Abiding Dependence: The Central Work of Jesus


The central work of Jesus as He lived His daily life was to rest in and to stay with the Father. Jesus held to an attitude of reliance, of abiding, the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father; He breathed, lived, spoke, and moved as one with His Father. 

Jesus had to know His Father as living, speaking, and working inside Him. He waited and listened, consciously recognizing His Father as His source of everything. It was habitual, continual contact with the life, love, power, and wisdom of His Father. 

Jesus knew His own humanity could accomplish nothing of any lasting value without His Father abiding in Him and He in His Father:

“I can of Myself do nothing”

(John 5:30). 

This intimate union was the source of all of His words and works:

“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”

( John 5:20). 

Being Father-dependent meant Jesus didn’t have the need to control others—to manipulate. He never worked to convince people to join Him and didn’t chase after followers who left. We see an example of this in Mark: “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’” (Mark 10:17). Jesus put His finger on the one thing weighing the young man down: his money. He responded, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me” (Mark 10:21). 

Though the young ruler “was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22), Jesus didn’t run after him, argue, or change His position; He let the young man go away sad, still in bondage to his possessions. 

How we see God is something He takes seriously. The religious leaders loved their positions of power, even under Roman rule, and they were afraid of losing those positions and their nation. They said, “If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48). 

Jesus contrasted their good works, done to be applauded, with the relationship and fellowship of abiding dependence, telling His disciples,

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly”

(Matt. 6:6). 

The Pharisees were suppressing the good news of relationship and closeness with God to ensure their continued positions of power, benefits, and the continued survival of their people. They were operating from fear, pride, and independence, acting more like wolves than shepherds. 

Jesus lived in abiding dependence, and the Spirit of God powered His humanity. He became one of us so we could become like Him, living and walking in a union-relationship with God.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”

(2 Cor. 5:21).

Adapted from Abiding Dependence: Living Moment by Moment in the Love of God by Ron Block. ©2022. Published by Moody Publishers. Used with permission.

Adapted from Abiding Dependence by Ron Block (© 2022). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.

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