I’m sure most of us have read the fifth chapter of John particularly some of the words that Jesus has for the religious leaders of His day. Like other times during His ministry, Christ did not mince words as He was straightforward and honest and when He needed to be, harsh. Throughout the fifth chapter of John, we learn much about Christ and His relationship with the father which is crucial for believers.
As great as this chapter is for our understanding of God in the form of the Trinity, it’s upsetting when people take the lessons within this chapter and others throughout scripture and use them out of context. This is one of those chapters that people claim there is no Trinity and that God is separate from Christ and both of these statements are wrong as there is a Trinity and the Bible speaks of this and Christ is God.
When we break down different verses within this chapter, we see exactly how Christ’s relationship with the father works. For example, when we read that the Son does nothing of Himself, we understand that to mean that He is obedient to the Father’s Will as He does nothing independently as He submits Himself to the Father. However, when we read this, it should not be taken to mean that Christ is somehow inferior to God as His submission is His choice and not out of coercion or an inferior nature: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;” (John 5:26).
We know from the words of Christ that what God does, the Son does also: “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). What Christ is saying here is that the work He does is both the work and the Will of the Father and by doing so, Christ showed us exactly what the Work and Will of God, is. More importantly, though, we learn that the relationship of the Father and the Son is not one of master and slave, far from it, but is one of equality and unity: “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel” (John 5:20).
Christ is adamant that what He does is not because He is forced to or is coerced into it but rather, because the Father and the Son are united together, as one, and that the things He does, they do: “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:31). One of the many things that I love about Christ is His humility and it’s so refreshing to read about it as so many in today’s society live for themselves and only themselves. Here, and other places, we read Christ not taking credit for what He did but rather, proclaiming His faith and loyalty to the Father. Christ’s life on Earth served as a lesson to those who were with Him and remains the greatest lesson for us, today: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6).
When we read scripture, we also need to make note of how certain words are used and no, I do not want to turn this into an English class but we do have to read what is written and how it is written. When we read that the Father loves the Son, this piece of scripture donates a continuing emotion of love, not one that ends someplace and we are told this earlier in John: “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand” (John 3:36). We see further evidence of this earlier when Christ healed a paralyzed man and while the religious leaders were amazed at what they saw, Christ told them that there were greater things to come: “….and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel….” (John 5:20).
We further see the relationship of God the Father and God the Son is one in the same: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time nor seen his shape” (John 5:37). Nowhere in scripture does Christ say that He and His Father are different and while the relationship is unique and difficult for many to understand, Christ makes it clear that nobody comes to the Father except through Him—indicating that they are one in the same—and that there is only one way to Eternal Salvation and that’s through Him: “ Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).