18 April 2017

John 5:19-29

“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.’” (v. 19)

Psalm: Psalm 33


John's Gospel was written around AD100. It was the last of the four Gospels to be written, and differs markedly from the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is thought to have been written by John, the brother of James, who were both the sons of Zebedee. John was one of Jesus' disciples. John contains many long discourses by Jesus in which he explains his role to the disciples.

Verses 19-29 come after Jesus had healed a paralysed man on the Sabbath (John 5:1-18). The Pharisees regarded this to be contrary to the law of Moses. Jesus responded by talking about God as his father. The Jews considered this to be blasphemous because Jesus was making himself equal with God. Jesus was trying to explain to the Pharisees that it was not about breaking the Sabbath law; it was about something much deeper, that is, about who he was and who had sent him.

Jesus explains that he was sent by God, his Father, to do his Father's will on earth. Everything that he did was done in obedience to his Father. This theme can be found in several other passages in this Gospel.

There is an intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. This is a relationship of obedience, and the obedience is based on love.

Jesus was telling the Jews that he was not equating himself with God. Instead, he was explaining that he was carrying out the work the Father sent him to do, and he was doing so through the power which the Father had given him. Moreover, God wanted a relationship with human beings, and this relationship has been made possible by Jesus coming to earth as a human being. The Son has come to give new life and to give it in all its abundance (John 10:10).

To Ponder

  • How do you respond to the fact that Jesus said that the Son can do nothing without the Father?
  • How does the intimate relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son encourage you in your own relationship with God?

Bible notes author

The Revd Lynita Conradie

Lynita Conradie is a Methodist presbyter in the Nottingham North Circuit. Originally from South Africa, she was a human rights' lawyer before entering the ministry and being ordained by the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.