Text: John 5:30, 41-44
30 “I can do nothing on my own.”
Father, we want to learn today about surrender and there’s no better place to look than the person of Jesus. He was perfectly surrendered to the Father’s will. And this is the One we’re following. This is the One who we are imitating. This is the One whom we’re becoming like.
So Lord Jesus, we ask You to meet us during this time. Holy Spirit, help us to understand these words of Jesus. Bring them to remembrance, all the critical ones that we need to know. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
The one point for today is Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father, and you, too, must surrender to Jesus and do the will of the Father.
Because Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father, we must surrender to Jesus and do the will of the Father. You’ve heard the word “surrender” throughout your Christian journey. And certainly at the beginning of your journey, surrender was something that came up. I’m sure when you were writing your salvation testimony that you began your life surrendering everything to Jesus and you committed your life that you would follow Jesus. If you’ve been a Christian for a while you realize how difficult surrender is.
It is difficult to surrender your job. It is difficult to surrender your family. It is difficult to surrender your money. But if you’ve been a Christian for a certain amount of time, I think you can get past this and say Yes, Lord. My future is in Your hands. My job is in Your hands. My money is in Your hands. My family is in Your hands. If you’ve been walking with the Lord, hopefully we can get to that point of surrender, but there’s so much more to surrender.
The Lord is showing me almost on a daily basis that there is so much more to surrender. It is hard to surrender a job, a career, your family, your money. But do you know what is much harder? Surrendering yourself.
That includes surrendering your will. That is much harder than surrendering your job. Surrendering your will, surrendering your goals, what you are currently and what you want to be, what you want to be remembered for, whatever legacy you want to leave behind, to surrender those goals – that is much harder. To surrender your desires is much harder than letting go of your money. Surrendering your preferences, your emotions, your timing. These are much harder because this is yourself.
Today, I want to talk about surrendering your very self. Because if you do not surrender yourself to Jesus, you will never do the will of the Father. John 5:30 is a summary statement for the way Jesus did life. Jesus says, I can do nothing on my own.
How come Jesus was such an obedient Son? How come when He taught, His teaching equaled the Father’s teaching? Because they are one. How come He only worked when He saw the Father working and when the Father permitted Him to rest, He rested? How was He such an obedient Son?
Because Jesus surrendered His very self and He said, I can do nothing on my own. That is a picture of total surrender. That means when Father told Him to do something, there’s no debate. There’s no complaining. There’s no self-will coming out. Jesus says, my will, Father, is Your will.
Your teaching is My teaching. Your work is My work. I can do nothing on my own. And as Christians we must do the Father’s will as well. How do we do it? We surrender to Jesus.
And Jesus leads us and if we follow Jesus, we are doing the Father’s will. It’s guaranteed if you follow the Shepherd’s voice, you are doing the Father’s will.
Let’s go to Matthew 7 and clarify the Father’s will.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
And who enters the Kingdom of Heaven? The one who does the will of the Father who is in heaven. So for us to be a Christian you have to do the will of the Father. When you read these verses, it’s confusing because I thought casting out demons was under the umbrella of the Father’s will – that’s ministry. And prophesying in Jesus name, that’s ministry. Isn’t that part of the Father’s will? Doing mighty works in Jesus name, come on that has to be the Father’s will?
And for some it may be that the Father has called them to cast out demons, to prophesy, to do mighty works and to testify to the ends of the earth. That could be the will for some people. But what we can see is that for others, it was not the Father’s will.
That means we cannot just pick whatever verse we like in the Bible and whatever ministry that seems like a good fit for us and just do it every day, week after week, year after year. And at the end of your life, you will say, I’ve done the Father’s will. And to some, Jesus will say, yes, you’ve done the Father’s will. The Father told me and I told you and you did exactly what you were assigned. Enter into heaven.
And other people, Father never told Jesus and so Jesus never told them. They were just imitating what they perceived to be a high-level generic will of God that I should cast out demons. I should prophesy. I should do mighty works. I should be on missions. I should be a pastor. I should be a ministry leader. I should lead my small group.
And the question is, did the Father ever tell them to do it, or are they just following what other people are doing? Are they just picking a verse that they like and saying, okay, this is what the Father must want me to do. And I want to ask everybody, did Jesus ever tell you to do it?
Everything that you’ve done up until now in your life, how much of it was because Jesus told you to do it? That goes to your job, that goes to how you use your money. that goes to the ministry that you’re involved with, that goes to the church that you attend. How much of it was because Jesus told you?
We will be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven because we’ve done the Father’s will and the key is you have to know Jesus. He will tell you what the Father’s will for you is and it is a tailor-made will. It is not cookie cutter. Don’t do ministry because I told you to do a certain ministry. Don’t do a ministry because a church down the street is doing that kind of a ministry.
Do the ministry because Jesus told you to do it and He told you that it’s time and here is your assignment.
It is so critical that if we’re ever going to get to a point where we can do the Father’s will, that means we must surrender. Otherwise, we will never get to understand the will of the Father for you and me. It is tailor-made. It is very specific and so much harder to surrender yourself. Your will, your emotions, your desires, your preferences, your timing, your goals. That is the core of what drives you.
And what makes it really hard to surrender? It is our desire to be praised. There’s no debate about that. Jesus highlights one area and that is the sticking point. It is the reason why we never really surrender. It’s because we want to be praised.
And praise doesn’t just mean you want your name in lights and you want everyone to know your name, or that you want everybody to say how great you are and you want everyone to respect you. You know, praise of man also means you just want to be accepted. You don’t want to stick out. You want to go with the flow. You want to fit in – that is also praise of man.
For churches, you just want to do church the way other big churches do church. You just want to fit in. You just want to follow the program. That is also praise of man. Another manifestation of praise of man is fear of rejection. You don’t want someone to label you a weirdo. You want everyone to think you’re great. And you want everyone to accept. You fear being ostracized from the group. You fear being on your own. Look at Jesus. He is on His own but He’s not alone. He’s with the Father and He says that this is all that matters to Him. I came to do nothing on my own. I came to do the will of the Father.
If you remember the way Jesus did life, He was not popular. He was not accepted. He was not afraid of being rejected. In fact, He was rejected. Who was he rejected by? He was rejected by the world. The world did not know Him. The world hated Him. Not only the world, His own people and the religious system utterly rejected Him and hated Him and crucified Him.
So this issue of wanting to be praised, wanting to be accepted, fearing rejection – this is the sticking point of why we find it so hard to surrender. And the younger you are the harder it is to reject the praise of man and say I’m not interested. I think as you get older – 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, a hundred, you’ll realize at that point that it really doesn’t matter. It really didn’t matter how many people thought I was great. It really doesn’t matter to be accepted by the masses. It really comes down to a handful of people who will be by my side to the end.
The rejection of people won’t matter at the end of your life. You will realize this praise of man was such a deception. And yet in your 20s, 30s and 40s, it is such a real temptation to live for the praise, to live for acceptance, and to fear the rejection, and so you make decisions so that you’re never rejected.
41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Jesus just summarizes it here that He did not come to be glorified by men. If He came to be glorified by men, He would do church the way that people today do church. He would preach to a crowd, collecting offering from the crowd. He would establish a building in the middle of the wilderness and say, this is the church. Why don’t you come back next week? Bring your friends.
He could have been the biggest megachurch pastor of all time if He wanted to. He doesn’t actually even need money. He could just multiply food and fish and sell it and do a business. He could be a multi-trillionaire because limitless supply of miracles and healings. Think of how much He could charge. He could bankrupt the healthcare system. He could bankrupt all the bakeries in the area. He could just multiply and collect money. Then the crowds will keep coming and coming, and grow bigger and bigger, and He could have been famous.
But what does Jesus do when the crowds look at His power? They want to make Him a king, right? And what does Jesus do? He hides. It was not His time. He’s not going to be that kind of a king. Many people believed in Jesus and entrusted themselves to Jesus. But Jesus seeing the heart of certain people, He did not entrust himself to them because he knew the heart of man.
Jesus did not come to be glorified. He came to glorify one person and it is His Father in heaven – our Father. He did only what the Father told Him to do. He fulfilled perfectly the will of the Father and the Father was glorified in the Son.
And Jesus can do this because He surrendered himself to the Father – all of His will, all of His desires, all of His goals, all of His preferences, His timing of when He died and how He died.
Even at Gethsemane, there’s a wrestling. Is there another way, can this cup pass? Father says, no. Jesus tells the Father, Your will be done. It’s not my preference. I would prefer another way. But if this is the only way, Father, I will go this way. He’s totally surrendered.
And why do we find it so hard to surrender to Jesus? It is because of this praise of man. It is this desire to be accepted by man. It is this fear of being rejected by man. That’s why we have such a hard time surrendering. Two different people in the Gospel of John highlight this. First, in John 5:9.
9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
So keep these verses in mind and let’s compare and contrast this account of the invalid in John 5 with John 9, the healing of a blind man.
1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.”
Let’s jump down to verse 15.
15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
Clearly, some parallels, some similarities, and some striking differences between the healing of the invalid and the healing of this blind man. It’s interesting. The blind man–Jesus said, his sickness was not caused by sin. It’s not his sin. It’s not the parents’ sin. But for the invalid, it’s a little more confusing because when the invalid is healed, Jesus says, sin no more or something worse might happen to you, meaning, if you do not stop sinning, you thought 38 years of being paralyzed was bad, well, it could get worse.
So sometimes sickness is because of sin. And sometimes it’s not. And you can understand why the Pharisees, in the case of the blind man, they made the mistake to assume that every sickness is because of sin. No, some are, some aren’t.
These stories are similar because the first encounter with Jesus was not a saving encounter. In both cases, each man met Jesus and in their first encounter with Him, they’re healed. The invalid, the blind man, both are healed. The invalid walks and the blind man sees. But they’re not saved.
Also, in both cases, they are dealing with Pharisees, but their responses are very different. What does the invalid do? He throws Jesus under the bus. He’s breaking the Sabbath law. He’s carrying his mat. And you would think, if you’ve been paralyzed for 38 years, wouldn’t you rejoice? Would you care about the fact that you’re breaking the Sabbath law in the moment you’re healed and you’re finally walking after 38 years of paralysis. You’re carrying your mat. Would you care that you’re breaking the law on that day? Wouldn’t you rejoice? Wouldn’t you want to find out, who is this man that healed me? He doesn’t even know. He doesn’t care and the Pharisees are trapping him. You’re breaking the law.
And what does the invalid do? He cowers before these men because these men are powerful men. These men determine whether you are accepted in society or not. You need the blessing of these people if you want to succeed in this life. And so what does the invalid do? He throws Jesus under the bus. That man made me do it. He loved the praise of men.
And that doesn’t mean he wanted to be famous. He just wanted to be accepted. He didn’t want his name to be in lights. He just feared rejection. Because if you’re rejected by these VIPs, you’re pretty much on your own. You’re pretty much a nobody. You’re pretty much an outcast. And because he feared rejection, because he wanted to be accepted, because he loved the praise of men, when the Pharisees said, why are you breaking the Sabbath law instead of testifying instead of rejoicing instead of being a bold witness? I don’t know who it was, but I got to find out who it is. He threw Jesus under the bus that man all he told me to do it at it’s it’s his fault. He threw Jesus under the bus.
What about the blind man? His parents are involved so we know that this man is not an old man. He’s at the borderline of child/adult, probably around 20. He looks young. And so the Pharisees want to find out and ask to speak with his parents. You would only do that to a youngster, someone who is young. So probably someone in his early 20s. Bring me your parents. Let me hear from them.
And how do the parents respond? They don’t want to answer. Why don’t they want to answer? Because they fear rejection. There attend the synagogue, the only place of worship if you consider yourself an Israelite, a believer of God. There’s only one place that you are allowed to go to worship. And these are the gatekeepers. And if they say, you can’t come in, you can’t come in. And so these parents presumably have been going to the synagogue their whole lives. And so they kowtow before these gatekeepers.
They don’t want to answer the question. They deflect. They say, he is of age. Ask him. He’s an adult. And then when you look at this blind boy turned man, his response is so courageous. His response shows that he is on the way to salvation. Because he does not care anymore about the praise of men. He’s been blind for 20-plus years. He sees. He’s not going to be pushed into a corner. He’s not going to be bullied by these VIP religious leaders.
He doesn’t care about the praise of men at this point and he even challenges them. Why are you asking? I already told you. You’re asking me a second time. You want me to tell you again? Why? Do you want to become His disciples? He’s sarcastic. He’s bold. He’s unafraid. He’s testifying about this man and he doesn’t even know His name.
And from this point, maybe there was a division in the family. Sadly, maybe the parents kept going to the synagogue. But for this blind man who now has sight, he is not allowed. He’s on his own. And when does Jesus meet this blind man?
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out…
How does Jesus know that this man is interested in more than just healing? Because He knows the invalid just wanted the healing, and he just wants to be accepted, and he wants to do life as usual. How does Jesus know that this blind man who now sees really doesn’t care what people say of him, what people think of him? He doesn’t care if he’s all alone. He doesn’t care even if his parents reject him and thinks that he made a mistake.
Jesus saw that he was alone. And if you and I are going to overcome our desire for praise of men, you have to be prepared to be alone. Even the religious system, even with respect to churches around the world, if you really want to follow Jesus and do the will of the Father, you have to be prepared to be like Jesus who was utterly alone.
In the end, even His disciples left Him. Just John and a bunch of women who really loved Him, they were there to the end. Everybody else scattered. You and I must overcome our desire to be praised, to be accepted, to be in the majority. Because if you follow Jesus and you surrender everything to Him because you want to do the Father’s will, you will have very few people around you. I think that’s just the way it is.
This blind man utterly alone is the perfect situation to meet the Savior of the world.
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
All of us began our Christian journeys saying, I surrender all to Jesus. All to Him, I freely give. Everything that I love, I give it to Jesus. My life is in Your hands. Jesus, I follow You. Father, I want to do Your will. All of us begin with that commitment. But as you go through life, He asks us, have you given up your career? Have you given up your money? Have you surrendered your family? And then He asks, once you’ve done all that, He asks us to surrender more. And this is much harder–to surrender yourself. To surrender your will. Your goals, your preferences, your desires, your timing, your emotions. And this is a daily surrender.
We make some major decisions where we surrender our career in one moment. But daily, we have to surrender our will. And you know that you are having a hard time surrendering your will when in your emotions, there’s a complaining that’s starting to rise up. You know God told you to be content to do something. And gladly, in the beginning, you did it. But over time, you feel the emotion, the grumbling, the complaining is rising up.
And it’s a conflict of your will versus God’s will. You’re seeing it in the emotions because you have a certain sense of timing. Lord, I started this project. I thought by now I would be farther along. So we have to surrender our timing. Or, I prefer that things turn out this way. You have to surrender your preferences.
Are you following Jesus? You’re surrendering everything to Him and when He makes something clear, then you move and not until then. Because Jesus did not move until it was time. He did nothing on His own. And if He is exemplifying what a surrender life looks like and He is our Master, should we expect any different for ourselves?
Jesus is the Son of God. You mean He did not have His own will? No, of course, He had His own will, but He surrendered His will. You mean, Jesus as equal to the Father, the Son of God, He didn’t have desires of His own. He did, but He surrendered His desires. He did nothing on His own.
And there’s a there’s a great refining process that happens as you surrender your will, your goals, your preferences, your timing, your emotions. There’s a huge refining that comes and it is related to the praise of men.
21 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.
Silver is refined. It’s tested. It’s made pure in a crucible. Gold is refined, tested, made pure in a furnace. How are me we made pure? It’s by how we handle the praise of man. If you do not handle the praise of man properly, you will stay defiled. That’s basically what this proverb is saying. Because the praise of men will lead you in a certain direction.
For example, your parents will give you a script and if you want to please them, you’ll be defiled because you’re actually surrendering to that, the parents’ will and you’re trying to do life to make them proud. And you’ll stay defiled because their praise is so important to you.
Or, society and Hollywood, the movies will try to hand you a script and say, this is the picture of success. And you will surrender to their will and you will stay defiled. But if you surrender to Jesus and the praise of man comes at you and hits you, you’re not swayed.
And your own sense of that I should be doing more with my life. Or, I should be accomplishing more by this age. Or, I should have more to show for my life. You hear those voices and maybe it’s your own voice. Maybe at the end, it’s not the praise of others that you want. You want to be praised in yourself. You want to boast in yourself. It’s your own voice.
You have to let go of all of those voices and you have to handle praise. People say, oh, you’re so good at that. And you say, okay, I’m good at that. I should just keep doing that. I want to hear more of that praise of man. It feels really good to be affirmed because I’m hearing this praise because I’m doing what I’m good at.
If you live that way, you’ve surrendered your will to the wrong person. Jesus surrendered to the Father’s will. So if we surrender to Jesus, you will end up doing the will of the Father tailor-made for you. And at the end, Jesus will say, welcome, come into the kingdom of heaven. And you will be sanctified because the praise of men will not shake you. Your own desire to be praised will not influence you.
You will do nothing on your own because if you do things on your own, guaranteed it’s so that you can be praised. You do things out of impatience. You do things because you just see other people doing these things and you just want to follow them. If you do things on your own, it’s because you want to be the center of attention, you want to be praised. Jesus says, I do nothing on my own.
And He was an obedient Son. He perfectly obeyed and fulfilled the will of the Father and all the praise of men, all the opinions of people around Him saying, this is what you should do, this is how you do life. Even His own brothers say, show yourself to the world. He didn’t listen to those voices. He only listened to His Father’s voice.
For the believer, we only listen to the Shepherd’s voice. We surrender to the Shepherd and when He speaks, we can know with absolute certainty, we are hearing the will of the Father for you.
Okay, let’s pray.
Father, forgive us. We said at the beginning of our journey, we want to fulfill Your will by following Your Son and surrendering everything to Him. We started that way, but along the journey, you asked us to let go of our careers, let go of our money, let go of our family, let go of things, and perhaps, we gladly did surrender those things. But there’s something more central that maybe we haven’t surrendered–our very selves.
Father, we repent. And we surrender ourselves to You this morning. We surrender our will to You this morning. We surrender our desires to You this morning. We surrender our preferences to You this morning. We surrender our goals to You this morning. We surrender our future to You this morning. We surrender our impatience to You this morning. We surrender our sense of timing to You this morning.
Lord, the complaints, the restlessness that are hard to articulate, You’re exposing a will that has not been surrendered to You. Because if we did surrender to Jesus, we would not complain, we would not be impatient, we would do nothing on our own.
Forgive us, Lord. We want to go back to the beginning, back to the fundamentals. We started this journey surrendering everything to Jesus so that we can follow Him and do the will of our Father in heaven. I want to go back to the beginning and recommit to You and say, Lord, I surrender everything to you, Lord Jesus. My life is yours. I will do nothing on my own. I will only say and do what You allow me to say and do. I will abide in You I will stay close to You and I will do the Father’s will. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen