John 5:19—“The Son can do nothing of Himself.” The moment Jesus heard the news about Lazarus, He looked up and asked His Father what He must do. The Father must have told Him, “Son, it is not the time. Wait.” And so Christ waited, demonstrating absolute submission to His Father’s will.
And again, in the last few minutes of Jesus’ life, before going to the cross, the disciples witnessed Christ kneeling and again talking to His Father, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42, emphasis mine). It was the Father’s will for the Son to drink the cup that He gave Him. Even though inside Jesus pleaded for it to be taken from Him, He yielded to the will of His Father. In life and in death, Christ showed how He submitted Himself to His Father’s will and authority, leaving this as an example for His disciples—and us—to follow.
Jesus was not only referring to submitting to spiritual authority either. He submitted to the governing authorities of His day as well, subject to the decisions of Herod and Pontius Pilate. If Christ, the One who rules the nations and sits at the right-hand throne of God, came to this earth and submitted to the leaders of His day, how much more should we?
How does Jesus’ example apply to our lives? Sometimes the leadership God places in our lives may be younger than we or perhaps less able or wise in our eyes. We must recognize that God is the One who placed those individuals over us. Romans 13:1–2 (NIV) says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” We cannot break God’s order.