The words before us were spoken by Jesus to “them” — Jews who sought to kill Jesus because He had broken the sabbath and said that He worked on the sabbath as “My Father worketh” (v. 17). These Jews thought to live by the law of Moses and sought to impose the righteousness of the law upon others. They viewed Jesus as a blasphemer worthy of death by stoning. They saw themselves as righteous. Their actions, however, reveal that they were unable to distinguish between one sent from God and one empowered by Satan. Blinded by their self-righteousness, they failed to recognize the righteousness of God.
Jesus was confronted with a difficult situation. How should He respond? This question is answered in the text before us.
The issue with these Jews was Jesus’ statement that He was the Son of God, and, therefore equal with God. Jesus told them how that they should recognize the Son. He said the Son can only do that which the Father has showed Him.
The Jews recognized that God was above sabbath regulations. They knew that He who keeps Israel neither slumbers or sleeps (Ps. 121:4). The Jews practiced circumcism on the eighth day according to the law. If the eighth day fell on the sabbath, circumcism was not delayed. They had no issue with God healing upon the sabbath. Their problem was they did not recognize the Son. Jesus told them how they might recognize the Son. The Son is He who does the things which the Father shows Him.
“For the Father loveth the Son . . .” (v. 20). The Father loves the Son. The Father’s love was cause for God to show the Son all that He does. Love prompted the Father to reveal His ways to the Son. The Son responded to that which the Father showed Him when He (Jesus) instructed the man with the infirmity of thirty and eight years to rise and to take up his bed and walk (v. 5).We see the Father through the Son. We see the helpless man being made free of both his physical infirmity and the constraints of the law. The love of the Father is revealed to all New Testament believers in that Christ has made us free of the law which no man can keep.
In verse 21, Jesus stated that the Son would quicken the dead in the same manner as the Father raises up and quickens the dead. All scripture-believing Jews are certain that God quickens the dead. Isaiah declares that God shall cause the earth to cast out the long-dead (Isa. 26:19). God gave life to the recent-dead in I Kings 17:17-24, II Kings 4:18-37, and II Kings 13:20-21. New Testament scriptures record Jesus doing that which God the Father did. Jesus restored life to the son of the widow of Nain, to Jarus’ daughter and to Lazarus. Matthew records that graves were opened following Jesus’ resurrection and many bodies of the saints arose and were seen by many (Matt. 27:52-53).
In verse 22, Jesus announced that the Father has committed all judgment unto the Son. Again, these words were spoken to them who did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. These words were spoken to the very ones who would deliver Jesus to the Romans to be crucified. Why did Jesus speak to ears of them who refused to hear? The Son came into the world to seek and to save. These words were not for those who would never believe, but for them who would later believe when they saw the Son do the works of the Father.
In verse 23, Jesus states that the Father has given all judgment unto Him because it is the Father’s will that the Son be honored as the Father. Jesus stated that the only manner in which one can honor the Father is by honoring the Son. There are no work-arounds; there are no exceptions. If one believes one can honor the Father separate from the Son, one does not believe the Father who said: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
How should one honor the Son? Jesus provides the answer in verse 24. The Son is honored when one hears the Son and believes on the Father who sent Him. God the Son and God the Father count belief for righteousness. One passes from death unto life upon believing. It is God’s will that the dead should hear the voice of the Son and live.
All shall be resurrected. Some to life everlasting and some to everlasting damnation. Again, the Son reveals the Father and speaks the words of the Father. Compare Daniel 12:2 to verse 29. All shall come forth to be judged by the Son. The Father has given authority to the Son because He is the Son of man (v. 27). Jesus is the Son of man which Daniel beheld (Dan. 7:13). Jesus is the Messiah who would be cut off but not for Himself (Dan. 9:26). Jesus is the Son of God by the word of God. He is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6).
Believe the Father and be made righteous by the Son who was without sin.