“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30).

While Jesus’ words here are probably meant to make several theological points clear to the Jews about his identity, they are embedded with a deeply practical lesson as well. Jesus is emphasizing just how intertwined his role and the Father’s are, and how their wills are united. The point he’s making is not meant to allow his hearers to entertain the idea that he could have a different desire than the Father (“I seek not my own will”–as if Jesus’ will could somehow be different!), but to demonstrate just how deeply he loves his Father. Jesus has such reverence for Him, that he wishes to do nothing apart from Him.

Here’s the practical part; be reminded of Ephesians 5:1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Jesus’ work on the cross was another instance of Jesus embracing the Father’s will to free us from sin, because he loves us, just as the Father does. Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father so we could be saved and have life eternal and abundant; their wills regarding our freedom from death and sin were one and the same.

Now, what does the beginning of Ephesians 5 say again? “Be imitators of God… and walk in love, as Christ loved us… a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

In other words, one of the many ways we can imitate Christ, if we love him, is to “seek not [our] own will.” Now, unlike for Jesus, this is actually quite difficult for us. We love to make the world revolve around us, rather than realizing everything does and should revolve around our Creator and Savior. However, not only will listening to Him direct us appropriately in all we do so our “judgment is just,” it will also allow us to walk in love, because that is the heart of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What’s incredible is that by imitating Jesus by dying to ourselves and offering ourselves up to God as a living sacrifice, we can unite with Him and his Spirit in doing the supernatural: bringing dead things back to life.

Ashley Carr

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