If Jesus Can Do Nothing On His Own, What About Us?

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Jesus – “Nothing on my own.”

John 5.30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

One of my spiritual heroes, Frank Laubach, counted 46 times when Jesus said something like, “I can do nothing on my own,” in the Gospel of John. I have never been able to find that many references, but still Jesus made it very clear that he was completely dependent on the Heavenly Father for direction.

The main point of Jesus saying was to make it perfectly clear that he was on a mission. He was not acting on his own, but was completely doing the will of his Father in heaven.

Dr. Frank Laubach was one of the most influential Christians of the last century. He was friends with children learning how to read and presidents. He influenced Gandhi to allow literacy to come to India and provided a simple plan for teaching literacy. Laubach’s secret to success was to strive to do nothing on his own. He sought to be directed by God every moment of his life.

Jesus never beat a dead horse.

John 5.31-35“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. 33 You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”

Jesus often argued with religious authorities. One of my favorite teachers often reminded his audience that Jesus never beat a dead horse. Jesus believed that the religious leaders had potential. His arguments were intended to goad them to think more about his message of life.

Once again, Jesus made the point to the authorities that his right to be in control (authority) was not of his own initiative. He was on a mission from God, himself. He had every right to say and do the things he did.

Don’t talk about it, be about it.

John 5.36-38 But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.”

Jesus came from heaven to earth to explain God by making him known (John 1.18). When we see Jesus transform an outcast woman’s life (John 4) and give a completely new dimension of life to a paralytic (John 5), we are seeing exactly who God is.

Jesus used great energy to convince religious people that God could only be understood as they saw him and heard his teaching.

Your Turn

Thank you for joining me in this study. God has given us the Gospels to make clear to us who he is and what he is like. Please read John’s Gospel and look for ways that Jesus explains the mystery of God to people. I believe we all will be greatly enriched by reading in this manner.

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, may I not be so dense that Jesus has to argue with me to get his point across. May I be receptive to his direction for my life in every way. May I learn to follow his example of only doing what I see you do.


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