Summary: The Son is equal to the Father in every aspect, including authority over life and judgment. Just because the Son is submissive to the Father does not imply that He is inferior to the Father!
The Son’s Authority of Life and Judgment
Sometimes we use the expression, “It’s a matter of life and death” when it really isn’t. But in John 5:24, Jesus explains that to believe in Him and EVERYTHING that the Bible conveys about Him as the Eternal Son of God and Son of man IS A MATTER OF ETERNAL LIFE and ETERNAL DEATH. Verse 24 reads: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” We examined this verse at the close of last study and the section we looked at last week, Jesus made five claims regarding His relationship with His Heavenly Father and position in the Godhead: 1. He claims that He is equal with God in His person. 2. He claims that He is equal with God in His Works. 3. He is equal with God in His Power and Sovereignty. 4. He is equal in his judgment. 5. He is equal in his honor. So Jesus’ testimony is that He is equal with God in His person, His Works, His Power and Sovereignty, His Judgment, and His Honor.
Jesus gives life.
I closed with verse 24 last study but did not consider some of the specifics: Jesus indeed gives life and according to verse 21, He gives life to whomever He desires; that is what verse 21 teaches: "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.” It is His choice! Father God and the Son of God BOTH have the power and authority to give life.
Those who receive life from God are those who truly HEAR the WORD. We hear the Word physically with our ears and minds, but it goes further than the physical: When you TRULY HEAR the Word, you will respond to it, follow it, and obey it. The Word is all the words of God written down in the Holy Bible alone, but the Word is also the Son of God, equal to God in all respects who puts on flesh to reveal God for a season on this earth. The Word includes the words of Jesus as He taught on this earth and we have the portions preserved for us by God through the all scriptures of the Bible.
Secondly, Jesus gives life to those who receive the word and believe the person of Jesus: they are those who truly BELIEVE in the Father and Son as persons of the Godhead and that Jesus was eternally at the Father’s side and sent by the Father. This is exactly what scripture teaches: This is the Jesus of the Bible whom people receive and are born from above, a rebirth from God through the power of God, His Word and His Spirit. There is not “another” Jesus who will save: Only the gift of SAVING FAITH in this Jesus will redeem you. (Jesus is not God’s “spirit child”, as some think; such thinking is blasphemous to God!)
Those who truly hear, truly believe and assent to the Jesus of the Bible and are born of the Spirit of God from above receive Life: When God does this WORK in a person, that person passes from death to life by God’s Power, Authority, and Sovereignty and has nothing whatsoever to do with man’s capability or works. This person is in a settled state of existence which begins here and now and will continue throughout eternity. What a marvelous reality to be IN CHRIST!