Summary: In this passage, Jesus will give us 9 proofs that He is equal with God.
As Christians, we need to face the claim of Jesus that He is equal with God. We went into detail about this in chapter 1 but again we are faced with this claim tonight. How could Jesus make such a claim? Because Jesus gave us proof after proof of His claim which clearly verified this claim. In tonight’s passage, Jesus will give us 9 proofs that He is equal with God. Let’s begin with His 1st claim.
READ 17-18. Jesus calls God “My Father” not “Our Father.” He was claiming His unique relationship, a Father-Son union with God and the religionists UNDERSTOOD it clearly. They understood that Jesus said God was “HIS” Father and that Jesus was making Himself equal with God.
Another claim that Jesus made was when He said, “My Father is always at his work.”—which means “My Father keeps on working even until now.” That is, God never ceases to work, even on the Sabbath.
Some may question this by remembering that after God created the universe in 6 days, He rested on the Sabbath. But further study will reveal that God rested from His creative work, not from His other work; His work of love and mercy, helping and caring, looking after and overseeing continued.
Jesus said, “And I too am working,” meaning that He did good on the Sabbath as well as God. Again He was claiming to be equal with God, claiming to have the same right to work even as God works; that is, to erase the wrong laws of men and to establish the just and compassionate laws of God. This is precisely why the religionists tried to kill Jesus. Two thoughts on this:
1. A person either accepts this claim of Jesus to be equal with God or else they reject it. The claim was clearly made. There is no longer a middle ground to stand on. Man is now forced to make a decision.
2. Some take the words and behavior of Jesus on the Sabbath as the approval for working on Sunday. That is not what Jesus is condoning here. Jesus wasn’t violating nor erasing the Lord’s day as the day for man’s rest and worship. In fact, it is just the opposite. He was saying that the day was to be used for compassion and mercy and good, helping men in their needs. Think of it this way, if man in not supposed to do anything on the Sabbath, then what do we do about me standing here right now and teaching this lesson?
READ 19. Proof #1- The first proof that Jesus was equal with God was His obedience. Jesus stated two things:
1. He didn’t act alone or independently from God. In other words, He didn’t take things into His own hands, or do His own thing, or act selfishly, or walk separately from God.
Hopefully you noticed how Jesus stressed the point when He said, “I tell you the truth.” In other words, listen closely to what I’m saying.
2. Jesus did exactly what He saw the Father do. He didn’t add anything or take anything away. He did exactly what God did. A literal translation of the original Greek manuscript reads, “He did the very same things in the very same manner.” So He was perfectly obedient. What a challenge and a lesson on obedience for us.
READ 20. The second proof that Jesus was equal with God was His great works. Jesus made two statements here in this verse that we need to focus on.
1. “The Father loves the Son.” The idea is that the Father continues to loves and never stops loving the Son. It’s a perfect love that never ceases to give.
2. And because of this love, the Father showed the Son all things which He did. Then He goes on the say that the Father was going to show Him greater things to do, even greater things than healing the paralytic man that we talked about last time.
And we will see later in this letter that Jesus would control the forces of nature. He’ll calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee. He will multiply food. He’ll raise the dead and heal crowds of people. He will institute new ordinances and create people anew.
READ 21. Now we see the third proof that Jesus is equal with God by His power to give life. God gives life, and only God can give life. And we know that Jesus had the power to give life in the miracles that He performed. But at this point in Scripture it has not been recorded any time that Jesus had raised the dead yet.
So, in a sense, Jesus is giving a foresight to His ability to give life. Just as God gives life to whom He will, so does Jesus. But so far we are only considering physical life. Think about the abundant and eternal life that Jesus gives to anyone who believes on Him.