Don't Misunderstand Your Father
If we go back to the beginning of this Gospel, we remember that John, our author, is clarifying the nature of Jesus. He wants to clearly explain what he saw and who Jesus is so that readers can make their own decision about Jesus. And he does this because people misunderstand him. They did in his day, and they do in our ours. And what tends to happen is some people under-emphasize his divine nature, assuming Jesus is only a human. Others will over-emphasize his divine nature, as the Jews have here, proposing that Jesus replaces God.
So the following text is Jesus's clarification about who he is. Listen to what he says:
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. — John 5:19-23
What you read here is Jesus's clarification about his divinity. He presents four "for's," or four distinctions, about his divine nature. First, the Son serves the Father. (Authority) Second, the Father reveals to the Son. (Knowledge) Third, the Son has the power to give life. (Life-Giving Power) Fourth, the Son is given the right to judge. (Judgment)
Now Jesus clarifies this because the Jews have intentionally overstated his divine nature. They were making him out to be God. But Jesus never declared this. So Jesus uses relational titles (i.e., Father and Son) to clarify the lines and limits of his relationship with God.
So why is this important?
It's important because there are all kinds of cascading effects when we get this wrong. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of theological implications if we tip the scales too much one way or the other. But the one implication Jesus is concerned about is our salvation. When we rightly understand the Father, Son, and their relationship, we appreciate their joint purpose. They came to communicate with humanity and bring us back into a divine relationship with the Father's family. We, that's all humanity, are lost children that the Father wants to restore into a right relationship in the family through his Son.
Going back to the beginning of the book, John says it this way:
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." — John 1:12
All humanity is searching for this: a righteous, compassionate, forgiving, and gracious father within a loving family. No man I have ever met who doesn't want and long for this. We have all experienced brokenness in our family. Whether that be our present family or family of origin. What we long for is a good Father. We want to be a part of a loving family. And God is the only good Father that provides it through his Son, which is how we become children of God.
If you long for a good Father, you can have that today by believing in Jesus's name. As a result, that makes us brothers with one very good Father.
ASK THIS: Do you want love from a good Father
DO THIS: Believe in the name of his Son, Jesus, and become a child of God.
PRAY THIS: God, I place myself under your leadership as my good Father. I believe Jesus was your Son. Forgive me of all my sins. Accept me into your holy family. Give me direction by your resurrection Spirit. Today I am a child of God.
PLAY THIS: Good Good Father.
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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.
I think part of the issue brothers in Christ sometimes face in describing or defining God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is the fact that our words and our minds cannot do that. John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.” Hebrews 1:3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person…….” Mathew 11 John is asking who Jesus is. Jesus does not say but rather shows who he is. Vs4 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see.” Then He lists things that He has done that only God has the power to do. So Jesus did not “claim” to be God but Jesus was God. Not God the Father but God the Son. Different same. Two but one. Which is too much for my wee mind to wrap around. So let’s see what some others have to add from their perspective. This is good. Who wants to discuss the bad call in the sporting event when we have JESUS! to talk about? Amen?
Gentlemen, to all of your comments below mine….Jesus never claimed to be God, yet one with him. Part of the same family. My mentor years ago told me to think of the trinity like a government. Prez, vice prez, speaker, yet ONE untied states. If vice prez goes to visit a disaster area he is doing the work that the prez sent him to do on behalf of the U.S. (kingdom). Maybe then he turns it over to the speaker (holy spirit) for when that country needs more help, still all on behalf of the U.S. For my mind that helped my understanding. Jesus didn’t want to offend the Jews by calling himself God but live as an example of God so we all could learn from a human
I am a child of God.
The very first verse of John’s gospel points to the fact that Jesus is God and 1:14 come in the flesh. He can not save us without being fully divine and human. Hoping this was just an oversight Vince which we can all make.
What about John 10:30 where Jesus plainly states I and the father are one?
Immanuel or God with us is a fundamental doctrine that is pretty impossible to wrap our minds around.
Please clarify that Jesus was fully divine.
I have been enjoying your devotionals now for a couple of months since I found them and find myself greatly challenged and encouraged to live in integrity for Jesus Christ. But you said something in todays talk that I would like you to explain, please. You said that “Jesus Christ never claimed to be God.” Did I misunderstand something? Thank you for your response.