John 5:17-20 – Lesson #53

When Jesus healed a man by the pool, a confrontation began regarding the Sabbath; “the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath” (John 5:16). Jesus initiated this confrontation to show how far the interpretation of the law had strayed from the original intent. However, Jesus used the opportunity to teach about His true identity and His relationship with the Father.

John 5:17-20
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ 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. 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. 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.'”

Jesus began His defense by saying God is always at work. While it’s true that God “rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2), that did not mean God stopped working. The work of Creation was complete, but God continues to work through the processes of nature as well as the sovereign guidance of world events and the loving nurture of His children.

If Jesus would have just said we can work because God is still at work, the Jewish leaders would have still been angry. They could have accused Jesus of a misinterpretation of Scripture. But Jesus carefully chose His words and called God, “My Father.” His statement implied an exclusive and unique relationship with God – a relationship which placed Him on an equal level as God. This bold assertion sent the leaders into a rage and they wanted Jesus to die all the more.

Many people try to attack the true identity of Jesus. One such attack says Jesus never claimed to be God. Those who make such a statement have not considered the complete meaning of scripture. We may be uncertain about what Jesus meant in saying “My Father,” but the Jewish leaders who heard His words knew exactly what He meant – Jesus was “making Himself equal with God.”

Although Jesus clearly claimed equality with God, He also explained the unique relationship. Jesus was equal with God and yet completely dependent on God for His actions. He had all the power of the universe and yet walked with complete submission to His Father. The Father revealed and the Son accomplished all things.

Jesus claimed to be God, and His claim is either true or He is a liar. Scripture does not allow for Jesus to be just a good and moral teacher. It is inconsistent to call Jesus just an example to follow. If we believe Jesus to be a man of integrity, then we must also give Him our life and believe that He is God.

Have a Great Day!
Steve Troxel God’s Daily Word Ministries