What is needed is a source of life that is higher than the realm of “doing good” vs “doing evil”. When accused of being “good”, Jesus abruptly countered, “There is no one good except God” (Mark 10:18). He refused to allow anyone to identify him as the source of his own activity. Instead he consistently pointed to his Father, indwelling him and moving him to do whatever he did. He was showing us the priority of “being” versus “doing”. Jesus knew this battle well, as the adversary had challenged him three times before in the desert over the same issue: “If you are the Son of God,” he dared, “then do something to prove it.” There was no question whether or not Jesus was who he said he was. But the adversary wanted Jesus, the “last Adam” (1 Cor.15:45), to constitute his being by his doing. This line of attack was so central to God’s purpose that this battle continued to the last moment on the cross: “If you’re the Messiah, come down off of there!” But Jesus had learned from his Father that you need not by your actions make yourself something that you already are.
By Neil Carter