In the second ½ of John chapter 5, Jesus is speaking to those who would persecute Him. They were already angry with His ‘presumptuousness’.
He doesn’t back down.
He says hard, true things.
Jesus is Who He says He is.
He isn’t going to change that because someone doesn’t like it.
v19 “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’”
This statement is so important that He proclaims its truth before He even says it. This alone makes me pay extra attention. Immediately upon reading this, I think of John 15:5 “...apart from Me you can do nothing.” I am deeply aware of my inability to get through even an hour without His help. And when I read His statement about Himself, it makes me even more aware of my inadequacy to tackle life on my own.
If the Son of God Himself does nothing on His own, indeed in v30 He states, “By Myself, I can do nothing...”, then it is sheer arrogance for any human to think he can draw one breath without God the Father’s sustaining power. And yet, so often, this is exactly what we act like. Like we are strong and powerful and can take on the world in our ‘omnipotence’. We might not state that in words, but our actions often speak our attitude. YIKES! Save me from myself, LORD! I want to walk in humility before You.
v20 talks about my proper response to God’s wonderful works being one of amazement. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.” (NASB)
If I’m looking at me and am preoccupied with my things, how will I see what He is doing? I MUST be paying sharp attention and focus on Him. He wants me to marvel. HE IS MARVELOUS!!!
In this verse the Father’s love for the Son is declared. In verse 23 the Father’s desire for the Son to be honored is expressed. “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father Who sent Him.” This verse makes me SO sad for a loved one who thinks he can have the Father without the Son.
God’s Word is VERY clear that this will not happen. John himself talks about this concept in other places as well. I think of John 14:6: “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and 1John 5:11-12: “...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
When I read verse 21, my heart felt so grateful: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it.” All I could think is, ‘He picked me! He chose me!’ And with these thoughts came welling up a deep-seated joy!
So many have such a hard time believing Jesus is Who He says He is. It is a sheer miracle that any of us take His Words to heart and believe. I am so glad He has made my heart a believing heart. I rejoice at the spirited, joyful cry of Hebrews 10:39: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Even so, I struggle with doubts in some areas and have to cry like the father in Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
I think of this as I read verses 38 and 39 (Amplified): “And you have not His Word (His thought) living in your hearts, because you do not believe and adhere to, and trust in, and rely on Him Whom He has sent...You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!”
Jesus is writing to non-believers in context, but I think I can apply His Words to myself as well. I have believed Him for salvation and many changes, but by my worry and anxiety, I am indicating that I do not believe His every Word. It doesn’t matter how much I study. If I don’t appropriate His Words into my very heart in complete belief and trust, it is not helping me. I am not helped in real life situations. Only as I place my complete trust in Him can I have peace in knowing that He will be my help and stay through every life event.
This is what I am after.
This is the victory I seek.
And I KNOW it is coming!
I know freedom from worry and peaceful belief is His Will for EVERY believer. So I know I am praying ‘according to His Will’. And if I pray that way, I know I will receive what I have prayed for! Why? Because He promises! And all His promises are ‘YES!’
Jesus’ life goal was always to do God’s will. This chapter shows that amply and clearly states it in verse 30: “I seek not to please Myself, but Him Who sent Me.” Oh how I want this to be my main ambition as well! I fall so short. But I take courage because I know He is going to complete every good work He begins in me (Philippians 1:6).
In verse 34, Jesus says: “...but I say these things that you may be saved.” (NASB)
Jesus’ works testified to Who He was, just as John the Baptist did and just as the Father’s testimony about Him did. “For the very work that the Father has given Me to finish, and which I AM doing, testifies that the Father has sent Me (v36).” (I always like to capitalize the ‘am’ when Jesus is speaking to emphasize Who He is!)
In parting, a quote from Beth Moore in Praying God’s Word that I read just today:
“Faith is not believing in my own unshakeable belief. Faith is believing an unshakeable God when everything in me trembles and quakes.”
Verses are NIV unless otherwise noted.