John 5:17-30 - The Astounding Authority: Equality with God
The Astounding Authority: Equality with God, 5:17-30
The Fathers Relationship To the Son.
In the spiritual realm, Christ knows God better than anyone. Better than theologians who have written about Him through the centuries. Even better than the prophets and apostles, who received divine revelation. Christ knows God so well because He was in God’s presence from before eternity (John 17:1-5)
The Apostle John said it this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God” (John 1:1). Christ was face-to-face with God. If anyone knows about God, Christ does.
It stands to reason, therefore, that if we really want to know what God is like, we ought to listen to what Christ said about Him. To begin with,
q He spoke of God’s holiness, addressing Him as “Holy Father” (17:11) and “righteous Father” (v. 25).
q He spoke of God’s justice, telling a parable about rendering due penalty to tenant farmers who killed the landowner’s son in an attempt to gain his inheritance (Matt. 21:33–46).
q He spoke of God’s power, pointing out that “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
q He spoke of God’s sovereignty, saying, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
q He spoke of God’s omniscience, saying He is a “Father who sees in secret” (6:4).
q He spoke of God’s goodness and love, characterizing Him as a gracious Father who provides all that His dear children need (7:9–11).
Those are all wonderful truths, but there is one theme that supersedes them all. More than any other concept of God, Christ knew God as His Father.
1. Jesus Claimed Equality with God (v.17-18)
a) The Father Is One with His Son.
1) His claim: My Father (v.17)
(a) Jesus was saying, “I am one with God. He works on the Sabbath and I work on the Sabbath. We are equal.” Leon Morris explains:
Here His defense rests on His intimate relationship to the Father. . . . The expression “My Father” is noteworthy. It was not the way Jews usually referred to God. Usually they spoke of “our Father,” and while they might use “My Father” in prayer they would qualify it with “in heaven” or some other expression to remove the suggestion of familiarity. Jesus did no such thing, here or elsewhere. He habitually thought of God as in the closest relationship to Himself (The Gospel According to John [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971], pp. 308–9).
(b) My Father has been working until now & I have been working
1. God never ceases to work, even on the Sabbath (Sunday). It is true that when God created the world, Scripture says He rested on the Sabbath day; but this means He rested from His creative work, not from His other work. His work of love and mercy, helping and caring (compassion), looking after and overseeing (sovereignty) continued.
2. Note: Jesus said, “And I work,” meaning that He did good on the Sabbath as well as God. Again, He was claiming to be equal with God, claiming to have the same right to work even as God works: that is, to erase the wrong laws of men and to establish the just and compassionate laws of God.
2) His claim clearly understood (v.18)
(a) Christ’s critics clearly understood what He was suggesting. That’s why they “were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He . . . was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (v. 18).
No Middle Ground: A person either accepts the claim of Jesus to be equal with God or else he rejects the claim. The claim was clearly made. There is no longer a middle ground upon which men can stand. Man is now forced to make a decision.
2. Proof 1: His Obedience (v.19)
a) He Did Not Act Alone (v.19a)
1) He did exactly what He saw the Father do (v.19b)
I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30 NKJV)
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38 NKJV)
Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, "You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. (John 7:28 NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (John 14:10)
2) Christ was saying, “The Father and I are One. We work together.”
(a) This oneness between the Father and Son is also evident in Christ’s high-priestly prayer on behalf of all believers (John 17:20-22). There was a holy intimacy and communion between the Father and Son.
The Application Don’t Miss It!
q Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient; He acted exactly in the nature of God.
q A challenge for obedience (1 John 2:3-6)!
3. Proof 2: His Great Works (v.20)
a) The Father Loves His Son (v.20a)
1) Christ was very well aware of the Father’s love,
… for He went on to pray in His high-priestly prayer, “I in them [all believers] and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me. . . . I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them” (17:23, 26, niv).
1. The Father’s love for the Son is the root of our love for one another as believers.
2. Since we are “accepted in the beloved” (Eph.1:6) God loves us as His Son.
b) God shows Him what to do (v.20b)
1) All Things Which Jesus did were the Very Things which the Father Did.
(a) Jesus said that the Father was going to show Him greater things to do, greater things than the healing of the paralyzed man (John 5:8-9). Jesus would be...
q controlling the forces of nature (storms on the Sea of Galilee).
q multiplying food.
q raising the dead and healing multitudes of people.
a. Jesus glorified the Father by totally exhibiting the Father’s attributes and fully doing the Father’s will.
b. Likewise, we glorify God when we allow His attributes to shine through our lives and obey His will in everything we do (Philippians 2:13).
Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. (John 10:25 NKJV)
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." (John 10:37-38 NKJV)
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (John 14:10-11 NKJV)
If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. (John 15:24 NKJV)
4. Proof 3: His Power to Quicken and to Give Life, to Raise Up the Dead (v.21)
a) The Father Raises the Dead (21a)
1) 1 Kings 17:17-24—Miracle of the Resurrection of the Gentile Son
Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39 NKJV)
The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. (1 Samuel 2:6)
b) The Father Gives Authority To His Son (5:21-22, 25-26 cf. Matthew 28:18)
1) The Father Gave Authority and Power to the Son to Rule, Reign, and Judge. The Son, along with the Father, will raise the dead in the great resurrection of the last day.
(a) Christ Raised Lazarus From the Dead (John 11:38-44).
5. Proof 4: His Control Over the Whole Judicial Process (v.22-23)
a) The Father Judges No One:
1) All Judgment Has Been Given To the Son (v.22)
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:31 NKJV)
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10 NKJV)
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5 NKJV)
2) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Showed God’s Approval of Him, and Qualified Him as Judge. There are no excuses now—the proof of the Word of the Lord is all in. Sinners will be judged by what they do with that truth.
b) The Father Honors the Son.
1) Purpose: That men may honor the Son (v.23a)
Similarly timaŒoµ means “to value,” “to honor,” passive “to be deemed worthy of honor.”
(a) The Authority the Son Enjoys is Equal to that of the Father.
1. All who believe in God as He has revealed Himself to be will also believe in Jesus.
If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:26 NKJV)
a. It is impossible for someone to believe what the Father says and turn away from the Son.
2) Fact: If Christ is Not Honored, God is Not Honored (v.23b)
(a) If a man does not honor Christ, he does not honor God; and if he does not worship Christ, he does not worship God (Philippians 2:9-11).
1. The Parable of the Vineyard Owner (Matthew 21:33-46)
He who hates Me hates My Father also. (John 15:23 NKJV)
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23 NKJV)
He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me." (Luke 10:16 NKJV)
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 NKJV)
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22 NKJV)
6. Proof 5: His Power Over Man’s Destiny, to Save Men from Death to Life (v.24-25)
a) How Men Are Saved (v.24a-b)
1) Hearing His Word (v.24a)
(a) Scripture’s Role in Salvation (2 Timothy 3:15)
1. Timothy was privileged to first hear the Word at an early age, because “from childhood” his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice had taught him “the sacred writings”—the Old Testament (see 2 Tim. 1:5). They built their faith and devotion on those writings and helped Timothy do the same.
2. The words of Scripture themselves—or an intellectual knowledge thereof—do not grant salvation, but rather “the wisdom” they impart “leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
3. While God’s existence, and some of His attributes, can be discerned from nature (Rom. 1:20), saving knowledge of Him comes only through the Scriptures.
a. Listen to the Words of Jesus in John 5:39, 46,
b. Also in Luke 24:25-27
(b) Thus, the first work the Word does is bring believers to salvation:
1. Ps. 19:7; Mark 4:14–20; John 5:24, 39; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23.
2. The truth of Scripture, when mixed with faith in Christ and energized by the Holy Spirit, leads to spiritual life.
3. The apostle Paul asked the Romans, “How shall they [unbelievers] hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14) and later explained that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (v. 17).
(c) Each individual is responsible to hear & believe for himself.
1. Mark 4:24 take head what you hear
2. Romans 10:17 faith comes by hearing & hearing by the word of God.
3. Luke 8:18 take heed how you hear
And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!" But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!" (Luke 11:27-28 NKJV)
a. Proverbs 14:20-22
A persons response to the truth is crucial, because at the throne of judgment there will be no opportunity to embrace truth that was formerly spurned (Rev. 20:11–15). Those who scorn the light of the gospel now will have all light removed from them in eternity.
2) Believing that God Sent His Son, Jesus (v.24b)
(a) Hearing is not enough, the Word must be accepted by faith.
1. Acts 16:25-34
2. John 12.42-50
a. Again Christ taught absolute union with God the Father.
¨ It was impossible to believe in One without believing in the Other.
¨ To believe in Christ is to believe in God the Father. One cannot believe in the Father unless he gives equal honor to the Son.
3. 1 John 5:9-13
3) Result: Eternal life (v.24c)
(a) “Shall not come into judgment” (Romans 8:1)
(b) “Passed from death into life” (1 John 3:13-18)
b) The Resurrection of a Lost Sinner Into Eternal Life: Fact (v.25)
1) How Are Lost Sinners Raised From the Dead?
(a) The Dead hear the voice of the Son of God, (Gods Word) & believe on God’s Son.
1. Remember, we are all spiritually dead (Eph.2:1)
2. Jesus healed the paralyzed man at the pool by His Word (John 5:8)
3. The Nobleman heard & believed the Word of Jesus (John 4:50)
4. Each time He raised somebody from the dead, He spoke the word (Lk.7:11-17; 8:49-56; John 11:41-44).
7. Proof 6: Jesus Has Life Within Himself; He is Self-Existent
a) His Energy of Life, His Self-Existence (v.26)
1) The Eternity of God (1 Timothy 6:16a).
(a) That phrase describes God’s eternity.
1. He alone possesses immortality in the sense that He is inherently immortal.
2. Angels and men, having come into existence, will exist forever. Their immortality, however, derives from God.
a. Immortality which means “deathless.”
b. God has an unending quality of life, and is incapable of dying.
For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. (Psalms 36:9)
For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, (John 5:26 NKJV)
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)
Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalms 90:2)
(b) God has life within Himself. And note:
1. Jesus Christ has the power to give everlasting life to those who hear Him and believe on God.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4 NKJV)
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (John 11:25 NKJV)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6 NKJV)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:12 NKJV)
8. Proof 7 & 8: He Has the Authority Execute Judgment; The Son of Man (v.27a).
a) Authority to Execute Judgment (v.27a)
1) The Father Gives Authority To His Son (5:21-22, 25-26 cf. Matthew 28:18)
2) Jesus had both dunamis (power) and exousia (authority).
(a) Dunamis refers to ability, and exousia to right.
1. Jesus not only had great power but the right to exercise that power, because both His power and His authority were from His heavenly Father.
“Just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,” Jesus said, “even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes,” and “just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:21, 26). “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (6:38; cf. v. 44, 57; 7:16, 28; 8:18, 54).
2. He demonstrated authority to grant those who believe in Him the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
3. His heavenly Father “gave Him authority to execute judgment” (5:27) and “authority over all mankind” to give eternal life to those His Father has given Him (17:2).
4. He had authority over His own life, “lay it down,” and over His own resurrection, “to take [His life] up again.” (10:18).
b) Why? Because He Is the Son of Man (v.27b)
1) Because He is Both God & Man He is Perfectly Qualified To Be Judge.
(a) He walked through life as Man, bearing all the weight and pressure, trials and temptations, sufferings and death, joys and victories that men experience. He knows every side and fiber of human life; therefore, He is able to execute perfect judgment. For this reason, God has given Him the right and the authority to judge men.
9. Proof 9: His Power to Resurrect All Men From the Grave (v.28-30)
a) Men who have done good: Resurrected to life (v.29a)
1) Believing on Jesus Christ, receiving a new nature, produces good works (3:21; Jam.2:14-20)
b) Men who have done evil: Resurrected to damnation (v.29b)
1) To reject the Son (the unsaved) & hate the light which is a result of evil deeds (John 3:18, 19).
2) Matthew 25:41-46
(a) The subjects of Christ’s judgment will be all the nations.
1. This refers to every person alive on earth when the Lord returns.
2. Although He will have taken all believers into heaven at the Rapture, during the following seven years of the Tribulation many other people will come to believe in Him.
3. During that dreadful time, multitudes of Gentiles (see Rev. 7:9, 14), as well as all surviving Jews (Rom. 11:26), will be brought to faith in Christ.
(b) Since the millennial kingdom will be worldwide, there will be no place on earth for the accursed to go.
1. They will be slain on the spot and go immediately into the eternal punishment of hell, suffering permanent, everlasting crystallization of their state of spiritual death.
2. At the end of the thousand years their bodies will be raised (cf. John 5:28-29), and they will again stand before God for final sentencing and final condemnation in bodies suited for hell’s torments.
3. At the end of the millennial kingdom there appear to be many unbelievers, who will participate in Satan’s final rebellion against God (Rev. 20:7-9).
c) The judgment: Will be a just judgment (v.30)