John 5:18-47

For the first couples centuries of the Church, Christians tried to figure out a way to explain the relationship of Jesus, the Son of God to God the Father. The mysterious conclusion the Church came up with explained that personhood need not equate to separation among the Godhead. In other words, despite God the Father and God the Son being distinct in identity as they relate to humanity in appearance, their origin, absolute reality, and existence is the same. They are inseparable in their expression or essence.

Thus Christ is able to fully honor God the Father while simultaneously honoring Himself. It’s beautifully complex in its simplicity. His statement in John 5:19 that “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing is true as it pertains to Christ’s holiness but also as it pertains to His willingness and ability to stray from the will of God. This is the power of inseparable union.

Jesus sees everything God does. Because of this Jesus reveals God’s goodness as the world marvels. This is the pattern of Jesus’ ministry. Reveal the works and word of God and allow others to testify to about Him. This is how the people are given the opportunity to know and honor God.

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Jesus demonstrates that to honor is to imitate. Honoring can mean bowing one’s knee, but it also means following. In honor, authority is bestowed. Honor those in positions of authority and they will yield their authority to you.

Jesus takes his time explaining the relation between authority and witness and how God works together with the best part of creation to tell the story of God’s goodness. Jesus presents his listeners with a chance to find full life, to avoid divine judgment, and to believe in Himself.

He leaves it open-ended. After all, it’s still early in the Gospel according to John. There are a lot more miracles still to be done, a lot more forgiveness to be offered and a lot more about God to be revealed. But up to this point Jesus has only done work deserving of honor. And what we find as we read through the Gospel and throughout life, that all Jesus does honors humanity by offering them opportunity to be safe and whole, reconciled to God.

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