CHRIST MANIFESTS EQUAL AUTHORITY TO GOD THE FATHER IN BOTH THE REALM OF LIFE AND THE REALM OF JUDGMENT
THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH ARGUING HIS CASE IN COURT
Clear claim to equality with the Father; the unique Son of God; intimate relationship of union
I. (:19-23) THE SON CANNOT ACT INDEPENDENTLY OF THE FATHER
A. (:19) Statement of Thesis – Complete Unity and Dependence
“the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
If He can make this point, case closed. Obviously God cannot break His own commandments (regarding the Sabbath or anything else). Christ attempting to show that He acted in complete unity with God the Father in performing this healing.
This theme brackets this section like 2 bookends — Compare verse 30:
“I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
The glue that binds this unity of Father and Son together is the love of the Father for the Son (:20)
B. (:20) Explanation: Intimate Relationship of Love and Sharing
“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.”
Father takes the initiative to share everything with His Son.
Morris: Jesus’ actions do not proceed from merely human motivation. He acts only in accordance with the divine revelation. Thus He looks forward to doing greater works, for He will be shown greater works. The result will be that His hearers will be astonished. The following verses show that these “greater works” are the Son’s activities in giving life and in judging.
C. (21-22) Two Illustrations = Authority in the Realm of Life and Realm of Judgment
Two Prerogatives Belonging Only to God (Zeisler):
1. (:21) Authority in Realm of Life (emphasis on Resurrection)
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.”
Unity of Activity in Raising the Dead and Giving Them Life
(both in physical realm and in spiritual realm) —
If you thought it was a crime to heal a couple of crippled legs,
gag on this one — Part of the greater works you are going to see is the Son giving life to the dead
Legalism is incapable of giving life; the letter of the law kills.
2. (:22) Authority in Realm of Judgment
“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.”
Unity of Activity in Executing Judgment
Jesus turns the tables on them; you thought you were sitting in judgment on me; What you don’t realize is that I will sit in judgment over you
Legalism seeks to judge others, but will be condemned by God.
Man-made rules can never gain the favor of a Sovereign God who saves by grace through faith.
D. (:23) Equality of Honor
“in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
Unity of Activity in Receiving Honor and Worship
There will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will honor the Son — the only question is whether you will benefit from such a confession.
Impossible to claim to honor the Father when you deny Christ His equality of personhood, activity and worship.
Legalism seeks to exalt self rather than directing genuine worship to God.
Lenski: First, the equality of the Persons, secondly, the equality of the works, and now, thirdly, the equality of the honor and this expressed strongly with a positive and a negative statement.
II. (:24-30) THE SON WILL EXERCISE HIS AUTHORITY TO GIVE LIFE AND EXECUTE JUDGMENT
A. (:24-25) Faith in the Word of God is the Key
1. (:24) True in the Present
“he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
2. (:25) True in the Future and the Present
“an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”
B. (:26-27) Authority over Life and Judgment Intrinsic to the Son
1. (:26) Authority over Life Intrinsic to the Son of God
“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.”
2. (:27) Authority over Judgment Intrinsic to the Son of Man
“and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.”
B. (:28-29) Reality of Future Resurrection and Two Different Destinies
1. “those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life”
2. “those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment”
C. (:30) Thesis Repeated in Summary Form – Submission to the Father’s Will
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent me.”
Deffinbaugh: Jesus is speaking to the Jewish authorities, those who have condemned Him on the basis of His works. They believe He is guilty of breaking the Sabbath and of blasphemy. In their eyes, He is worthy of the death penalty. These folks profess to be the people of God, and yet they dishonor the Son of God. They condemn others on the basis of their works. Jesus reminds His adversaries that this cuts both ways. Our Lord’s works demonstrate that He is indeed the Son of God. Their works will be the basis for their eternal condemnation. Their “fruits” will show their professions of faith to be insincere.