When Jesus made a defense of His healing on the Sabbath, He was upping the ante instead of defusing the situation: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17). For the Jews, such a claim was blasphemous. Not only was Jesus breaking the Sabbath, He was equating Himself with the Father and thus claiming to be God. He was presenting the people with a choice.16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Jesus provides compelling insight into His relationship with God. Jesus’ authority stems from His relationship with the Father, which is one of complete submission. In fact, He can do nothing on His own. Whatever the Father does, He does likewise. There is complete trust and openness—the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He is doing. Both the Father and the Son give life. But with authority, the Father has also given the Son judgment.
Jesus presents His audience with an ultimatum as He carries out God’s will on earth: “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.John 5:23–24). His claims require bold acts—total faith or total rejection. He is not merely a prophet sent from God.
How do you respond to Jesus’ claim? Are you completely and solely devoted to following Him?
John D. Barry and Rebecca Kruyswijk, Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012).