John:The Gospel of Heartfelt Belief

Like Father Like Son

John 5:17-32

Jerry A. Collins

In the mountains of the northwest a man was sitting beside a campfire while hungrily roasting a bird over it. A forest ranger came upon the camp and asked the camper what he was preparing for dinner. He replied that it was a seagull. The ranger frowned at this and reminded him it was against the law to kill this kind of bird and that he would be giving him a citation. The camper responded with the story that he had lost his way and had no food left. In desperation he managed to kill this seagull to have something to eat. The forest ranger said he would only warn him this time and the camper thanked him. Just as the ranger was about to leave he asked ‘just out of curiosity what does a seagull taste like?’ The camper piped up ‘well I would place it somewhere between a spotted owl and a bald eagle’. Needless to say, his words got him into even more trouble. Some may think the Lord’s words are something like this campers statement. Jesus response to the accusations made against him get him in even hotter water with the Jewish religious authorities. We pick up the incident in John 5:16.

Observation: Jesus life was constantly under threat. First, because he broke manmade laws. We learn from Christ that we do not need to keep any manmade religious laws to please God or do His will. Your parents, churches, peers, pastors. Second, because Jesus was always doing His Fathers will vs 17. The response of the religious was to plot to kill Jesus vs 18. Jesus begins and ends this section with this same message (vss17 and 30).

(1) There is no rivalry in the Godhead. The Son is not in competition with the Father.

(2) Jesus is of the same nature as the Father. Jesus did not say ‘your father’ or even ‘our father’ but ‘my father’. The religious understood that Jesus was saying that he was equal with God. Now he is not only a Sabbath breaker but a blasphemer. He is not only doing the work his father is doing he is of the same nature that his father is. These are bold claims!

(3) He is not independent of His father. Notice, it is the Son doing the work of the father not the father doing the work of the son. While there is equality in nature there are differing roles. For instance, it is the Father who planned creation but the son who executed it. The Son is in submission to the father. The works Jesus is referring to are the works he has already done (water into wine, healing of nobleman’s son, healing at bethesda) as well as the ones he is about to do (feeding of 5000, walking on water, raising Lazarus from the dead). These kind of works Jesus says, set him apart from others because it is the work of His father. Here are a list of facts that confirm Jesus is the Son of God:

(1) His activity imitates that of His Father. Jesus work and ministry is not self-initiated. His work is not in opposition to the father. It is the very work of the Father that he is doing. When we obey Jesus and follow His commandments, we are imitating the work of the Father as well.

(2) Father love for the Son removes any motivation for the Son to act independently or in rebellion to the Father vs 20. The Son is not simply doing a part of the Fathers will. He is giving full disclosure. The greater works Jesus will begin to do are revealed in the next verses.

(3) The greater work of giving life vs 21. One of the prerogatives of Deity is the right over life and death. An example of this power was the healing of the disabled man out of all the crowd at the pool. The raising of Lazarus will illustrate it too. Both the father and the Son raise the dead and give them life again.

(4) The greater work also includes judgment vs 22. The point is that every human being will be judged by Christ either at the judgment for believers rewards or the great white throne judgment. Jesus explains this prerogative of His in vss 25-29.

1. A time is coming when Jesus will raise all the dead from the grave vs 25. Every human being will have their day of reckoning. Death will not keep you from this appointment because Jesus has the power to give life to the dead. Jesus life-giving power can call a person out of the grave (11:43), everyone from their tombs (5:28-29), or anyone in spiritual death (v 24) to eternal life. The historical biographies of people I am reading are of people who will one day live again at this resurrection.

2. It is this power to give life that enables the son to judge all men vss 26-27. He has both because the Father has given Him both. This enablement has always existed on one hand because of Jesus divine nature as God. On the other hand this authority to judge was delegated to Jesus at his incarnation as the Son of Man who now has that authority. No one else possesses this authority.

3. Every human being will be judged by his works vss 28-29. Other passages reveal that this resurrection will occur in stages. The first resurrection includes believers at the rapture and tribulation believers at the Lords second coming. The resurrection of the condemned will occur at the end of the Millennium Rev 20:11-15. The righteous will be rewarded according to their works 1 Cor 3 and the unbeliever according to his works. The judgment of works for believers will determine his rewards and the judgment of unbelievers works will determine his condemnation. This is best it will ever be for unbeliever and worse it will ever get for believer.

(5) Purpose for the sons greater works is His honor from everyone vs 23. Jesus unity with the father is so complete that the honor of God is tied to Jesus. To reject or dishonor God the Son (as many religions do) is to reject and dishonor God the Father.

(6) Trusting Jesus message and believing Him has eternal life and is not condemned vs 24. No judgment will come in the future that condemns him. This person has passed from death unto life Jesus says.

(7) Jesus is perfect spokesman for the Father and His executive vs 30. Jesus is if the exact nature of the father and as such does the exact work the father is doing.