Read: John 5:16-30
Consider: Today’s reading from John 5 opens with: So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him (John 5:16). However, the hatred of the Jewish leaders grew to a point where we are told: For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (5:18).
Looking over the remainder of the passage, Jesus uses the phrase ‘For just as the Father … so the Son’ as the means of reinforcing his claim to be the Son of God.
Firstly, Jesus says: For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it (5:21). Jesus is not primarily talking here about physical raising of the dead, but rather to the spiritual awakening that takes place when a person accepts Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. However, he is claiming that as God the Father is able to raise the dead, both physically and spiritually, so he also is able to do so. If the Jewish leaders looked carefully at what Jesus does in his ministry, the only conclusion they should come to, is that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. No-one, but God himself, could do the things that Jesus does. This is confirmed during his ministry by forgiving sins, healing the sick and raising the dead.
Secondly, he says: For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself (5:26). Life came about at the express command of God, so God is the source of all life we see around us. Jesus claims to be the source of spiritual life and he reinforces this elsewhere when he says: I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one come to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
Does the Jewish leaders’ hatred for Jesus diminish as he later proves through his ministry that he is the Son of God? No, their hatred rather intensifies, as they see that Jesus has power and authority over nature, over sickness and over death. Ultimately this will reach a climax in Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. However, we know that this is not the end as Jesus rose from the dead.
In John 5: 19 we read: Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself: he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’. Many people ask what God is really like. You only have to look at Jesus and the attributes he displays and you will see God.
Pray: Father, we thank you that Jesus clearly shows us what you are like: a loving and compassionate God. We pray specifically for those who have a hatred for you and your Son, Jesus. May your Holy Spirit open their eyes to understand that Jesus alone offers them forgiveness of sins and spiritual life. Amen