Initiative means to initiate; to do something at one’s own discretion independent of outside influence or control. According to my electronic concordance, there are six instances—all in John’s book—where the word “initiative” is used in the Bible. All six occurrences reference some aspect of Jesus’ initiative.
For example: John 5:30 and 8:28 both quote Jesus saying that He cannot do anything on His own initiative. He says, in fact, that He could not even come to Earth on His own initiative (8:42). Twice, in 12:49 and 14:10, He says that He did not speak from His own initiative.
In each of these five verses, Jesus’ initiative is subjected to the will of His Father. In each case, He is determined not to live independently or make assumptions about what His Father’s priorities are.
Just like Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus knew that His strength came through depending on His Father versus relying upon His own savvy abilities. Or in His case, His divine heritage.
I think it is a grave error for us to buy into the notion that there is anything we can do for God. He isn’t that poor.
Our Father did not save us because He needed help on Earth carrying out the Great Commission. Certainly we are to be about the important matters of our faith, but to ascribe to the notion that we are doing these things for God places a higher value on our contribution than it deserves and a lower value on the sufficiency of our Father than He deserves.
First and foremost, Jesus Christ demonstrated that the Christian life is fundamentally a life of dependence.
The second message—in order of priority—that He delivered is that He intends to live His life, the Christian life, through us. In this way, He emulates in us the life that He lived.
But, there are six instances in Scripture where “initiative” is used of Jesus. There is one time he lived independently….