Q: #257. Can Jesus do anything without the permission of the Father?
By: Steve Shirley
A: First off, the Bible is quite clear that it is the desire of Jesus to submit to the Father. He made this abundantly clear while on the Earth (Jn 14:31)(Jn 12:49)(Jn 4:31-34)(Jn 6:38). However, I also believe that Jesus did this because He was setting an example for us to follow in submission; first and foremost to God (James 4:7,10)(1 Pet 5:6)(Rom 10:3)(Ps 81:15), but also in other areas such as: to Christian leaders (Heb 13:17)(1 Th 5:12-13)(1 Cor 16:15-16), wives to husbands (Col 3:18)(Eph 5:22-24)(1 Cor 11:3), to elders (1 Pet 5:5), children to parents (Ex 20:12)(Eph 6:1-3)(Col 3:20), to government (Rom 13:1-7)(1 Pet 2:13-14). Submission is a key part of the Christian walk. Jesus gave us the perfect example to follow.
In another place on this site (Q: #5), I point out that there are some things that God cannot do (i.e. lie, change). These things are contrary to the nature God. I believe this can also apply to our question here. Jesus is God now, was God while on the Earth, and was God before that. As God there are things He just CANNOT do. I believe that failing to submit to the Father would be one of these things.
*** Note: It should be pointed out that Jesus' submission does not mean that He isn't equal to the Father (He is: Phil 2:5-6, Jn 5:18, Jn 10:30,33, Heb 1:1-3). It simply refers to His position in the relationship. A simple way to understand this is to look at a man and woman in a marriage relationship. The Bible says that men and women are equal (Gal 3:28), and when they marry they become one (Gen 2:24)(Mt 19:5-6)(Mk 10:8), yet positionally, although equal, the woman is to submit to the man (verses above).
So, from this point of view, Jesus cannot or would not do anything apart from the will of the Father (or without His permission). HOWEVER, I would add this. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, are TOTALLY united and one in purpose and plan (Jn 5:19-21)(Jn 17:21-22)(1 Cor 15:24-28)("us" = Father, Son, HS: Gen 1:26, Gen 3:22, Gen 11:7, Isa 6:8) (all played a part in raising Jesus from the dead: Jesus: Jn 2:19, Holy Spirit: Rom 8:11, Father: Rom 10:9)(all authored creation: Jesus: Col 1:16, Holy Spirit: Ps 104:30, Father: 1 Cor 8:6).
One is not saying to the other, "You know, I think I disagree with you on this." Therefore, I believe that Jesus does not NEED "the permission of the Father" because it is impossible for Him to do something the Father would disapprove of. Everything He does HAS the Father's approval already (Jn 3:35)(Mt 28:18)(Jn 17:2)(Eph 1:20-22).
(If we want to get philosophical about this, since Jesus (as God) is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, wouldn't He already know ahead of time if the Father wasn't going to give permission for something? Or, vise versa, wouldn't the Father know ahead of time if Jesus was going to do something out of His will?)