Monday, June 6, 2011

John 5:17ff: V

Let’s consider the three Truly, truly statements of Jesus in John Chapter Five; remembering that when Jesus Christ says Truly, truly that it is the equivalent of Yahweh’s pronouncement in the Law and the Prophets, Thus says the LORD. Here is the first statement:

Therefore Jesus 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

The actions of the Father and Son are the same because the nature and essence of the Father and Son are the same. Whatever the Father does the Son does in like manner. The Son does not imitate the Father; that is, this is not an imitation of action in the sense of copying the action of another; this is the same action flowing from the same nature. 

If whatever the Father does the Son does, and if the Son can only do what He sees the Father doing; then the Son sees the Father at all times; once again, this speaks to the oneness of God in the mystery of the Trinity. 

For the Father loves the Son, and
                shows Him all things that He Himself is doing;
and the Father will show Him greater works than these,
                     so that you will marvel.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,
      even so the Son also gives life to whom He wills. 

The beginning of the Gospel makes clear that the Word was God. There is no qualification to the statement and the Word was God; that is, the author is not saying that the Word was God in this sense or that sense – there is no qualifying sense in which the Word was God – the Word was God is an unqualified statement of fact.  It is also clear that all things were made through Him [the Word] and without Him was not anything made that was made. Hence, the Word is Creator; and in light of John 5:17ff this should not surprise us for all that the Father does the Son does. 

The introduction in Chapter One provides the lens through which to read the Gospel; it is the framework in which to view the relational Trinitarian language of the Gospel. The Father loves the Son and shows Him all things, this is relational language, as is the statement below that the Father has given all judgment to the Son. The Scriptures contain the language of subordination of function in which we see the Son being subject to the Father, but they do not contain the language of subordination of nature with respect to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

The Scriptures also contain relational language of love within the Trinity, as we see in this passage, the Father loves the Son. To say that the Trinity is a mystery in the sense of being able to perceive and understand God in His fullness is but to acknowledge that God is God and that we are His creatures. Yes, even as His sons and daughters, even as those invited into the koinonia of the Trinity, even as bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh…we are still but children on our best days. 

Jesus, in proclaiming His nature and identity says that the Son gives life to whom He wills. Jesus is God, the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us and this is that Word proclaiming that He gives life to whom He wills, this Truly, truly statement is truly from God.

   For not even the Father judges anyone, but
                 He has given all judgment to the Son,
                        so that all will honor the Son even as
                                     they honor the Father. 

He who does not honor the Son does not
honor the Father who sent Him.

Jesus not only proclaims that He gives life to whom He wills, but He follows that statement with the proclamation that the Father has given Him all judgment. Consider what Jesus Christ has just said in this Truly, truly statement:

       Everything God the Father does He does.
       He, Jesus, gives life to whom He will. That is, He is the Giver of life.               He, Jesus, has been given all judgment. That is, He is the Judge of the people of the earth.           
       Lastly, the person who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.

Jesus has just proclaimed His Divinity in no uncertain terms and His hearers well knew it.

In our syncretistic age many professing Christians would like to excise the statement that, He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. We would often like to mitigate these unequivocal statements of Jesus Christ about Himself. We would like to apologize for unambiguous statements such as, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.

Perhaps we are not convinced that Jesus is God? Perhaps He is not God in our own lives…not really? Perhaps if we saw Jesus Christ as God of very God we would be more forthright in our declaration of who He is and that we would realize that He is not one option among many?

God appeared on Mount Sinai in concealed form and Moses was not permitted to see His face; Jesus Christ, God of very God, has appeared on this planet; He has not concealed Himself, He has been clear about Who He is and His nature; the Exodus motif is played out once again from John Chapter One through Chapter 21; a Deliverer, a Salvation, the building of a Tabernacle, and God indwelling His Tabernacle. But this time, in the Gospel of John, God has not appeared in a cloud on a mountain or even as a cloud in a Tabernacle, He has appeared in Person first…and then in His true Tabernacle…His people.

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