There are times we question authority in our lives - this is just part and parcel with who we are as human beings. I don't think we come out of the womb determined to questions authority, but I do believe we have all the "necessary" characteristics that lend to this state. For example, we have free will, so the matter of choice is ours. We have independent thought, so the ability to think and reason often presents the challenge to authority we may be engaged in. Regardless of the "means" by which we challenge it, our desires are pretty much the same - we want to "stand alone", having no one tell us what to do, and to be "free" of the "rules" of another. I am so grateful Jesus was not this way! If had come to earth with this "independent" spirit, can you even imagine what a mess we'd be in today? If he decided to act upon his own will, thinking things through as he sees them without listening to what his Father had to say, I wonder how different things would have been for us today.
It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this: Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living. (John 5:24 MSG)
From very early in his ministry, Jesus sought to establish the truth of his "leadership". He was a man "under authority" - not because he felt pigeon-holed into being in that position - but because he chose to live under the authority of his Father. He chose not his own will, but the will of his Father. It stands to reason that to be "under authority" one also understands what authority entails. Jesus was engaged in the creation of all that exists - bringing beauty out of void, simply by the sound of his voice. Needless to say, he understood authority - for his word commands ultimate authority when spoken. Yet, he came to this earth, taking on the form of mankind, in order to become the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind - leaving his position of authority to be totally under the authority of his heavenly Father. As he puts it - he did what he was told, not making one move without hearing clearly from his Father.
We all could take an example or two from Jesus on this issue of submission to authority. No matter who we are, we all have someone "over us" who is in a position of authority in our lives. We could say we live 'above' the law, doing whatever we want - not paying taxes, driving at whatever speed limit we see fit, or taking what is not ours to take - but we are never really 'above' the law. We are just living outside of "alignment" to the law. We choose to "align" ourselves with whatever voice it is we are listening to today!
So, the matter of submission is really a matter of "alignment" - who and what it is we will align our thoughts, intentions, will, and ultimately, our actions under. Today it may be our self - better known as the flesh in scripture. We do this whenever we choose to do what pleases us - in spite of knowing these choices may not be good for our health, emotional stability, etc. Whenever we choose to go after what pleases self, we usually do so at the exclusion of whatever will please another. This means we often even exclude Jesus from that picture!
Jesus wants it to be clear - when we choose to align ourselves with the one who has ultimate authority in the first place - we choose wisely! Anything less than this will end up in something far short of what God intends for our lives. Jesus' illustration is that of stepping from the world of the dead (the world of an outsider) into the place of the living. Think about that for a moment. In this day and age of dramatic and often quite revolting images on our TV or movie screens, we have been given a kind of "sicko" glance into the realm of the dead. We have the attacks of the zombies, the walking of the dead and decaying, and the return of blood-thirsty vampires. Now, I don't think for a moment these are worthy examples of what Jesus was saying, but they give us some glimpse into the sickness and depravity of what exists when our lives are not aligned with his.
We see the despair of living outside the boundaries established to keep us safe. We can extrapolate from these examples the sadness, wickedness, and total disconnection experienced when we are not in alignment with him. I will use another illustration - magnets. When I was a kid, I possessed a couple pretty strong magnets. I was always playing with these things - because they fascinated me. I could pull iron shavings from the soil, or connect objects to the side of the metal shed siding without any effort at all. Yet this was not what fascinated me the most. It was the "polarity" of the magnets. I would turn one end toward the other, only to watch them "right themselves" again. They somehow knew when they were misaligned - and they took the action themselves to "right themselves" into the direction which aligned their polarity.
I wonder if we are a little like these magnets - sensing our "misalignment" and desiring to right ourselves to correct alignment? I think we were created to be appropriately aligned - so when we aren't, we struggle to find that correct alignment. It may not be as easy for us because of this tendency we have to want to be in control instead of assuming the "polarity" which brings us into alignment, but we were created to "align"! Just sayin!