Sermon – March 10, 2019
John 5:19-24 – The Equality of the Son (mp3)
The Jews rightly realized Jesus’ claim to equality with God. But Jesus wants to make sure that all know rightly his relationship to his Father. So today, we look at what it means for Jesus to be the true Son of God, how this impacts his relationship with the Father, and how this makes him equal with God. Such teaching will touch at the very heart of the Trinitarian relationships and essence, and as such is mentally taxing and challenging. However, desire to know the nature of God should not be viewed as crass intellectualism, but rather a act of faith by which we love God with our minds. Today, then, let us consider the equality of the Son by looking at
1. The essence of the Son
Jesus is clear: the Son can do nothing on his own. We should not understand this statement as a mere choice, as though the Son simply chooses to not act on his own. Rather, the essence of the Son is such that he cannot act outside of the Father. But Jesus wishes to make something else clear: the Son, by virtue of the Father showing him all he does in love, can do all that the Father does. The Son acts alongside the Father in all things, for while they are distinct, they each have the same essence – both are fully God.
2. The employment of the Son
Why does God use this somewhat complex arrangement? Why does the Father not just come down to us on his own? Wouldn’t that make our understanding of him easier? No! It would cloud our understanding of the true and living God. If God is to reveal himself, he must reveal himself through the Son. So, God will make us marvel through even more wondrous acts that healing a lame man – he will raise even the dead. In that act (the raising of Lazarus) we hear Jesus thanking God so that all would know that the Father sent him. The miracle draws our amazement to the nature of God through the employment of the Son.
3. The esteem of the Son
We might be mistaken, with all of the “giving,” “showing,” and “sending” language of John that the Father is indeed greater than the Son. Their relationship is somewhat uni-directional, always moving from the Father to the Son. Yet, God gives the Son something that undermines such thoughts: judgment that is to lead to honor. All judgment is given to the Son, who is able to judge with the perfection of God. The Father does this so that the Son might be honored just as the Father is honored. The equality of the Son is seen in how the Father esteems the Son.
4. The effect of the Son
Because of the above, the effect of hearing the Son, and believing in the signs given to him through the one who sent him, is nothing short of everlasting life. The way to life goes directly through the Son. Let us be clear why Jesus can promise this to us, and why we can secure it only through him: because he is equal to the Father, as the true and unique Son of God, begotten before all ages and sent to redeem us. Here is the true Sabbath – a rest from all our efforts and ease from our burdens. Let us place our hopes in him!