March 14, 2018 (Wednesday) - John 5:17-30
The Authority of the Son
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
The Authority of the Son
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
These are some of the most amazing declarations that can be found in the entire New Testament—indeed in all of Scripture—where Jesus makes a formal declaration of his relationship with God whom he calls his Father, his divine commission and authority, and the Final Judgment over which he would preside. Truly amazing.
If we look at John’s narrative in his Gospel, we see that for the first few chapters Jesus had kept a relatively low profile. He has been saying—and doing—some pretty amazing things, but they are for limited audiences. Then suddenly, as we saw in the reading of yesterday, Jesus is thrust into the limelight when he heals a paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, a very public place, and that too on the Sabbath.
The Jews are naturally incensed, and they confront Jesus, whom they undoubtedly regard as a criminal. And then Jesus, who may have found a way to defuse the situation, makes an extraordinary statement calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. Can you imagine how this must have scandalized his listeners? And then he goes on to make other claims that would have further horrified his listeners.
Jesus would have known what their reaction was going to be. Either they were going to accept him as the Son of God, or they would call him a blasphemer and seek to kill him. But that is a choice they had to make, and that choice would determine their destiny—their eternal destiny. It is a choice that determines our eternal destiny as well.
But on what basis are we to make the choice? Merely on what Jesus says here? No, on what is contained here. The Old Testament all points to the coming of the Messiah, foretelling his birth, his life, and his death. And when the Messiah arrived, he didn’t just talk like a wise teacher some make him out to be. He spoke with power and authority, with divine signs to back his words.
That is how we make our choice. Tomorrow’s reading offers further evidence. May we choose wisely.