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ATP Blog 27


John 5:19-21

We all work hard to teach our children to be more independent, so that when they move out into the world, they can survive, even thrive. My daughter is already at the point where she wants to hold her bottle by herself! Our world pushes hard, not only for personal independence, but to be free from any attachments or commitments. When I read the Bible, it does encourage some independence (like putting on your own clothes, and feeding yourself), but for the rest, pushes a completely opposite ideal.

Refusing Independence When Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders for breaking their interpretation of the Sabbath, He answered them by saying, ‘The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’ (v19) Partly, this was a claim to be equal with God (from verse 17); it was also partly a claim to be un-independent! I am sure their culture was also fond of independence. Jesus spent a lot of time praying. Why would He do that if He is divine? The Christ lived His life as an example for us to follow, thus Paul teaches (Philippians 2:5-7 ) that we must “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Now, emptying Himself does not mean that He no longer was God, but rather that He acted fully as a man, not accessing His divine power in the normal way, but as we would, through the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was demonstrating what we are to do: doing only what God wants us to do by relying on the direction of the Holy Spirit through prayer, and the study of God’s Word.

Embracing Dependence What is the reason, other than being an example for us, that Jesus would embrace dependence on God? In verse twenty He tells us, ‘For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.’ Elsewhere, scripture is clear that God the Father loves us too, and shows us what He is doing around us, in us, and through us. Later in the gospel of John (14:12), Jesus tells His followers that, ‘he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.’ So, see how following Jesus’ example means embracing dependence on God, resulting in great works that bring glory to God, and draw people to Him. All of this is because of God’s great LOVE for you!! In His great love for you, God shows you what He is doing, then invites you to be a part of what He is doing. Any works that you do apart from this, especially done for personal glory, are counted as nothing … rubbish.

Life-Giving Dependence God’s love brings life. We know this from John 3:16, that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was God’s gift of love, bringing true life to us, which was formerly unattainable in our independence. Apart from Him, there is no life. Jesus continues (v21), ‘For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.’ It is the privilege of both the Son and the Father to give life to those They choose. If you have life in His name, then praise God, thanking Him for this wonderful gift; it only comes when we reject our independence, and embrace the life-giving dependence on Him.

So, what are you going to do with this fact? I dare you to go against the trend of the world, and embrace dependence on God. It is totally worth it.

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