John 5:19-23 (NIV) 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. 20 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. 21 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. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 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.
On verses 19-23: Here Jesus describes how intricately entwined he and the Father are:
– Jesus the Son can do nothing by himself but only does what he sees his Father doing (v19);
– Whatever the Father does Jesus the Son also does (v19);
– “For the Father loves the Son” (v20): It’s a love relationship between the Father and Jesus the Son;
– “…and shows him all he does” (v20): It’s a relationship of transparency between the Father and Jesus the Son;
– Both the Father and Jesus the Son have the power and the discretion to give life (v21, 26);
– The Father has the right to judge and yet entrusts that right to Jesus the Son (v22, 27)
– The Father wants all to honour His Son Jesus just as they honor Him (v23)
– If you don’t honour the Son Jesus, you don’t honour the Father who sent him (v23)
John 5:24-25 (NIV) 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
On verses 24-25: Here Jesus describes the power of His word and His voice. When we hear and believe Jesus’ word and respond positively to his voice, we receive eternal life, crossing over from death to life. It’s as if God is knocking on the door of every person’s heart and leaves it to us to respond. If we respond positively, the result is eternal life. If we respond negatively, the result is condemnation.
John 5:26-27 (NIV) 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
On verses 26-27: Here we see that Jesus is also somehow subject to the Father in the following ways:
– The Father has somehow granted, or allowed, the Son to have life in himself (v26)
– The Father has given the Son authority to judge (v27)
Also, notice in verse 27 that in addition to being the Son of God, here Jesus is quoted as calling himself the “Son of Man”, an Old Testament term, which in this context, refers to the Messiah, the saviour-king that the Jews had been waiting for.
John 5:28-29 (NIV) 28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
On verses 28-29: Here Jesus talks about the end times when the dead will rise and be judged. Don’t misunderstand verse 29 to mean that somehow we can earn our way to heaven by doing good deeds. Both in the context of verses 19-30 as well as the overall message of John, it is safe to conclude that the “good” that Jesus speaks of in verse 29 flows out of believing Jesus’ words and responding positively to Jesus’ voice, and the “evil” Jesus speaks of in verse 29 flows out of rejecting Jesus’ words.
John 5:30 (NIV) 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
On verse 30: Here we see a couple more ways that Jesus subordinates himself to the Father. Jesus says that by himself he can do nothing, implying that his power is entwined with his relationship with his Father. He also says that he does not seek to please himself but to please the one who sent him, namely the Father. In other words, Jesus is out to serve his Father’s agenda, not his own.
Lord Jesus, what an intricate, close and beautiful relationship you have with the Father. I pray You would give me wisdom into this relationship, that I would better understand who You are and how You work. Like You, may I be focused on serving the Father’s agenda, not my own. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!