Like Father, Like Son

Posted: February 8, 2015 in John
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John 5:16-23, “Like Father, Like Son”

“Like father, like son.”  Depending on what you’re talking about, that can either be a really good thing, or a really bad thing.  As parents, we have a tendency to pass on everything we are for children.  Our hope is that we pass along good habits, and help our kids avoid the same mistakes that we made in the past.  Often, we pass on more than what we intended.  How many of us as adults have caught ourselves doing or saying something our parents did, and we swore we’d never do it?  Sometimes we surprise ourselves! 

Sometimes what’s passed on is truly wonderful, as was the case of God the Father and Jesus.  Of course, it works a bit differently among the co-eternal members of the Trinity, but the basic concept is the same.  The things that are seen in the Father are seen in the Son.  They have a true family resemblance in personality, actions, and power.

This becomes a major source of contention between Jesus and the Jewish authorities.  Jesus referred to Himself in terms that no other person had ever done.  The Jews had referred to themselves as the children of God in the past (and God had referred to them in that sense, too – Deut 14:4), but they would never have dreamt about putting themselves in the relationship with God as Jesus did.  Jesus wasn’t just one of many children of God; Jesus is THE Son of God, and Jesus did not hesitate to claim Almighty God as His true Father.  That was sure to raise some eyebrows, and it did.

All of this came about as the result of a miracle.  After spending some unknown amount of time ministering in Galilee, Jesus returned to Jerusalem for another feast (perhaps the feast of the Passover), and encountered a man in desperate need of healing.  The man had been relying upon a popular superstition at the time, hoping to get into the famed pool of Bethesda to be healed, when Jesus saw him and offered to give him healing.  The man seemed to miss what Jesus was truly offering, but in the mercy of God, Jesus gave him the healing that he required and sent him on his way.  As the man left, he was stopped by the Jewish authorities for carrying the bed-roll that he had laid upon for as long as he had been at the pool – completely unfazed by the fact that this previously lame man was now walking.  It was the Sabbath, and they had their legalism to hold onto.  In the end, the man passed the blame over to Jesus, and identified Him to the Jews.

Obviously none of this was a surprise to Jesus, and He was more than prepared to give a defense of His actions, though He had no need to defend Himself at all.  He was simply doing what He came to do.  His Father had sent Him into the world so that people would look to Him and believe, and Jesus was empowered and authorized by God to do everything He did.  The Son acted in accordance to the will of God, and acted with the authority of God, because He IS God.  Like Father, like Son.  If we worship one, we will worship the other…and that is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

John 5:16-23
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.

  1. Take a moment to think this through.  What had just taken place?  Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years.  It was a profound miracle, and a testimony to God’s power upon Jesus.  All who had seen and known the man would have understood the greatness of what Jesus had just done.  And yet this was a capital offense in the eyes of the Jewish authorities.  A wonderfully good thing had been done, and in a sane world people would have rejoiced and given glory to God.  Yet men are rarely sane (either then or today!), and the authorities were incensed by the fact that Jesus had chosen to do this miracle on the Sabbath, and it was for this specific reason that they “persecuted” Him.  Jesus showed no hesitation to heal on the Sabbath, as all four gospels readily show.  Jesus is seen healing Peter’s mother on the Sabbath (Mk 1:31), healing a man with a withered hand (Mk 3:1-6), healing a woman permanently bent over (Lk 13:13), and more.  Some of these were supposed traps set by the Jewish authorities for Jesus, but He was never intimidated by them.  He continued to heal people, despite the authorities’ hatred and persecution of Him. Not all manuscripts have the specific mention of desiring to “kill ” Jesus, but it’s no doubt true, as vs. 18 goes on to show.  There, they “sought all the more to kill Him,” so their initial desire to kill Him had to start somewhere. 
  2. What was the big deal about the Sabbath?  Two things: (1) it’s the 4 th Commandment, and (2) it’s the outward sign of the covenant.  Because God rested on the 7th day of the week of Creation, He set an ordinance for His people to rest on the 7th day as well.  It was a way for the people to honor God and specifically set aside time to look upon Him in worship.  As the sign of their covenant, it was an outward testimony to the nations around them that their sole trust was in the Lord.  Whereas every other nation labored seven days per week to feed their families, the Hebrews only labored six, and trusted God to provide the remainder.  So with that in mind, to break the Sabbath law was to dishonor God and dishonor the covenant relationship He had made with His people (specifically the nation of Israel, per Exo 31:17).  This gets to Jesus’ persecution by the Jews.  If Jesus “worked,” then He would have despised the day of rest that God had given to the Hebrews, and thus Jesus would have despised God Himself.  Of course that wasn’t true, and Jesus responded to the accusation in vs. 17.
  3. Before we get there, we need to ask ourselves: do WE dishonor God by working on the Sabbath?  Do Christians violate the Sabbath every time we start our car engine, or cook a meal?  No.  But let’s define a few things.  What exactly is “work,” and what is the “Sabbath”?
    1. Work.  Ask a 1 st century Jew, and you might receive a whole litany of actions defined as “work.” According to the Jewish Mishnah (rabbinical writings & commentaries), there are 39 different categories of work that are prohibited on the Sabbath.  Any one of those categories could encompass a whole number of things: breaking off a stick from a tree, picking a fruit, cleaning up a spill, tying/untying knots, lighting/extinguishing a fire, etc.  Of course any one of these things could be done in massive amounts as a chore, and obviously violate the Sabbath law (as in bringing in a whole harvest of crops), but some of this could simply be life. The Jewish Sabbath regulations (which remain to this day) illustrate the basic problem with legalism: there is never enough work that can be done to earn or prove one’s own righteousness.  And that really gets to the whole point of the Sabbath.  So what’s the Sabbath? 
    2. The Sabbath: As we’ve seen, that’s the 7 th Day commandment from God, given to Israel for a specific purpose.  The Sabbath is Saturday.  It has always been Saturday, and will always be Saturday.  It has never changed to Sunday, no matter how many well-meaning Christian pastors through the centuries have described it that way.  The Bible set out one specific day to be the Sabbath: Saturday, the 7th day, based off of the 7 th day of the week of Creation (Genesis 1).  That is the physical day, but what is the spiritual principle?  Rest. Over and over throughout the OT, the emphasis upon Sabbath teaching is rest.  People were to rest from their labors, be it on the 7th day, the 7 th year, etc.  The Sabbath was always about rest and turning to the Lord.  How is someone to rest in the Lord today?  By placing one’s faith and trust in Jesus Christ as God’s provision for them.  Jesus provided the work; we rest in what He has done.
    3. So with that in mind, how might we honor/dishonor God in relation to the Sabbath?  It has everything to do with what we do with Jesus.  If we rest in His work, then we honor the God who sent Jesus.  If we ignore Jesus and try to earn our own righteousness by our own work, then THAT is truly dishonoring to God. And yes, that is worth a death sentence.  Those who dishonor God by refusing the work that Jesus has done on their behalf DO experience death – a death that last for all eternity when they are cast into hell.  It is only by resting in the finished work of Jesus that we honor God and receive eternal life.
  4. So how does Jesus answer the Jews?  He turns the entire question around.  See vs. 17…

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

  1. If they want to talk about work, then Jesus will talk about work.  Who else worked on the Sabbath day?  God the Father.  God rested on the 7th day of Creation, but there is no record of God resting any day since that time.  God is always at work, never sleeping nor slumbering (Ps 121:4).  All the Jews needed to do was look around, and they could see the evidence of the ongoing work of God.  Did the sun come up that day?  Then God had been working.  Were babies born on the Sabbath?  Then God was working.  The very fabric of the universe would fly apart if it were not for the ongoing work of God.  He is active 24/7. 
    1. This is profoundly reassuring!  God never takes time off.  He never goes away to rest, leaving us on our own to fend for ourselves.  You never have to worry if God is “still there” or not.  Those who find their rest in Jesus can know that God never rests from loving and caring for us.  He is always watching out for us.  The Spirit is constantly interceding for us.  God is at work in our lives, and He will be faithful to complete the work He has begun in us.  
  2. As to Jesus’ point: if God the Father is working, then God the Son has every reason to work too. Of course Jesus healed on the Sabbath…why wouldn’t He?  If His Father was working, then He would be working too.  Culture has changed today, but there was a time when whole families would labor together, especially in the field.  Fathers would not be laboring over the crops while able-bodied children stayed back and napped on the porch.  No, they would work together to ensure the work was completed.  Likewise with God the Father and God the Son.  The Father never stopped working, so the Son was working as well.
  3. BTW – is Jesus still working now?  Yes and no.  When it comes to the work He performed for our salvation, no.  That work is finished, and nothing more needs to be done by Jesus.  He has sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 1:3, 10:12, 12:2).  Once Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins and rose from the grave, the work of salvation became absolutely complete.  No more needs to be done.  (Which means we cannot add to it one iota, so there’s no need to lay the burden of legalism upon ourselves.)  That said, it’s not as if Jesus is doing nothing but sitting around.  When it comes to our ongoing life with God, then yes, Jesus is still working.  He is the One Mediator between God and Man (1 Tim 2:5). Jesus always lives to make intercession for those who come to God through Him (Heb 7:25).  IOW, Jesus is always praying for us.  He is also preparing an eternal home for us, where He will take us when He comes to receive us to Himself (John 14:1-3).  The work of salvation is complete, but Jesus is still working…gloriously so!
  4. Don’t miss this: “ My Father…”  Although Jesus alluded to this once before (when cleansing the temple, 2:16), this is in essence the 1st time in the book of John that Jesus explicitly claims God to be His personal Father.  This is a big deal!  And the Jews picked up on it immediately.  Vs. 18…

18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

  1. If they wanted to kill Jesus before, they certainly wanted to kill Him now.  In their minds, there were two fundamental laws that had been broken: (1) the Sabbath, and (2) blasphemy.  In the first, Jesus supposedly dishonored God and the covenant relationship He had with the Jews.  In the second, Jesus supposedly dishonored God by making Himself God.  In the Jewish mindset, if Jesus was equal with God, then God was no longer unique – it was an attack on monotheism itself. 
    1. BTW – that’s still how Jews see the claims of Jesus.  They believe that Christianity is inherently polytheistic…that we worship multiple gods.  Of course, that’s not true.  Biblical Christianity teaches one God, and this one God is eternally revealed in three Persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  This Trinity is seen through all the books of the Bible, Old AND New Testament: from Genesis 1, onward.
  2. For all the cults that say that Jesus never claimed to be God, they certainly miss the fact that the 1st century Jews understood that was exactly what Jesus claimed.  When Jesus said that the God of Creation is His Personal Father, then Jesus was claiming equality with God.  The Jews knew it, and it incensed them.  Jesus had every opportunity to correct them if they misunderstood, and He didn’t.  In fact, He goes on to teach all kinds of aspects in which the Son shows He is equal with God.  Obviously Jesus never claims to be God the Father.  There is a distinction between them as Persons (contrary to the beliefs of Modalists, such as Oneness Pentecostals).  It’s not as if God appears one moment as the Father, appears the next as the Son, etc.  No, God the Father is eternally God the Father, the Son is the Son, and the Spirit is the Spirit.  They are all co-existent & co-eternal, but truly one God in essence, substance, and nature.  It is mysterious to be sure, but it’s true.
  3. Jesus IS equal with God!  This was precisely how the gospel of John began.  John 1:1–3, "(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." .  This is exactly who the Son is, and who He has revealed Himself to be.  Jesus is the word – the λογος – the reason/revelation/expression of God.  He is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), the very revelation of God to man.  To know Jesus is to know the Father, and to see Jesus is to have seen the Father (Jn 14:7,9).  What the Father is able to do, the Son is able to do.  What the Father has authority over, the Son has authority over.  This is the very point that Jesus is going make to the Jews, and the Jews understood it from the beginning (even if they rejected it).
    1. This is absolutely fundamental to Christianity.  If Jesus is less than fully God, then we don’t have a Savior.  His sacrifice is insufficient, because it would be (by definition) limited.  Only an infinite God can provide an infinite atonement. (And only a true human serve as a substitute for a human – which points to Jesus’ humanity.  But that’s another sermon…)  For those sects that want to look at Jesus as a great teacher, a model human, a righteous man, but not truly & fully God, they’ve missed the whole point.  A simple man cannot save us.  No matter who good or how righteous that man is, even if man could be truly righteous in the first place.  At best, it would be a one-for-one substitution.  How is a simple human supposed to provide atonement and forgiveness for all the world?  It can’t be done!  The only way we can be assured of our forgiveness is if GOD Himself provides the sacrifice.  Only God can provide atonement for all the world, for each and every sin.  And that’s exactly what God did in sending Jesus.  The Father sent His Son, the fully Divine God to become a human, and then lay down His human life for us.  That is the ONLY sacrifice that saves.
    2. Please don’t miss this.  This is the very point that separates Biblical Christianity from every other cult, no matter how badly they want to associate themselves as Christian.  Mormons, Jehovah-Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and Christadelphians all preach a Jesus that is less than fully God, or just flatly deny His Deity.  The same is true of all other false religions.  The Muslims proclaim a Jesus that is absolutely not God (they believe He was only a prophet, and a lesser prophet than Mohammed).  New Age, Metaphysics, Wicca, etc., may all acknowledge a “Jesus” of sorts, but every one of them deny His deity.  Without the deity of Jesus, we have NO Jesus.  This is absolutely essential to our faith and our salvation.  The Bible clearly teaches (and the resurrection proves) that Jesus IS fully God, and because He is, we have every reason to place our faith and hope in Him.
  4. So this sets the theme for the rest of the chapter.  The Jews have recognized that Jesus made Himself equal to God, and their desire is to kill Jesus.  Now Jesus launches into a profound apologetic (defense) of His claim.  It would be blasphemous for any of us to make ourselves equal to God, simply because we’re not.  However, it is NOT blasphemous for God the Son to claim equality with God the Father, because He is, which is what Jesus goes on to teach.  Because the Son is equal to the Father, the Son does the same things as the Father and has the same authority of the Father.  Like Father, like Son.  As Jesus teaches these things, He gives much information about the relationship between Father and Son in the Trinity.  There are 6 main points Jesus is going to teach about the relationship between Father & Son…

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

  1. Point #1: The Son imitates the Father.  If the Jewish authorities doubled down on their condemnation of Jesus, Jesus doubled down on the truth about God.  Not only was God the Father (HIS Father) still working, but the Father is the One who showed Jesus what to do.  Jesus never usurps anything out of the hand of the Father, but only does what the Father has given Him to do.
  2. Notice how this ties in with Jesus’ equality with God.  The Son is equal in power to the Father, but He is submissive in His role.  Whatever the Father does, Jesus “also does in like manner ” – i.e., Jesus as the power to do it.  But at the same time, Jesus never takes the initiative to do it on His own, for “the Son can do nothing of Himself.”  The Son has the same power as the Father, but not the same role as the Father – thus the Son always submits Himself to the Father.
    1. There is order within the Trinity.  Humanly, we have a difficult time understanding how people could be equal, yet still submit one to another.  Our sinful flesh always wants to rise up in domination or rebellion.  Yet this is no difficulty with God.  Within the Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit are all equal, but each have different roles – with no petty jealousy rising up between them.  Part of the wonder of the Incarnation is how Jesus knew He was equal with God, but He willingly humbled Himself and temporarily lay aside His glory to come suffer and die on our behalf. (Phil 2:5-8)  That same humility of Jesus is our own example, how we are to humble ourselves among each other as we serve God.
  3. Question: If Jesus does the same things the Father does, then what does that say the way we view God in the Old Testament?  Often, people think that God somehow changed between Old and New Testaments, but the Bible teaches that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  If we know Jesus to be the revelation of God and the perfect example of the love of God, then that must mean that God is just as loving in the Old Testament as He is in the New.  It also must mean that Jesus is just as much opposed to sin in the New Testament as He was in the Old.  (More on that in a moment…)

20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

  1. Point #2: The Son is beloved by the Father.  Not only does the Son do the same things as the Father, and works as the Father works, but the Father is not at all dishonored by the Son.  On the contrary, “the Father loves the Son.”  It may seem to be obvious, but the Bible makes it clear that God the Father loves Jesus.  In all eternity the Father has never been displeased with or ashamed by the Son.  (Think about that as a parent!)  There has only been one singular moment when God the Father turned away from Jesus, and that was when Jesus hung on the cross bearing all of our sin.  At that moment, all of the anger of God that was due to us fell upon Jesus, but once it was over, it was over…or as Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished.”  God forever loves the Son – He always has, and He always will.
    1. Think about that in light of the cross.  Sometimes people fall into a false line of thinking regarding Jesus’ death for us.  We know that it was because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16), so some people think that perhaps God must love us more than He loves Jesus.  How else could God give His Son for us?  Not so!  Perish the thought!  The Son is eternally loved by the Father.  Language fails to describe the extent of God’s love for His Son.  In John 3:35, either the author John or John the Baptist says that the Father loves the Son, using the word αγαπη (self-sacrificial love); here, Jesus affirms the same thing using the word φιλεω (affectionate, brotherly love).  Sometimes we draw more a distinction between these words than what is warranted.  The whole idea is that no matter how you describe it, the Father loves the Son.  The Father could not love the Son more than what He does.  Thus in regards to the cross, if God gave the Son He loves that much for us, what does that say in regards to the awfulness of our sin & the price paid for us?  THAT is what it took to make everything that went wrong, right again.  It took the blood of God’s beloved Son.
  2. Point #3: The Son is informed by the Father.  Simply put, Jesus knows the plans of God.  Other Bible translations do a better job of bringing out the present tense here.  (ESV) “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”  In all of the ways that God the Father is currently working, the Father shows these things specifically to the Son.  Just as children often know the works and plans of their parents better than anyone else, so does Jesus know the plans and doings of His Father.  Jesus knows the in’s and out’s – He knows the why’s and wherefore’s.  The plans of God often seem to be mysteries to us, but they are not to Jesus.  He is intimately familiar with all, and He knows the things we do not.
    1. Again, this ought to be of great comfort to the believer.  So often (especially in our times of suffering), we ask the same question as Job: “Why?”  We don’t know why we’re going through what we do, and we’re not sure what to do with it all.  Here’s the good news: Jesus knows.  Even if we’re never told the reason why, we still have a Friend and Savior who loves us, and who can take us through it.  He knows the plans of God, and we can trust Him to lead us through life.
    2. Notice there’s a purpose behind Jesus knowing the plans of God: “ that you may marvel.”  Jesus knows the works of God, and thus does the things of God.  That healing the Jews just witnessed?  That was minor compared to what was coming next.  Giving strength to a man who had been ill for 38 years was a walk in the park to the plans God still yet had for Jesus.  The Jews were going to truly marvel at the works of God through Christ, and Jesus knew about every single one of them in advance.

21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

  1. Point #4: The Son has the same power as the Father.  Jesus has alluded to this already, and He puts it in more specific terms now.  Out of all of the works of God, which would be the most difficult?  Giving life to the dead.  What is it that the Son is able to do?  Give life to the dead.  There are many things that can be faked (as proven by many of the so-called healing ministries on TV), but one thing that can’t is resurrection.  Either someone is alive, or they’re not.  And life only comes from one source: God.  It can’t be generated in a lab, nor can it come about by random chance.  If God doesn’t give life, nothing happens.  And what is it that Jesus has the power to do?  Give life. 
    1. Thus far in the book of John, this hasn’t yet been demonstrated.  Jesus will raise the dead in Ch. 10 as we come to the account of Lazarus.  Of course, the most important resurrection of all is that of Jesus Himself.  And Jesus has the power to lay down His own life, and take it up again for Himself (Jn 10:17).
  2. Later in Ch. 5, Jesus will teach more about the resurrection and the life He gives.  For now, notice simply that the resurrection is assumed by Jesus.  This is not something that is in doubt, or that Jesus simply suggests ‘might’ happen.  No – this is assured.  “As the Father raises the dead…”  The dead WILL be raised. One day every man and woman will physically stand before God to give an account for his/her life.  The Bible tells us that it’s appointed to every man to die once, then face the judgment (Heb 9:27) – that is exactly what will happen when God raises our bodies from the dead.  The eternal question has never been IF you will one day face God, but what will happen WHEN you one day face God.
  3. To whom does the Son give life?  “ To whom He will.”  This is part of the power and authority invested into Jesus by God.  The Son differs from all of the OT prophets on this account.  Elijah raised the dead, but only when allowed by God to do so.  The Son could raise the dead of His own choosing.  Obviously, the Son would always be submitted to God in the first place (per vs. 19), but the Son has the power to give life to anyone.
    1. The Son has the power to give life to YOU.

22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

  1. Point #5: The Son is empowered by the Father.  He is invested with the right and authority to judge all men.  Notice what it is that happens at the resurrection: judgment.  There’s a reason vs. 22 follows vs. 21…they logically flow together.  The dead will be raised, and Jesus will give life to whom He will give life because He has been invested with the right and responsibility to judge.  “All judgment” has been committed to the Son.  He is the One that will look upon the lives of men and women, and will rightfully judge where each person spends eternity.
    1. Question: How is this reconciled with John 3?  There, it would seem that Jesus condemns no one:  John 3:16–18, "(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” . Of course, that’s absolutely true – but that’s not all that’s written.  What is often forgotten is that this statement goes on to explain what the condemnation actually is: John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." .  This gets to the heart of the two comings of Jesus Christ.  The first time, Jesus came as the Servant of God, to seek and to save the lost.  He came to be the sacrifice for our sin, and to make our salvation possible by rising from the dead.  In that, Jesus did not come to judge or condemn the world, because we had already been left in a place of condemnation due to our sin.  Yet when Jesus comes back, that condemnation will be ratified.  Those who are left in their sin will be judged in their sin.  If we’ve rejected the sacrifice of Jesus that He made on our behalf during His 1st Coming, then we have nothing but the full judgment of Jesus to face upon His 2nd Coming.  Thus, there’s no contradiction at all – it’s simply the fullness of the role of Jesus as the Son of God.
    2. That the Lord Jesus Christ has been invested by God to carry out role of eternal judgment ought to be a sobering thought.  It ought to give pause to all those who try to claim a difference between the so-called “God of the Old Testament” and “God of the New Testament.”  Those who think that Jesus is a heavenly push-over, who only came to teach people about love and nice-thoughts towards one another are in for quite a surprise on the Day of Judgment when they see King Jesus sitting in the role of the Judge.  And make no mistake about it, that is exactly what He will be doing.  Revelation 20:11–12, "(11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." . If Jesus is the image of the invisible God, Who exactly is it that John sees seeing on the great white throne as the Judge?  Jesus.  This is precisely the role Jesus said He would have here in John 5.
    3. The good news here for every Christian is that Jesus is not only our Judge, but He is also our attorney.  We are not left without a defense – Jesus Himself stands in our place.  1 John 2:1–2, "(1) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (2) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." .
  2. Point #6: The Son is to be honored just as the Father.  The very thing the Jews were NOT doing is exactly what they should have been doing.  They were accusing Jesus of dishonoring God, when it was the Jewish authorities who were dishonoring God when they dishonored Jesus.  What does it mean to “honor” Jesus?  It means to value Him, to treat Him as precious.  It means to worship Him.  The Son is just as worthy as worship as the Father.  The Son receives worship just as the Father receives worship.  Conversely, if we do not worship the Son as we worship the Father, then we do not truly worship the Father at all.  It doesn’t matter how much someone claims to love God and worship Him if they do not recognize and worship Jesus as God the Son.
    1. This goes straight of the heart of our ideas today regarding so-called “religious tolerance.”  So many people believe that all religions basically worship the same God, but we just call Him by different names.  Thus to say that someone is under a false belief is “intolerant.”  If that was the case, then Jesus is the most “intolerant” of all!  Jesus explicitly said that the person who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father.  Thus if Jesus isn’t worshipped as Lord, then God isn’t worshipped at all.  Any religion that doesn’t worship Jesus as God does not worship God at all.
    2. Is this intolerant or hateful of Jesus?  Absolutely not!  It’s gracious & compassionate.  Jesus doesn’t throw this in the face of the Jewish authorities to tell them that they’re going to hell and He’s happy about it.  He tells them this to tell them the truth .  By rejecting Jesus, they are rejecting God.  They’re rejecting the One they’ve always called God, and the One they had historically worshipped as God.  They are turning away from their only hope for salvation and everlasting life.  They needed to know the truth if they were to be saved.  And it’s no different with us.  Facts are facts; it’s not a matter of tolerance or intolerance.  Gravity is simply gravity – it’s not hateful to be told you will die if you jump off a 12 story building; it’s compassionate in that you might have your life spared the fall.  Likewise with the truth of Jesus.  It’s not hateful to be told He is the only way, truth, and life; it’s compassionate in that we might believe upon Him and be saved.  God wants us to be saved, so He tells us the truth.  And the truth is that Jesus is His Son – that Jesus is God, and that Jesus is to be believed upon and worshipped as God.  So worship Him & honor Him!

Jesus has much more to say to the Jews in His defense, but as He begins, He begins with the relationship that He shares with the Father.  As the eternal Son of God, Jesus is simply doing what His Father has been doing.  Jesus hadn’t sinned by healing a man on the Sabbath day.  If the Jews labled that as "sin," then they had missed what the Sabbath was all about.  They weren’t resting in God; they were working in their vain attempts to rest – being a walking contradiction.  It was the Son of God who would do the work for them, if they only believed.

And that was what they were missing.  They didn’t believe.  They didn’t recognize the Son AS the Son, and thus they didn’t recognize the Father as the Father. They may have called God their God, but they showed they didn’t honor God by their accusations dishonoring the Son.  The Son IS God.  He imitates God, is beloved by God, is informed by God, has the same power as God, is empowered by God, and is to be honored as God.  Like Father, like Son.  If we honor one, we will honor the other.

That all begs the question: do you honor God?  Do you worship God through your worship of Jesus?  Do you recognize Jesus as God Himself, believing upon Him as Lord? 

More than that, are you resting in His work on your behalf?  We can work ourselves into fits all the while claiming Jesus is Lord.  Jesus calls us to rest.  Find your rest in Christ!

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