Equality with the Father – John 5:19-29

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

September 29, 2013

Equality with the Father

John 5:19-29

IntroductionJohn 5:1-18

Please turn in your Bible to John 5. This morning we will be examining the escalating conflict between Jesus and the Jews that were now seeking to kill Him. Last week we examined John 5:1-18 and the miracle Jesus performed that led up to this conflict (See: Conflict with Traditions). Jesus had gone to the pool of Bethesda which is a short distance north of the Temple in Jerusalem. Multitudes of sick, blind, lame and withered gathered under its porticoes in the hope that they might be healed when the waters were stirred. They believed whoever got in first would be cured of their illness. Jesus gave His attention to a particular man that had suffered from a physically incapacitating malady of some kind for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked the man if wished to get well, and after the man had lamented that there was no one to help him into the water when it was stirred, Jesus simply said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet and walk” (John 4:8). The man was immediately healed simply by the power of Jesus’ command. There was no medicine or therapy. Jesus did not touch him nor even ask him anything about what he believed. The man did not even know Jesus’ identity. Jesus simply commanded him and the man obeyed and arose, took up his pallet and began to walk around. This would be an obvious miracle of the first order to everyone that knew the man and saw him walking around with his pallet.

However, this action caused a problem with certain people because it was a Sabbath. John uses the term “the Jews” as a reference to the Pharisees and those following their religious system. They had made a lot of their own rules and regulations far beyond what God had commanded. God has set the Sabbath aside as a day for man to rest from his normal labors and the activities of commerce in keeping with the pattern He set Himself at the end of Creation week, and to be a holy day to focus on the worship of God. It was a day designed for the benefit of man, but the Pharisees additional regulations made it a burden for man to remember and keep their complex rules and still accomplish the daily chores of life. For example, you could not carry a handkerchief because that would be work, but you could wear it, so if you wanted to take a handkerchief to another place, you would have to tie it around your neck, take it to the other room and then remove it.

When these legalists saw the man carrying his little mattress, they became very upset because that was breaking their Sabbath rules. When they questioned the man (vs. 10), they completely ignored the fact that he was healed and focused only on his carrying the pallet (vs. 11-12). Later, when the man returned to tell them that it was Jesus that had healed him, they again ignored the healing and focused only on the fact that Jesus had told him to carry his pallet on a Sabbath and so began to persecute Jesus (vs. 15-16).

Jesus responded to them in verse 17 saying, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” Jesus was not just calling God His Father, but also claiming that His work, including healing a man on the Sabbath and telling him to walk, was the work of God. They became even more angry with verse 18 describing the result, “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”

These Jews were furious because they believed Jesus’ claim to be equal with God the Father was false and therefore blasphemy which is a crime worthy of death according to the Mosaic Law. It was good and correct that they were zealous for the honor and glory of God, but their conclusion that Jesus was a blasphemer was false. They ignored the miracle which demonstrated His supernatural power and instead condemned Jesus because He broke their man-made rule. This is the context for our study this morning for it is this same confrontation that continues in the rest of the chapter.

In John 5:19-47 Jesus responds by clarifying His claim to be doing the very work of God in verses 19-29 and then citing four witnesses in verses 30-47 to prove His claim is true. I would like to cover this whole section in one sermon, but there are so many important truths in these verses that we will take two weeks to cover them. This morning we will just be looking at Jesus’ claims in verses 19-29.

Jesus makes three major claims in this section. Each of them are prefaced with the statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you.” This phrase emphasizes that what He was about to say is true and, in this case, is also a conclusion to what He had already said in verse 17. Jesus’ opponents were already persecuting and seeking to murder Him because they understood that Jesus’ claim made Him equal with God the Father. Jesus not only stands firm on that claim, but clarifies and strengthens that same claim. The thesis of what Jesus says in the next four verses is that He had full authority to heal on the Sabbath and tell the man to pick up their pallet and walk for that was the work of God and He is equal with God.

Jesus’ First Claim of Equality (5:19-23)

The Son’s Submission to the Father (19) Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, 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.

This first statement is predicated on the fact that Jesus could not act for Himself. “The Son can do nothing of Himself.” While we do not understand the inter-relationship of the Triune God, this is an insight into it. We must be careful that when we see the terms “Father” and “Son” being used for one of the persons of the eternal Godhead that we do not take our understanding of a human father and son relationship and apply it directly. Our understanding of a father and son relationship is affected by our own experience of imperfect relationships between independent people. The relationship between God the Father and God the Son is perfect. While the Father and the Son are distinct personalities, they both, as this verse implies, work in perfect harmony with one another. God the Son does not seek any independence from the Father, but works in complete submission to Him. Jesus could heal on the Sabbath because He could only do in like manner what He saw the Father Himself doing. In other words, Jesus healed the man and told him to pick up his pallet and walk because that was doing what God Father was doing. Jesus never broke the Father’s commands concerning the Sabbath, but He did break the rules of the Pharisees. Jesus did in like manner what the Father Himself was doing even though it offended the Pharisees.

Not only did Jesus live in complete submission to the Father and do only what the
Father was doing, but in verse 20 we find another insight into the relationship between the Father and the Son.

The Father’s Love for the Son (20) “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.

The word for “love” here is file;w (phileo) which is a term of affection as in the word “Philadelphia,” the city of “brotherly love.” This is a love of personal relationship. God the Father loves Jesus the Son and the demonstration of that is that He shows Jesus everything that He Himself is doing.

This strengthens Jesus’ argument from the previous verse. Jesus did not goof up on something and heal on the Sabbath against the Father’s desire. Jesus knows everything God the Father is doing. Jesus made no mistake. He healed on the Sabbath because that is what God Himself was doing and Jesus joined the work.

The last section of the verse calls their attention to the fact that this act of healing was not a one time miracle. God would reveal even greater works to Jesus which He would then do which would cause them to be amazed. They had ignored the fact that this man that had been sick for 38 years had been miraculously healed instantly, but there would be things in the future that they would not be able to ignore. What kind of things? The very next verse details one of them.

Power to Give Life (21) “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.”

These Jews would have known Deuteronomy 32:39, “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded, and it is I who heal; And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” They would have also known and believed the Old Testament stories of God’s raising of the dead such as Elijah raising the widow’s son to life (1 Kings 17:21,22) and Elisha raising the Shunammite’s son to life (2 Kings 4:32-35). They would have known Ezekiel’s prophecy about the valley of dry bones being brought back to life (Ezekiel 37). Jesus is prophesying that He would also raise people from the dead as He wished, but keep in mind that what Jesus would wish would only be in keeping with what the Father would be doing.

Jesus would raise several people from the dead. Luke 7:14-15 records Jesus stopping a funeral and raising back to life the widow’s son. Matthew 9:18-26 records Jesus chasing out the mourners for the synagogue official’s daughter and then raising her from the dead. The Scriptures do not tell us anything about the reaction of the religious leaders to these resurrections, but when Jesus raised Lazarus after he had already been dead for four days (John 11:43-44), they could not ignore it. While some of them believed (John 11:45), others plotted together to kill Jesus because of it (John 11:46-53).

Power to Judge (22) The one who has the power over life also has power to judge. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

Jesus will expand on this theme of judgment in verses 27-30, but here the claim of equality is demonstrated by the Father giving to the Son the authority to judge. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures God is presented as having the authority to judge. The flood during the days of Noah came because God judged the wickedness of mankind (Genesis 6-8). Abraham referred to God with the title “Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25). He freed Israel from bondage in Egypt through His judgments (Exodus 6-12). He told Israel of the blessings of obedience and warned them of the curses of disobedience and then sent prophet after prophet to warn them of the coming judgment if they did not repent (Deuteronomy 27-28; Isaiah 3; Jeremiah 1, Malachi 3, etc. ). The Lord is also coming to judge the peoples and the earth in righteousness (Psalm 96). Jesus states that the all these past judgments and the ones to come in the future have been given to Him by the Father.

Worthy of Honor (23) Jesus states in verse 23 why that judgment has been given to the Son, 23 “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.”

The Father works through the Son to accomplish His will so much so that if the Son is not honored, then neither is the Father. This struck at the heart of the Jews that were opposing Jesus. They were zealous for God, but as Paul remarks in Romans 10:2, it was zeal without knowledge. This is a direct statement that their effort to honor God by opposing Jesus was self-deception. The Son is to be honored even as the Father is honored. Please note this statement is much stronger than just dishonoring the Son. To fail to honor the Son is not only dishonoring to Him, it is also a failure to honor the Father. They were not honoring the Father because they were not honoring the Son.

Jesus’ Second Claim of Equality (5:24)

The Nature of Eternal Life (24)

In the preceding verses Jesus has already claimed to be able to give life and to judge and He will do so again in the verses that follow. In verse 29 He will clarify the consequences for both those that believe and honor Him and those that do not. Here in verse 24 Jesus’ claim is not so much about Himself but about a promise of blessing given to the person who will believe His claims. “Truly, truly, I say to you, 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.

The promise made is eternal life. This is not just the idea that the person would have an existence that will continue beyond this life and time, for the Bible is clear that all people will continue to exist throughout eternity regardless of whether they were righteous or wicked. Jesus said in Matthew 25:46 that the wicked will go away into eternal punishment and the righteous will receive eternal life. Throughout the Scriptures the expression “eternal life” speaks of a blessed quality of life given to the righteous and the location where that life will be lived throughout eternity is with the Lord. In the context of this verse that blessing is contrasted with the consequence for those that do not have eternal life. They come into judgment while those that believe do not. Paul stated it this way in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Because those who are in Christ are no longer under God’s condemnation, they are passed out from sin’s penalty of death. The death spoken of here is not physical death, but spiritual death which is eternal separation from God. The final judgment of the wicked is described in Revelation 20 as being cast away from God and into the lake of fire which is called the “second death.” Those who believe avoid all of this.

The Nature of Belief : Please note that the promise here is conditional and its meaning must be taken from its context. The condition is that you must hear the word of Christ and then believe Him who sent Jesus. This is not referring to an intellectual assent to God existing for James 2:19 explains that even the demons believe that and they shudder. It is hearing the claims of Jesus and believing that God has sent Him just as He said. It is believing that all that Jesus did was exactly what God the Father wanted. It is believing that all that Jesus taught was what God the Father wanted revealed to us. It is believing that the Father loves the Son and that in working miracles, the Son does what the Father is doing. It is believing that the Son can raise the dead and give life just as the Father is able. It is believing that the Son has been given the authority for all judgment by the Father so that failure to honor the Son is failure to honor the Father. It is
believing that Jesus is the Son of God, the promised Messiah, God in human flesh who can give eternal life to who hear and believe so that they do not come into judgment.

This is the very theme of John’s gospel as stated in John 20:31, “but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” The importance of this is too often lost to the American mind because we have grown up in a system that teaches us to give intellectual assent to various ideas without the implications and ramifications of those ideas being considered. Americans often profess to believe in ideas that are opposed to each other and even exclude each other. Reincarnation and resurrection exclude each other, but many people believe both to be true. Many believe that both Evolution and Creation are true though they cannot be reconciled since the time and sequence of each are contrary to one another. A majority of Americans claim to be Christians, yet their general life style is in opposition to Jesus’ commands and example. Even among those professing faith in Christ and attending church, the rate of sexual affairs, abortions and divorce are very similar to society as a whole. Why? Because the professed belief may be in opposition to the actual beliefs which control the life actions.

The ancient Hebrews did not have that kind of mindset. What they professed to believe drove their actions. That is why they were so quick to understand the implications of Jesus’ claim to be doing the work of God the Father in healing on the Sabbath and immediately began persecuting Him because they believed He was blaspheming.

If you actually believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then the implications of that belief will change everything in your life. If Jesus is the Son of God, then He has the power and authority to set the standards for human behavior and judge those who disobey. If Jesus is the Son of God, then He has the power and authority to keep the promises He makes to those who follow Him including giving them eternal life. Jesus’ claim is to be the Son of God and there can only be two responses to Him. You can either believe His claim with the resulting ramifications in your life in seeking to follow and obey Him, for that would be the only logical response to that belief, or you can reject His claim as being false in some manner. This rejection could be an outright denial of His claims altogether or a denial that He has full power and authority and so there is still some other way to heaven. You can then live your life as you think best. Most Americans fit into this last category. They will not deny Christ outright, but they will reject many of His claims and therefore live their lives as they themselves think best rather than as He has commanded. Their profession of faith is actually false for it is mixed with a large measure of unbelief. The Jesus Christ they profess is not the person described in the Bible. A false Jesus cannot save.

Jesus’ Third Claim of Equality (John 5:25-29)

Starting in verse 25 Jesus makes His third major claim in this passage. Jesus states His power and authority in no uncertain terms. You can either believe His claims and enjoy His promises, or you can reject His claims and face the consequences. Keep in mind that if you reject any of Jesus’ claims, then you are rejecting Him.

The Son Who Gives Life (25-26) 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. 26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

Again we find that Jesus’ claims to have the same quality and authority as God the Father. He has life in Himself and can give it to others. The authority for this was given to Jesus in His humanity by God the Father because He is the Son. Jesus refers to God as His Father six times in this passage and to Himself as the Son ten times.

The idea of “hearing” the voice of the Son of God is not just having your ears pick up the sound waves, but also of heeding. It is to hear and understand and then do what has been heard. It would only be a short time before Jesus would start teaching the public only in parables in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that “while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13,14 cf. Isaiah 6:9-10). They would physically hear what Jesus said, but they would neither understand His meaning nor heed His words.

The reason that Jesus says that the “hour is coming and now is” is because there were those even then that were hearing, understanding and believing what Jesus was saying and claiming and were passing from being dead in their trespasses and sin to life. Jesus ability to raise those who had physically died was already mentioned in verse 21, and those physical resurrections which would soon take place would validate His claim that the Father had given to Him life in Himself so that He could give to others spiritual life and eternal life.

The Son Who Judges (27). In verse 27 Jesus claims another area entrusted to Him by the Father, “and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man.” This is an expansion of verse 22. The Father has given Jesus authority to both give life and to judge because He is the Son of Man. This is a Messianic title that occurs in Daniel 7:13-14. The Son of Man is given an everlasting dominion by the Ancient of Days.

The Resurrection (28-29) Before continuing on to give the four witnesses to His identity, Jesus concludes this section with another reference to the resurrection of the dead as the explanation of what He was talking about. 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good [deeds] to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil [deeds] to a resurrection of judgment.”

This was not something that should have amazed these Jews because the resurrection of the dead is an Old Testament doctrine which the Pharisees believed. It was spoken of specifically in Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Hosea. Isaiah 26:19 is very direct. Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.” So is Daniel 12:1-2, “. . .and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace [and] everlasting contempt.”

Your soul is eternal. Physical death is not the end of your existence. There will also be a resurrection and you will have a new body. The nature of it will be different from the one you have now, but it will be a real physical body. At that resurrection you will be judged and that judgment and the authority for it have been given to Jesus. Please note the basis of that judgment in verse 29. Those who did good in life will receive a resurrection of life. Those who did evil in life will receive a resurrection of judgment. This is not a works-based salvation. Jesus already stated in verse 24 that eternal life is given to those who believe. This judgment will be based on the practical consequence of belief.

What Jesus says here is no different than what He said in John 3:14-21. God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. But belief in Jesus has practical consequences in how you live. Those who believe practice the truth that their deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God (John 3:21), but those who do not believe hate the light for their deeds are evil and they do not want them exposed (John 3:19-20) (See:
The Love of God
). But the fact is that the deeds will be exposed including the motives for doing them (1 Corinthians 4:5). The final judgment in Revelation 20:13 of the unbelieving will be based on their deeds – “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one [of them] according to their deeds.” The only escape from this judgment is to have your name written in the book of life as stated in Revelation 20:15,“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Conclusions: Jesus has given an invitation in this passage. I want to extend that invitation to you this morning. Jesus said in John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, 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.

If you are here today and hoping that your good will out weigh your bad when you stand before God, I must tell you directly that you are in big trouble. Psalm 14 and Romans 3 both state that there is none that does good. Isaiah 64:6 states that even your attempt to do righteous deeds are like a filthy garment before Him. You won’t make it on your deeds. They only condemn you. Your only hope is to believe Jesus’ claims and follow Him. Talk with myself or one of the other church leaders before you leave today. We would love to introduce you to Jesus Christ so that you can know your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life.

I know that most of you here today profess faith in Jesus, but I don’t know where you really stand with God. I can be fooled fairly easily because I will take you at your word. I have met many people in my life that professed to believe in Jesus and then later proved their profession was false. Examine your own heart and make sure of what you believe. If you reject any of Jesus’ claims, then your profession is false because you have a Jesus that you have made up for yourself. God does not give you the option of picking and choosing among Jesus claims. Either His claims are true or they are false. You also talk with me or a church leader today. Don’t gamble your eternal future on a false profession.

If you do believe in the Jesus of the Bible, then take heed of the destination of the world around you and give serious consideration of how you can tell those you encounter in daily life about your hope in Jesus Christ that they too may come to believe and have eternal life.


Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Tell in your own words what it means to believe in Jesus. 2) Discuss with your parents what you believe about Jesus’ claims.


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. In John 5, why were the Jews so upset with Jesus? What were their accusations against Him? Were their accusations correct? Why or why not? What is the purpose of Jesus’ response to them in verses 19-47? What can we learn from the terms “Father” and “Son” as applied to the members of the eternal Godhead? What errors might we make with this description if we are not careful? What is Jesus’ claiming in verse 19? In what way does the Father love the Son? What “greater works” was Jesus referring to in verse 20? What does God give all judgment to Jesus? What is a person guilty of if they do not honor Jesus? What is the condition(s) for gaining eternal life? What is the nature of “eternal life”? What are some of the ramifications of believing that Jesus is the Son of God? What is the basis of Jesus’ judgment? What would happen if you were judged on that basis today? What is the only way that judgment can be avoided? What do you believe about Jesus? What actions demonstrate that belief?

Sermon Notes – 9/29/2013

Equality with the Father – John 5:19-29

IntroductionJohn 5:1-18

Jesus simply said to him, “____________, take up your pallet and walk” (John 4:8)

“The Jews” became very upset when they saw the man carrying his pallet and breaking their _________laws

Jesus claimed His work, including healing a man on the ______& telling him to walk, was the work of God

These Jews were furious because they believed Jesus’ claim to be equal with God the Father was _________

Jesus clarifies His claims in vs 19-29 and then cites four witnesses in vs 30-47 to ______________His claim

Jesus makes _____________claims in vs 19-29 each starting with the phrase, “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

Jesus’ First Claim of Equality (John 5:19-23)

    The Son’s Submission to the Father (John 5:19)

Jesus could not act for Himself but works in complete ________________to and harmony with the Father

    The Father’s Love for the Son (John 5:20)

Love: file;w (phileo) – the love of __________________relationship.

Jesus knows everything the Father is doing and _______________His Father in healing on the Sabbath

This miracle was not a one time event – there would be _______________ones in the future

    Power to Give Life (John 5:21)

They would have known Deut. 32:39 and stories of God’s prophets _______________the dead

Jesus raised several people from the _______________: Luke 7:14-15; Matthew 9:18-26; John 11:43-44

    Power to Judge (John 5:22)

God is the ____________: Genesis 6-9; 18:25; Exodus 6-12; Deut. 27-28; Isaiah 3; Jeremiah 1, Malachi 3

The Lord is coming to judge – all judgment past, present and future have been given to the ____________

    Worthy of Honor (John 5:23)

They were __________________for God, but without knowledge

Failure to honor the son dishonors both the Son and the _________________

Jesus’ Second Claim of Equality (John 5:24)

    The Nature of Eternal Life (John 5:24)

All people will have eternal _____________: The wicked in Hell and the righteous in heaven (Matthew 25)

“Eternal life” refers to a blessed ______________of life lived eternally with the Lord

Those who are in Christ are _______condemned (Romans 8:1) and so escape judgment and spiritual death

    The Nature of Belief :

Belief in Jesus is more than intellectual ____________- James 2:19

A person’s professed faith may be in _______________to their actual belief demonstrated by their actions

The ________________of actually believing Jesus is the Son of God will necessarily change a person’s life

Most Americans will not deny Jesus outright, but they reject c
ertain claims so they can live as they _______

To profess faith in Jesus but reject His claims results in faith in a ___________Jesus who cannot save

Jesus’ Third Claim of Equality (John 5:25-29)

    The Son Who Gives Life (John 5:25-26)

Jesus has ___________in Himself and can give it to others

“Hearing” refers to not only receiving the message, but _______it too – Matthew 13:13-14; cf. Isaiah 6:9-10

Some were even then hearing, understanding and believing and so were passing from death to __________

The physical resurrections Jesus would perform in the future would ________His claim to give spiritual life

    The Son Who Judges (John 5:27)

The Father gave Jesus _________to both give life and judge because He is the Son of Man – Daniel 7:13-14

    The Resurrection (John 5:28-29)

__________resurrection was spoken of specifically in the Psalms and prophets: Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:1-2

All people have an ______________soul and will receive future resurrected body

Those who do good are resurrected to life while those who do ____________are resurrected to judgment

Those who ____________are made righteous before God and escape judgment – John 5:24; 3:16f

The _______________reject Christ and will be judged and condemned by their deeds – Revelation 20:13f


Jesus’ invitation to believe in Him is the only _______because no one does good – Romans 3:10; Isaiah 64:6

Examine yourself and ____________of your belief – do not gamble your eternal future on a false profession

Believers: Take heed of the lost around you and _____________how God can use you to bring them to faith

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