Jesus Reveals the Father
John 5 is a deeply theological passage about the Son’s relationship to the Father. Both the Gospel of John and his First Letter speak much about this topic and leave no doubt that there is no daylight between the two. It is from the beloved disciple that we derive much of our understanding of the divinity of Christ and, by extension, our understanding of the Trinity.
We said yesterday that it was Jesus’ lack of respect for the traditions that had accrued over the centuries about Sabbath observances that got him into trouble. But verse eighteen also says that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus because he called God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. In this, the Jewish leaders were correct. As the rest of the passage explains, the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that He, the Father, is doing. Both the Son and the Father have life in themselves, meaning that neither can die. The Father has given all judgment over to the Son, and it is Jesus who will one day call the dead to life to render that judgment. Furthermore, the Father bears witness to the Son that he is indeed His Son. The Father sent the Son, and it is the Son’s purpose to reveal the Father. But men reject this testimony, as already said in 1:9-11. They reject because they do not know the Father, have never heard His voice or seen His form; but Jesus has made him known (1:18). So men reject because they cannot hear, see, or know the Father; but, are also unwilling to hear, see, or know the Father because “people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil (3:19). Moses even wrote about the One who was to come but because of their hardness of heart, they could not see it.
So Jesus reveals to us the Father. He can do this because he is the Father’s Son. The Father has ever loved the Son and there never was a time when either one was not. In this love, the Father promised the Son a people which the Son would purchase by his own blood. The Son responded in love to the Father to fulfill this plan for the salvation of a people as their Mediator. He is the Holy Spirit who now applies this redemption through conviction of sin, convincing of the need for Christ, and warning of coming judgment (16:8-11). This is the advance the New Testament makes upon the Old: the marvelous revelation of the holy Trinity, the impenetrable mystery that our God is three in one, and the three work together for the salvation of a people, and all of which is ultimately for the glory of the one God. We worship an awesome and gracious God, before whom we can only marvel.