I have noticed a common trend in people who have started their own business or way of life. One of the main motivations for them to begin was the ability to be their own boss. They can work at their own pace in their own way. They in a sense can excuse themselves from submitting to an authority above them. I am not accusing those who have done this of being sinful or doing the wrong thing. I am simply noting a human behavior that is core to us: we don’t always like to submit and sometimes our motivation to climb up in reputation or status is to excuse ourselves from the act of submission.
In light of this, I want to focus on something we see from Jesus in John chapter five. Jesus’ combination of position and attitude are profound and completely backwards to our way of operating. Who is Jesus? He is the one and only begotten son of God. He is the only man ever to live who never sinned in his life—he was quite literally perfect. He is the only man so far to have ever seen the full face of God. He is the only man who sits at the right hand of God. He is the man who is the dividing line between those who are in the kingdom of God and those who are not. So in light of this inconceivably high status and position, did he ever think he could excuse himself from submission to God? Well, let’s take a look at what he says in verse 19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
Here is the only man in existence who had every right to “excuse himself from submission” and do things his own way in our eyes. Yet, no one has ever submitted as completely and humbly as Jesus did. In fact, the only way he ever received that level of honor and power was through his act of submitting to Yahweh, God of the universe. Only through becoming lowly can you be raised on high!
Jesus is our Lord; what he does we must do. So, if he believes that he must submit himself completely to his Father and do only what he sees God doing, then we must submit ourselves completely to God too. Also, this act of submitting to God’s will in our life and dying to our own is not for God’s service at our expense. He is infinite, He has everything, there is nothing He could possibly gain from your service. So, what’s the point? Why submit and serve a God who doesn’t need serving? In all honesty, it is in your best interest. Submission to God is all about God but it is all for you. When a good and loving father tells his child to obey him, is it because he will benefit at the child’s expense, or is it because it’s in the best interest of the child? (I’ll give you a hint. It is in the best interest of the child.)
I encourage you to follow the example of our Lord Jesus today. He felt that he should submit himself completely to God, and we should too. Only through submission can we enter into God’s kingdom.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Read John 5 looking for everything you can find out about Jesus. Who does he say he is? What does he do? What is his relationship with God and with men?
- What is the danger in studying Scriptures but not accepting Jesus for who he says he is?
- Jesus said he did not seek his own will, but the will of the one who sent him (vs.30). How will you follow his example and lay aside your own will to do the will of your Heavenly Father?
- Choose a verse from John 5 to write out and post on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. What does this verse mean to you?