Jesus, Equal With God

John 5:24

John 5:19-47

JN – Then Jesus answered and said to them, “ Most assuredly,

This is an emphatic way of saying, “I’m telling you the truth.” in response to Jewish hostility at the implications of His assertions of equality with God, Jesus became even more fearless, forceful, and emphatic. Jesus essentially tied His activities of healing on the Sabbath directly to the Father. The Son never took independent action that opposed the Father’s will because the Son only did those things that were in perfect agreement with the Father. Jesus thus implied His equality to the Father, since He alone could do what the Father does.

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.

This refers to the powerful work of raising the dead. God has that power (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37; 2 Kings 5:7), and so does the Lord Jesus (John 5:21-29; John 11:25-44; John 14:19; John 20:1-18).

for as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. for the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son

This verse explains why God bestowed all judgment to the Son, i.e., so that “all men should honor the Son just as they honor the father.” Jesus is not a mere herald sent from the heavenly court. He is the King himself, possessing full equality with the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Jesus turned the tables on His opponents who accused Him of blasphemy. Instead, Jesus affirmed that the only way anyone can honor the Father is through receiving the Son. Therefore, the Jews were the ones who actually blasphemed the Father by rejection of His Son.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

This develops the truth of John 5:21, that Jesus gives life to whomever He desires. The people who receive that life are here identified as those who hear the Word and believe in the Father and the Son. They are the people who have eternal life and never will be condemned (Romans 8:1; Colossians 1:13).

Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is,

John 4:23. This phrase reveals an already/not yet tension regarding the resurrection. Those who are born again are already “spiritually” resurrected (“now is”; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13), and yet a future physical resurrection still awaits them (“hour is coming”; 1 Corinthians 15:35-54; Philippians 3:20-21).

when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

The theme of these verses is resurrection.

Jesus related that all men, saved and unsaved, will be literally and physically resurrected from the dead. However, only the saved experience a spiritual (“born again”), as well as physical, resurrection unto eternal life.

The unsaved will be resurrected unto judgment and eternal punishment through separation from God (i.e., the second death; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8). These verses also constitute proof of the deity of Jesus Christ, since the Son has resurrection power (John 5:25-26), and the Father has granted Him the status of Judge of all mankind (John 5:27). In the light of other Scripture, it is clear that Jesus speaks generally about resurrection, but not about one, general resurrection (Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

The Son from all eternity had the right to grant life (John 1:4). The distinction involves Jesus’ deity versus His incarnation. In becoming a man Jesus voluntarily set aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and prerogatives (Philippians 2:6-11). Jesus here affirmed that even in His humanity, the Father granted Him “life-giving” power, i.e., the power of resurrection.

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Jesus was not teaching justification by works (John 6:29). In the context, the “good” is believing on the Son so as to receive a new nature that produces good works (John 3:21; James 2:14-20), while the “evil” done is to reject the Son (the unsaved) and hate the light, which has the result of evil deeds (John 3:18-19). In essence, works merely evidence one’s nature as saved or unsaved (Romans 2:5-10), but human works never determine one’s salvation.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

In summarizing all He has said about His equality with God, Jesus claimed that the judgment He exercised was because everything He did was dependent upon the Father’s word and will.

“If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

The background of these verses is Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15, where witnesses were to establish the truthfulness of a matter (John 1:7). Jesus Himself emphasized the familiar theme of witnesses who testify to the identity of the Son:

  1. John the Baptist (John 5:32-35)
  2. Jesus’ works (John 5:35-36)
  3. the Father (John 5:37-38)
  4. the OT Scriptures (John 5:39-47)

But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish – the very works that I do – bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

John 10:25. The miracles of Jesus were witness to His deity and messiahship. Such miracles are the major signs recorded by John in this gospel, so as to fulfill his purpose in John 20:30-31.

And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.

Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life;

Although the verb search could also be understood as a command (i.e., “Search the Scriptures!”), most prefer this translation as an indicative. The verb implies diligent scrutiny in investigating the Scriptures to find “eternal life.” However, Jesus points out that with all their fastidious effort, they miserably failed in their understanding of the true way to eternal life through the Son of God (Matthew 19:16-25; Matthew 14:6; 2 Timothy 3:15).

and these are they which testify of Me.

Christ is the main theme of Scripture.

But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

They searched for eternal life, but were not willing to trust its only source (John 1:11; John 3:19; John 5:24).

“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; 

If Jesus agreed to be the kind of Messiah the Jews wanted, providing miracles and food along with political and military power, He would receive honor from them. But He sought only to please God.

if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.

The Jewish historian, Josephus, records that a number of messianic pretenders arose in the years before AD 70. This verse contrasts the Jewish rejection of their true Messiah because they did not love or know God with their willing acceptance of charlatans.

How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you – Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

Jesus does not mention any specific passage in the five books of Moses, although there are many (Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 1:21; Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 6:14).

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

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Your Turn

How have you seen Jesus in relation to God? As equal to God? Or more like God, Jr.? How do these Scripture proofs change your thinking? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you about Jesus’ equality with God the Father! ~ Devotionals Daily

John MacArthur

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of the Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. In more than four decades of ministry, John has written dozens of bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, and Slave. He and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.

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