Summary: This deep, dense, and challenging passage details the connections between the Son and the Father. What specifics can we learn from it?
EQUAL WITH GOD: The Jews thought Jesus was claiming to be equal with God the Father.
- John 5:18.
- What exactly is going on in this interaction that the Jews thought Jesus was claiming to be equal with God the Father?
a. In v. 16 the Jews persecute Jesus because He violated their rules for the Sabbath by “working” on the Sabbath.
b. Jesus could have used a number of counter-arguments, but the one He chooses pushes us deeper into the connection between the Son and the Father. In v. 17 Jesus says that He is working because God the Father is working on the Sabbath also. That, of course, is true. God doesn’t cease to run the universe on the Sabbath. It is true that in Genesis He took the seventh day off, but that was not because He required the rest, but rather to establish an example for us. So God the Father is working seven days a week. Jesus here basically says, “God the Father works seven days a week, so I can work seven days a week too.”
c. This is why v. 18 says that they understood what Jesus was saying to mean that Jesus thought He was equal with God. He was saying that He had the right to work like God the Father.
- Having said this and gotten the reaction that Jesus got, Jesus then proceeds in a lengthy and dense message on the nature of the relationship between Himself and God the Father. He is going to claim a close and unique relationship with God the Father.
- It’s worth noting here that, if they had misinterpreted Jesus, this was a perfect moment to back off of what they understood. Jesus could have defused the situation by saying, “No, no, that’s not what I meant. God the Father is totally different from me.” But He didn’t say that. Rather, He proceeded to delve into the deep relationship between Son and Father.
THE SON'S CONNECTION TO THE FATHER:
1. The Son does what the Father is doing.
- John 5:17, 19, 20 (“shows Him all He does”), 30.
- The Son, in humbling Himself by taking on human flesh (Philippians 2:5-11), limited Himself. In so doing, He needed to rely on the Father. And that’s exactly what He did.
- The Son is working as He sees the Father working and is empowered by the Father to do those works.
- There is an application in our lives with this as well. This should be an encouraging truth to us. It establishes a pattern: Jesus was empowered by the Father to do great works. It’s a pattern that should hold true in our lives as well: we are empowered by the Father to do great works. We should seek a joyful dependence on the Father.
2. The Father loves the Son.
- John 5:20.
- This seems basic to us, but it needs to be established. The Father loves the Son. He delights in what the Son is doing.
- And so this isn’t just an adequate representative – this is the Father’s joy and delight.
3. The Father entrusts judgment to the Son.
- John 5:22, 27-29, 30b.
- The Father entrusts judgment to the Son. Aspects of that:
a. It means Jesus is our Savior, but also our Judge.
b. It means that the Father doesn’t just trust the Son with work, but also trusts Him with power.
4. The Son can give life, just like the Father.
- John 5:21, 24-26, 28-29.
- John 10:10, 28.
- This, of course, is what Jesus came to do: give us life. In John 10, verse 10 speaks of abundant life and verse 28 speaks of eternal life. Both are great gifts, but the greater gift, without question, is eternal life.
- The Son has the power to imbue life into those who trust in Him.
5. The Son and the Father are honored.
- John 5:23.
- John 15:8.
- The glorification of the Father and the Son is an important result of all this. They deserve glory because they are the most worthy beings in the universe and because they have sacrificed for us.
- John 15:8 speaks of the glory of the Father coming from the interaction of Christ with His people.