The Relationship of The Son to The Father
In verse 18, John told us the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because, by calling God his father, he was making himself equal to God. This would have been blasphemy to the Jews who did not understand who Jesus was. They understood there was a fundamental distinction between the infinite, holy God, and the finite, fallen man or woman They were correct in this. This is part of what holiness is.
For example, 1 Samuel 2:2 says: “There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you”.
Jeremiah 10:6-7 says:
“there is none like you, O Lord; you are great and your name is great win might. Who would no fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.”
Today there are many who do not understand this distinction. They see God as a superman, or as Santa Claus figure, or a cuddly grandfather. They have a low and incorrect view of God.
The Jews had a high and correct view of God. Their problem was they did not believe that Jesus was not just a man. Therefore, they saw his claims as outrageous.
There seems to be a sense also that the Jews thought Jesus was setting himself up against the Father as a competing God. To correct this view, Jesus explained the relationship between him as the Son and God as the Father. That relationship consists of love, communication and submission.
First, Jesus rebutted the idea that he competes with the Father or is independent of him. He said he could do nothing of his own accord, or initiative. (19) He is not denying his divinity here. Jesus is of the same essence as the Father and equal in divinity (their divine nature). Although Jesus asserts his submission to the Father here, he still makes a claim to deity, because he is able to see and do what the Father himself is doing. He would have to be God to do that.
But, in their roles, Jesus is submissive to the Father. He does only what he sees the Father doing.
We see this submission in John 3:16. God the Father sent the Son. The Father initiated the action and sent the Son. The Son responded in obedience and performed the Father’s will by coming to us and accomplishing the Father’s plan of redemption.
Second, the Father loves the Son. (20) Out of that love, he shows the Son all that he is doing. That is why the Son can do whatever he sees the Father doing.
So, the Father expresses his love for the Son by disclosing (communicating) all he is doing, and the Son expresses his love for the Father by perfectly obeying the Father, perfectly accomplishing his will.
Knowing these two truths, we know that the Son in his obedience to the Father reveals the Father to us, and to the Jews of his time, as he does what the Father is doing, as he performs the Father’s will. Remember John 1:18, which says “No one has ever seen God: the only God who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” And later, in 14:9, Jesus will say that whoever has seen him has seen the Father.
So the Father showed the Son all that he is doing and the Son revealed it by doing what he sees the Father doing. But, Jesus said, the Father will show Jesus even greater works. (20)
These “works” he has shown would include the healing of the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda, the event that started this whole confrontation with the Jews. But there will be greater works than these healings. These greater works will be done so that they will marvel and realize that Jesus is sent by the Father.
What greater works will they see? They will see Jesus raise people from the dead as the Father does (Deuteronomy 32:39), because the Son can give life to whom he will.(21) They will see Jesus raise the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, and Lazarus. All of these will be a prelude to his own resurrection.
There is likely an eschatological sense to this as well. Upon his return, Jesus will raise all of those who believe in him.
The Jews saw God’s giving of life this way; it occurred at the end of this age. We see this in Jesus’ discussion with Martha after the death of Lazarus. Jesus told her “your brother will rise again”. Martha said she knew he would rise again in the resurrection of the last day.
Jesus responded to Martha by saying he is the resurrection and the life. (John 11:23-28) In other words, he had the power and authority to raise the dead and give them life at the resurrection. And he would prove it by raising Lazarus immediately.
Not only does Jesus have the power to give life to the dead, he has been given the right to judge humanity. The reason he has been given that authority is so that all will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. It is the will of the Father that the Son be honored as he is honored. And the honoring of the Son brings honor to the Father.
We see this in Philippians 2:9-11:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.
The Father exalted the Son, honoring him and requiring all to honor him. That results in glory to the Father.
Just as honoring the Son honors the Father, the converse is true also. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (23) This should be a plainly recognized truth. You could hardly say you honored someone if you dishonored and mistreated the one he sent to you.
Jesus illustrated this point in a story he told. We know it as the Parable of the Tenants. (Matthew 21:33) In that story, a man planted a vineyard and leased it to tenants. He sent servants to the tenants to obtain some of the fruit, but the tenants beat them and stoned them. The owner then sent his son. But they killed him. The owner reacted by putting the tenants to death. When the tenants dishonored the son, they dishonored the father.
The statement that whoever does not honor the Son does to honor the Father is directed at the Jews. They claimed to honor the Father. But Jesus tells them they must honor him, as the Son, to honor the Father. This truth applies to all who practice any form of Deism. Deism acknowledges God, at least in some form, but not the divinity of Jesus. But, since they do not honor the Son, they do not actually honor the Father.
Verse 24 is a conclusion of the truths Jesus has stated. Since he has been given the power to give life to those he chooses, and since he has been given the power to judge, he can say that those who hear his word and believes the one who sent him (the Father) has eternal life and does not come into judgment.
John 3:16 told us that the Father gave, or sent, his Son, that those who believe in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is the will of the Father, and the word or teaching of Jesus, and we must believe the Father to be saved. We must believe that he sent Jesus and that we have eternal life because of our belief in him.
We receive this eternal life when we believe. We pass from death to life, meaning eternal life. Colossians 1:13 -14 says
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
That eternal life is our inheritance, kept not by us, but by God’s power, in heaven, so that it cannot be defiled or degraded. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
We also do not come into judgment. This is the picture of Revelation 20:11-15. Those who have received eternal life have their names written in the Book of Life. All others were judged by their works, represented by the “books” that were opened, like accounting ledgers. They are condemned. Believers are not judged or condemned. Instead, they see the new heaven and new earth where they live with Father and Son for eternity.
So, eternal life for believes is both “now” and “not yet”. It is now in the sense that we have received eternal life and have been transferred into Christ’s kingdom. But it is “not yet” in that we do not receive it fully until Christ’s kingdom is fully revealed in the new heavens and earth.
Jesus fleshed that out in verse 25 as he said an hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear Jesus’ voice and live. Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead with his voice, his word. But at the resurrection, that will become fully realized when he calls us to meet him in the air to live with him forever.
Jesus can do this because the Father granted him the right to have life in himself and to execute judgment. Jesus told them not to marvel at this statement, for the hour is coming when all in the tombs will hear his voice and come out. Some will come out to resurrection life. They are those who have done good by believing in Jesus. (29)
Others will come forth who have done evil, who are still in their sins, and then face the judgment. This again was shown us in revelation 20.
Read Revelation 20 again and you will see that you want to avoid the Judgment. Believe in Jesus today and receive eternal life instead of judgment.