“The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” – John 5:22-23
Not too many years ago, a well-respected leader stepped up to a microphone and spoke to a crowded room of supporters. His greatest desire was to convince them that his religion was superior to every other. To the surprise of many people in the crowd, the speaker had a lot of nice things to say about … Jesus. He praised Jesus as a genuine prophet, a wise teacher and a worthy example of human goodness. But then he said, “Jesus is ALL these things, but He never claimed to be anything more than a man. He never claimed to be God.”
So, let me ask you: Is he right? Truth be told, we don’t have a record of Jesus ever speaking the words: “I am God.” So, did Jesus ever really claim to be God?
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time certainly thought so. Within minutes of Jesus healing the crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda, these leaders started griping. At first they complained because the man who Jesus had healed was holding his bedroll—carrying a “burden” on the Sabbath (John 5:10). When the man said that Jesus had told him to carry it, they shifted their attack to Jesus. And their attack intensified when Jesus declared in verse 17: “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”
John explains why those words set the religious leaders’ teeth on edge: “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (v.18). Now, if Jesus was being falsely accused of being the Son of God, this would be the perfect opportunity to set the record straight. But Jesus doesn’t voice a rebuttal here in John 5. Instead, He doubles down and makes six claims that reinforce His declaration that He is the Son of God:
Claim #1 (vs. 19-20): My actions and God the Father’s actions are identical. Jesus says flat out, “Whatever the Father does the Son also does,” and the Father “shows Him all He does.” No man—or even any angel—would ever say, “My actions are identical with God’s, and God never does anything that He doesn’t first run by me.” So, the claim that Jesus makes in verses 19-20 is NOT a claim that any human or angel can rightfully make.
Claim #2 (vs. 21 and 26): I raise the dead and give life at will. Chuck Swindoll writes, “This would be an outrageous claim for any mere human. Doctors can give medicine or administer treatment in order to delay death, but they cannot give life to a dead body…. Only God can create something from nothing and then fill it with life…. Only God has the power to restore life.” The Bible makes it clear that God alone is the Creator and Sustainer of life.
Claim #3 (vs. 22 and 27): I am the final judge of the living and the dead. In verse 22, Jesus claims that the Father “has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” And in verse 27, Jesus says that the Father “has given Him authority to judge.” God is the only One in the universe qualified to be the eternal Judge of the living and the dead, because God is the only One in the universe who knows absolutely everything about us. And God is the only One who is perfect both in His love AND in His justice. So, when Jesus claims to be the eternal Judge of the living and the dead, He’s claiming to be all-knowing and perfectly holy.
Claim #4 (v. 23): I am worthy to be honored just as God the Father is honored. Jesus is, in effect, claiming a right to be worshiped just as God the Father is worshiped. Once again, no mere human or angel can rightfully make this claim.
Claim #5 (vs. 24-25): Every person’s eternal destiny hinges on Me. If Jesus is telling the truth, where you spend eternity has nothing to do with how good you were or how wicked you were during your lifetime here on earth, or how religious or irreligious you were. In God’s eyes, the man who has “done good” is the man who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and followed Him with his life. And in God’s eyes, the man who has “done evil” is the man who has rejected Him as Savior and Lord and lived life on his own terms. If Jesus is telling the truth here, where you spend eternity has nothing to do with you at all. It has everything to do with Him. It has everything to do with Jesus.
Claim #6 (vs25-29): At the sound of My voice, every person who has ever died will be resurrected. At first glance, this might seem to be the same as Jesus’ second claim, but it’s not. Jesus’ second claim is that He can raise a dead body to life here on earth. But in verses 25-29, Jesus claims to have the authority to resurrect EVERYONE who has died to live forever.
Now, that you’ve heard Jesus’ claims for Himself, you have to decide. You can’t just call Him a “good teacher” or a “prophet”—because He claimed to be the Son of God. Therefore, there are only three logical options: He is either a liar, a lunatic or Lord of all—Lord of the living and the dead, at whose name one day “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Are you willing to receive that which is true? Will you humbly bow before the Son of God, confess Him as your Savior and Lord, turn from your sin and obey His marching orders from this point forward?
Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church.
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