The Authority of the Son

There is a lot of ground to cover in John 5, this is the second of three posts.

John 5:16-30

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This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

One Reply to “The Authority of the Son”

  1. This section of scripture needs to be carefully read and studied because most of it is provided in red letters: the words from Jesus himself.

    To begin with, “because Jesus was doing these things…” comes just after Jesus healed a man who had been lame for 38 years. What was Jesus’ “thing” in this case? He told the man to carry his mat, something the Jewish leaders considered “work” on the Sabbath and work was not allowed on the Sabbath.  I found this article provided some interesting perspectives on the subject of working on the Sabbath: [Did Jesus Break the Sabbath?].  The key point is that the reason for the Sabbath is to rest from your ordinary work, that which you do to provide for your family, and focus one day each week on honoring God. The Sabbath, as defined by Jewish leaders, was a particular day of the week when everyone was supposed to refrain from anything that looked like work, yet the temple priests worked hard on this day to accommodate everyone else–that was their duty! We could discuss this at great length, but the key point in my mind is the requirement to set aside our worldly work and honor God each week: both sides of that coin. The rest is good for us physically and mentally and the reminder to honor and worship our Creator is important!

    Jesus begins this discourse by stating the obvious which, no doubt, offended the Pharisees from the start: “My father is always at work…” That seems obvious when you accept that Jesus is the Son of God, but not so apparent if you didn’t get that point. There’s no indication that the Pharisees were looking for Joseph (certainly, they would have considered Joseph as Jesus’ father), a fact I find interesting all by itself. They did get the inference that Jesus was identifying himself as the Son of God; this gave them license to criticize in their world.

    Jesus provides three “Very truly I tell you” statements followed by a concluding, “Do not be amazed by this” statement in his discourse on the subject.

    Very truly I tell you:

    1. the Son can do nothing by himself
    2. whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged
    3. the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear him will live

    The Son can do nothing by himself

    Like father like son, the old adage goes, but in this case the father is God himself and the examples of what the son does in accordance with the father must have caused great confusion for the Pharisees. Yes, a father shows his son the ways of his trade and so teaches him in typical fashion, that’s how one learns in this context. But wait, listen to the rest of the story, “just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life…”; that’s not your typical father-son chat around the fire. Jesus has gone from the practical to the supernatural in one quick phrase. Then he adds that the Son is the one who is judge over all. This one-two punch had to leave them scratching their heads because of their background, but what does this do for us? Here we need to wrestle with the notion that Jesus is master of life over death and judge of all. Let that sink in for a bit. If this is the case as all who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, then we must have a different world view, our perspective is much different than those around us.

    And what is the focus: “that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” This complex theology is important to understand and something that’s rather difficult to explain in a few short sentence. I would suggest it is easier to understand with the reading of some 66 books known as the Bible. Just a thought. This helps to provide the appropriate context for singling out such profound statements, something I’m trying to get better at each day.

    Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged

    That’s a pretty clear and concise statement for those who seek eternal life with Christ. The distinction between eternal life and eternal death as contrasting possibilities is not emphasized here, just the positive outcome of belief. I suppose this is where the atheist get off the bus, where we lose them in our conversation. I’m not about to move anyone from complete disbelief in the existence of God with this statement alone, but if someone is starting to sense the moving of the Holy Spirit in their lives, this statement is profound and quite a relief to hear. I’m reminded of the C.S. Lewis explanation of Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, “At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in it’s inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous….”

    The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear him will live

    The promise of life for those who are already dead is overwhelmingly exciting to consider. Given the generations that have come and gone since Jesus’ day, I find this notion beyond words as God fulfills what he said he would do all along and brings us all into glory.

    Do not be amazed by this

    Seriously? This is not amazing? Calm down, this is just a statement of fact by the loving Son of the most gracious Father. I picture Jesus saying these words in a rather matter-of-fact kind of voice, just merely stating the obvious. He’s not some charismatic preacher pounding on the pulpit, just one who is providing truths for us to hear.

    I am amazed by these words and I hope all who hear are as well. Thanks be to God of the amazing!

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