Summary: As part of our ongoing study in the book of John, we will spend the next several messages examining some of the claims of Christ. In each of these messages we will see different ways that Jesus claims to be God. Today we will see Christ’s claim that He
This morning, we’re looking at Jesus’ second claim to being equal with God. Back in verses 17-18, we have already seen that Jesus claimed to be God in person. In our passage this morning we’re going to see that Jesus claims to be God in works. In other words, Jesus claims to be equal with God because the works that He does are the same works that God does. Now, why was that important? Of course it was important because the Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus. They were accusing Him of two things. They were accusing Him of breaking their Sabbath laws and they were accusing Him of blasphemy. So when Jesus was faced with those charges, He had to defend Himself, right? You might think of it that way, but there was really more to it than that. Because if Jesus really wanted to defend Himself, He could have done it a whole lot more forcefully. He could have simply revealed His glory to them like He did with Peter and James and John on the mount of transfiguration. They would have immediately hit the ground. They couldn’t have helped but recognize Jesus as God. But Jesus didn’t do that, did He? What did He do instead? He talked to them. He talked to them in order that they might believe in Him. They had just witnessed a miracle and didn’t believe. A man who had been crippled for 38 years was now walking around, carrying his sick bed. They had seen Jesus do something spectacular. And all it led them to do was to challenge Him. So now, Jesus gave them His Word. He told them that He is God. He is God in person. Just as God the Father is God, God the Son is God. And, in the verses we have before us this morning, Jesus also told them that as God, He does the same works as God. I want you to notice that Jesus didn’t mince words about it either. In verse 19, He said “Verily, verily.” You might recognize the original word that’s translated “verily”. The word is Amen. He says, “Amen, amen.” In other words, Jesus was being very forceful in His words. He was saying, “Listen up, if you don’t get anything else, you’d better get this.” “This is the truth! This is the truth!” He wasn’t backing off of their claims. He didn’t tell them that they had misunderstood Him. “Oh, y’all thought that I was claiming to be God? You must have misunderstood.” He didn’t say that. As a matter of fact, when he said, “verily, verily,” He was saying, “amen, amen.” “You are exactly right in your charge—because I am equal with God.” Now, we have to ask ourselves, why is this all important to us? Why are we spending so much time looking at these claims of Christ? Why is it so important for us to see that Jesus is God? Is it so we can win an argument the next time a Jehovah’s Witness comes to our door? No, not any more than it was Jesus’ purpose to win an argument with these Jewish leaders. Jesus made these claims, first off because they’re true. But He made those claims in the way that He did, so that we might believe. As John 20:31 says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” So, why is it important for you to see Jesus as God? So that you might believe, and that believing you might have life through His name. And that as you believe, you might tell others that Jesus is God. So that they might believe and might have life through His name. This is the Gospel. God has formed Himself as one of the creatures that He made. Or as John put it in 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” This is the Jesus we know. This is the Jesus we love and worship. And this is the Jesus we proclaim. And this is the Jesus who claimed to be equal with God in His works. Now, that brings us to a question. What is the work of God? What are His works?
God is an infinite being. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. Because of that, His works are infinite. But even though God’s works are infinite, we can describe them in three categories—creation, preservation and providence. God is a creator God. He spoke and everything outside of Himself that is, came into being. For generations, Satan has been working hard to deceive people into thinking things exist because of time and chance. He’s pretty smart. Because he knows that when we attribute creation to anything other than God, we are denying His works. And when we deny the work of God, we deny who He is. And when we deny who God is, Satan wins—no matter how religious we might think we are. God’s work is shown in His creation. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Not only is God’s work evident in creation, His work is evident in the way He preserves His creation. How does gravity work? You know it’s there. If you have any doubt, fall off of a ladder sometime. Did you know that, with all of their knowledge, scientists still can’t adequately explain how gravity works? Sometimes the force of gravity seems to be stronger than even the forces that hold atoms together. But it can’t be, because if it was, it would pull everything into one big molecular blob. And then there are the bonds that hold atoms together. And what makes light act like a wave sometimes and a particle other times. We can’t even figure out how these things work, much less how to get them to work together. But God does. He holds all of creation together. Read through Job 38-40 sometime. Who tells the deer when it’s time to mate? Who guides the salmon hundreds of miles out to sea and then directs her back to the place she was born in order to lay her eggs? Who tells the trees when it’s time for the leaves to change. Well, we’re 21st century people. We can look in our science books and understand all of that. Can we? Find me a scientist who has figured out how a squirrel knows how many nuts to gather. Who tells him that it’s going to be a hard winter? Certainly not the Weather Channel, because they rarely get it right. But the squirrels do. Read Psalm 104 sometime. And when you do, notice that all of the verbs are in the present tense. God sends forth the springs in the valleys. He waters the mountains. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle. He brings forth food from the earth. He renews the face of the earth. He touches the mountains and they smoke. He is doing it. God is causing it. God is actively sustaining and preserving His creation. He is not only your creator, He is your sustainer. There is not one breath that you breathe that was not given to you by God. Your heart does not beat one time apart from God’s sustaining hand. The works of God sustains and preserves all of His creation, including you. And that takes us to the third category of God’s work. God is a creator God, He is a preserving God and God is a God of providence. We know what creation is and we know what preservation is. But what is providence? The best way that I can describe it is that providence is God’s continual guiding hand on everything at all times. In other words, God has a plan. And He is actively working all things together to accomplish His plan. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing leaves Him scratching His head trying to figure out what to do next. We say it all the time. God is in control. No person, spirit, angel or devil will ever come up with a plan that isn’t already incorporated into God’s overall plan. It is not simply that God can look into the future and see what people are going to do, and then build His plan around them. No—God’s plan is over all plans. And His plan will prevail because He is working everything together to accomplish His plan. God did not just create the universe, wind it up and sit back to watch it wind down on its own. He is actively involved in everything. Holding it together and working it together for good. And He is actively involved in every part of your life. You are part of His plan. He created you, He holds you together and He is using you to accomplish His glorious purpose. That is the work of God. The work of God is His work of creation, His work of preservation, and His work of providence. And here was Jesus. Standing in front of these religious leaders. And what were they accusing Him of? They were accusing Him of working on the Sabbath day. Jesus told them in verse 19, “Work? Do you think that was work? That was nothing. That was nothing, because whatever work God the Father does—I do the exact same work.” Just as God the Father worked in creation—Jesus worked in creation. Just as God the Father is actively preserving His creation—Jesus is actively preserving His creation. Just as God the Father is providentially ruling over everything—Jesus is providentially ruling over everything. Well, that’s what I say. But what does the Bible say? Does the Bible say that Jesus worked in creation? That’s how John started this book. John 1:1-4 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” Scripture makes it clear. Just as God the Father worked in creation, God the Son worked in creation. Well, what about preservation? Does the Bible say that Jesus is actively preserving His creation? Colossians 1:17 says, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Hebrews 1:3 describes the sustaining work of Jesus like this, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Just as God the Father works in preservation, God the Son works in preservation. But what about providence? Is Jesus providentially ruling over everything? Acts 3:15 calls Jesus the Prince of life. Acts 10:36 says that Jesus is Lord of all. Romans 9:5 says that He is Christ who is over all. In Revelation, Jesus is called the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end. He is called King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the one who has been given rule and authority over all. Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And then there is the great passage in Romans 8. Do you doubt that Jesus is providentially ruling over everything? Just following the passage in 8:28 that says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Verses 34-39 say this: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Just as God the Father is providentially working all things together for the good of His glory, Jesus is doing the same. In our passage, verse 19 says, “whatever the Father does, the Son does the same things.” The works that God the Father does, God the Son does.