s a verse in the book of Isaiah which says, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight.” (1) It’s what we call a prophetic word, of which there are many in the Bible. It’s a word written before Jesus was born but is about him. It tells us that when Jesus would come to earth it would be as a servant. Jesus himself said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (2) When you think about it, this is an amazing truth. Jesus, the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, chose to live among us as a servant. He didn’t enter our world as King, being born in a palace and having all the world’s riches at his disposal. He was born in a stable and lived in poverty. Instead of being waited on hand and foot by his servants, he said, “My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (3) That’s exactly what he did. He lived his life in perfect obedience and completed every task he was given to do, which included dying on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. It’s no wonder that in the Isaiah verse God sounds as if he is almost boasting. Look at my servant! God was so pleased with him. He’s “my chosen one in whom is all my delight”.
Jesus was also God’s perfect Son. God is an eternal being who has always been and will always be. He exists outside time and space and is not constrained by them as we are. Jesus voluntarily chose to submit himself to our constraints when he entered time and space. He limited himself to living as we do, contained within a body needing food and water, growing tired, needing sleep, ageing. He would experience pain and sorrow, he would cry, and he restricted himself to being in one place at one time.
Before he came to earth Father and Son were inseparable. Proverbs 8 says, “I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” (4) Although loving his ongoing existence working closely with his Father, Jesus loved mankind and their sorry state of being alienated from God and lost in their sin is what brought him to earth. He chose to leave that blissful experience for a time to save us.
The joy his Father found in Jesus continued when he came to earth. As a child, we’re told that he “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.” (5) When he was 30, and about to begin the work that took him to his death, Jesus was baptised in the River Jordan. As he came up from the water, “the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (6)
God was always pleased with Jesus because Jesus did everything that was required of him, including dying the most horrific death for our sakes. Jesus did not need regrets because he never did anything wrong. On the contrary, he did everything right.
- Isaiah 42:1
- Matthew 20:28
- John 4:34
- Proverbs 8:30,31
- Luke 2:52
- Matthew 3:16,17