John 5:19-23 “The Father The Son”

Introduction:  Jesus stands before men being accused of breaking the Law of Moses.  Both of the things He is accused of are serious.  They both carry the penalty of death.  It would seem that breaking the Sabbath would not be as bad as claiming to be God.  One who claimed to be God was guilty of blaspheme.  Jesus claimed to be God but this was not blaspheme for He is God.  The Old Testament gives ample evidence that the messiah who was to come was God himself.  Isaiah called Him God’s seed and David called Him Lord.  Look closely at Gen 22:8  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. God did indeed provide himself a lamb.  God literally came in the flesh and became himself the lamb that would be the sacrifice for our sins.

            Remember that there is only one God.  We worship only one God.  This one God has three persons.  There are three persons in the one God head.  All three are equal and all three are to be honored, respected, and reverenced equally.  God the Father is not greater than God the Son or God the Holy Spirit.  They are all equal in rank and they make up the one true and living God.  Don’t be discouraged or disappointed in yourself if you do not understand this concept for I know of no one who understands God.  We must accept God for who He by faith. 


(John 5:19)  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of (from) himself, but what he seeth (may see) the Father do (doing): for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

            Jesus is questioned further about His statement that implied that He was the Son of God.  The Jews believe that He is guilty now of not only breaking the Sabbath but also of blaspheme.  Notice in His answer that Jesus talks in the third person.  He did not say “I can do nothing of myself but what I see the Father do...”  Jesus is speaking to a group that does not like Him.  He does not seek to alienate them even more but compassionately tries to explain exactly how things work between God the Father and God the Son.  He thus uses the third person so that they will understand the principle without forcing them to put Jesus in the role of the Son.  They know that Messiah is coming and though they do not believe that Jesus is He they still need to know what to look for in the Messiah whoever He may be.  It seems to me that the use of the third person by Jesus is an act of compassion.  He loves these men though they hate Him.

            Jesus wanted them to stop and look at the facts which were before them before making any further claim to being the Son of God.  Fact #1:  He had miraculously healed an impotent man.  Fact #2:  He could not have healed the man if it were not the Father’s will for Him to do so.  He did not do this in opposition to the will of the Father.  Fact #3:  It took the power of God to heal the leper. 

            If any of the Jewish leaders would momentarily forget their anger at Him and just look at the facts they could see that the power of God was working through Him.  Therefore, He used the third person rather than the first in order to seek to lead them away from their anger and just consider the facts. 

            He knew that most of them were so filled with anger that they would not give a fair consideration to the facts.  But by giving them this chance to just look at the facts, He would leave them without excuse for their rejection of Him. 

            Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath by working and causing a fellow Jew to work on the Sabbath day.  Remember that Jesus has only broken their tradition and not the Law itself.  If Jesus has broken the Sabbath then God the Father has broken it as well.  Jesus points out that the Messiah will only do those things which His heavenly Father does.  He will do nothing which originates with Himself.  He does not think up things to do but rather only does those things which His father does but also does them in the same way His father does them.

            God the father did not die on the cross.  He willed that the Son do so and the Son did the Father’s will.  Jesus did the will of the Father at all times.  He is thus our example.  We should also seek to do the Father’s will at all times.  Our every move and action ought to be that which pleases God the Father.  We can see God’s work through His word and He has left us plenty of examples in His word of how we are to behave in this world.  It is our duty to respect God the Father and obey His commands.  With the help of the Holy Spirit we can accomplish this daunting task.

            It still seems puzzling to me that the Holy Spirit had John to use the verb to do instead of the verb to speak or say.  It would seem that Jesus did what the Father told Him to do and this is indeed true.  But Jesus did what He saw the Father do.  This is what the Holy Spirit has had recorded for us here in this text.  The Son is watching the Father and the Father is leading the Son by example.  In some way the Father is showing the Son what to do and what He wants done.  I must now believe that this is true for Jesus said “Verily, verily, I say unto you.”  It is not given unto us to understand how God works for He is greater than we are and His ways are higher than our ways.  I shall believe then that God the Father shows the Son what He is to do and the Son observes the Father and follows His example.

            Had Jesus not done the will of His Father completely He would not have been able to redeem us unto God.  God required a perfect sacrifice for our sins and He provided for us a perfect sacrifice in His Son Jesus Christ.  All who believe in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life and will not come into condemnation but are past from death unto life.


(John 5:20)  For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

            God is a God of love.  God is love personified.  God the Father Loves God the Son.  We know that He loves the Son because He shows the Son every thing He does.  He does not hide anything from the Son.  He never forsakes His Son. The events at Calvary and the fact that Jesus willingly laid down His life for us is the reason God loves His Son. (John 10:17)  The Father directs the Son by example.  He shows the Son what He wants done.  The Father showed the Son who, how, when, and where He was to heal humans.  The Son saw this and proceeded to follow the example displayed by the Father.  For an example of how this may work we can look at Moses.  Moses was to build the Tabernacle and its furnishings according to the pattern He was shown in the mount.  He saw there what the finished product was to look like and he was to make all things exactly as he was shown.  God the Father has shown the Son what He does and the Son follows the father and does the same things.

            Jesus goes on to say that greater works than these will be shown Him by the father.  This indicates that the Father was not finished showing the Son His works.  There was much work to be done and greater works than healing would be done.  Jesus will calm the storm, walk on water, and raise the dead.  The greatest work of all would be His death and resurrection.  Thus greater works indeed would be seen by men than the healing of a man who had been infirmed for thirty eight years.


(John 5:21)  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

            Jesus now tells them specifically what greater work they will see the Son do.  He will make the dead live.  The Father had raised the dead.  In the Old testament there were several people raised from the dead.  Ezekiel saw a whole valley full of dead men’s bones come to life.  Elijah raised a boy from the dead as did Elisha.  Even after he was dead, Elisha’s dead bones raised a man from the dead. 

            I was dead spiritually and Jesus gave me spiritual life.  Jesus gives spiritual life to all who will repent and trust in Him.  John 11:25  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

            Jesus raised from the dead the widow of Nain’s son, The daughter of Jairus, Lazarus, and Himself.  Jesus will ultimately bring forth all the dead that are saved in an event the scriptures call the first resurrection.  He will also raise all the lost dead in the second resurrection.  Jesus has this power and when it is exercised every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.


(John 5:22)  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

            There is one thing that the Son does that the Father does not do.  The Father has left all judgment in the hands of the Son.  Jesus makes the perfect judge for He has lived in the flesh and been tempted in all ways like we are and yet without sin.  He will sit and judge the saved and the lost.  The Father will not take part in this.  These Jewish leaders are judging their Judge.  They do not believe in Jesus at this time but one day they, who were so quick to condemn Jesus, will stand before Him and be judged by Him.


(John 5:23)  That all [men] should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

            It is God’s will that all men should honor His Son.  They are to show Him the respect and reverence He is due.  These Jews claim to honor God and if that were true they must honor the Son also.  If they do not honor the Son they do not honor the Father.  You do not honor God the Father by rejecting His Son. 

            There is only one God.  We worship Him in trinity and in unity. The God head has three persons the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All three make up the one God.  This is difficult if not impossible for man to understand.  We must accept it by faith.  Jesus said “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  He went on to say that “I and My Father are one.”  Stephen, as he was being tried by the Jews saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God the Father.  At the baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus in the form of a dove and the Father spoke saying “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.  That there are three persons to the God head is well established by scripture. 

            The Jewish leaders asked Jesus many questions trying to trap Him in His words.  One day Jesus asked them a question which they could not answer.  He said how is it that David by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God called the messiah, his descendent, Lord.  How is it that He is his son and His Lord?  The answer to Jesus’ question is simple but deep and complex.  The Son of David, the messiah who will forever rule from David’s throne, is God.  This means that the messiah was more than a man.  He is the God man, the only begotten Son of God.  These Jews, who were so well studied in the scriptures, should have know this fact and though not understanding it should have accepted it by faith. 

            Do not let anger, tradition, stubbornness, or pride stand in your way of repenting of your sins, believing in, and trusting in Jesus Christ as your savior.  If you reject Jesus Christ you are rejecting the Father as well.  You do not honor God by rejecting His Son.  What will you do with Jesus?