Jesus demonstrates his unity with the Father in John 5:19-23
19 Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
The mood was tense. Jesus’ words hung in the air over the crowd. Everyone held their breath, wondering what would happen next. It was the Sabbath, a day or rest for the Jews, a day kept holy to their God. No one present would ever dream of doing work on this day of the week, except Jesus. You could tell the religious leaders were furious. Jesus had blatantly disobeyed their rules by healing the crippled man. It was their job to make sure everyone followed the requirement or face serious persecution from them. But Jesus didn’t seem to care. Rather than repentant, he was downright defiant. "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." (vs17) You could see the anger burn in the leaders faces. Some turned beet red, others went pale. How dare this man claim equality with God! There was murder in their eyes. Jesus would have to pay for his words.
Just to be sure they knew what he was talking about, Jesus continued; “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Here he was claiming, not only equality, but perfect unity! The implications were huge. Eyes grew wide, veins popped. But Jesus wasn’t done. “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” The implication was clear; it was a two way street. Not only could Jesus not do anything aside from the Father, but the Father shared everything with him. Their unity was perfect. There was no part of God that Jesus was not included in; and God loved him! This blew them away; and made their blood boil. To claim that God loved him, when he wouldn’t obey their rules, when he hung out with sinners and showed the leaders so little respect, was preposterous. How could he possibly claim harmony with God? That wasn’t anything at all like the God they believed in.
But they did have a problem. Jesus had just healed a man, crippled for many years. It couldn’t be ignored. Everyone knew that only God could heal. That was amazing enough, and now he was saying there would be more? Jesus was happy to tell them. “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” There was some nervous laughter. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all. He had just proven he was a lunatic. To be able to raise someone from the dead was, without a question, beyond human capability. It was a huge statement to make. He had just shown his hand. They had only to point out that he couldn’t raise the dead, and his followers would have to realize he was a fraud. Of course they had no way of knowing that Jesus would do just that in the not too distant future. But for now they felt safe in their judgment of him. He was a con man who broke their most sacred rules, and he would have to go.
Jesus wasn’t done yet. “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,” Why would Jesus even say this? As if anyone but God had the ability to judge sin. “that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” So that’s what he was after, honor. This was the last straw. Jesus was asking the people to give him the same honor as they gave God. There could be no doubt in anyone’s mind what he was saying; He was God. The things he said he could do were things that could only be done by God. The honor he was asking for only belonged to God. Healing, raising the dead, judging; every act, an act of God. Their simmering hatred deepened. How dare this man make such claims! Something would definitely have to be done about it.
What do you think? You could say that Jesus was a lunatic and a liar. Except he actually did what he said he could do. You could say he didn’t really mean it; but he meant it enough to die for you. You could say his inability to act without the Father, shows that they really weren’t equal. But then you are making him out to be a sinner or someone who is greater than God. His unity with the Father, stated so clearly in this passage, is hard to ignore. Only if Jesus is God does his sacrifice on the cross have the power to take away our sins. Three days after his death, he rose from the grave to prove that power to us. He reigns as God of the universe, is it enough to let him rule in your life? Will you accept his death as punishment for your sins and commit your life to obeying Him? I hope so; it’s worth every sacrifice you think you’ll make.
Continue on with #43 to read John 5:24 How the words of Jesus bring eternal life.