Our Surrender and Empowerment

Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.’    (Jn. 5:19)

Given that Jesus was the freest person who ever lived, it may seem strange to hear Him say that He could “do nothing on his own.” Today’s scripture tells us that the freest person was also the most bound. What might this paradox say to us?

The Pharisees have been portraying Jesus as acting contrary to God’s ways. They believe He’s a blaspheming maverick who had no connection to God.

When Jesus says He can “do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing,” He’s making the astounding claim that He can actually see what the Father’s doing. When He says, “whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise,” He’s making an even more astounding claim—whatever the Father does, He does.

These words reveal the closeness that Jesus had with the Father, and they also suggest the closeness we’re called to have with Jesus. Just as Jesus sees and does what the Father is doing, aren’t we meant to see and do what He saw and did?

Just as Jesus gave up His independence to the Father, so we’re called to give up our independence to Him. Giving up our independence means that we aren’t free to act, do, and speak as we please. When we give up our independence, we’re saying that our lips, hands, mind, and life are His.

Because Jesus saw what the Father was doing, the Father must have been about healing, exorcizing, loving, and forgiving. Because we see what Jesus did, we’re called to do the same. His actions are our parameters. His words are our vocabulary. His motivations are our path.

It’s a paradox to say that the freest person who ever walked this earth was also the most bound. That same paradox extends to us.

Today I encourage us to see that the more we give away our independence to Jesus, the freer we’ll become. The more we act like Him, the more original we’ll live. The more we follow Him, the more we’re worth following. The more we surrender, the more we’re empowered.

Reflection Questions:

  1. How does what Jesus said and did impact or influence what you say and do?
  1. Jesus was both the freest person who ever lived and the most bound. As a follower of Jesus, in what ways do you feel free, and in what ways do you feel bound?
  1. If Jesus could say that He could do nothing on His own, how would your life change if you stopped trying to do things on your own?

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