Jesus Takes the Stand (John 5.17-30)
by Pastor Gene
5:17Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” 18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 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. 20 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.
Questions to consider about John 5:17-20:
- In 5:19, 24 and 25, Jesus prefaced His statements by saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you” – literally, “Amen, amen, I keep on saying to you.” What is your sense of this? What does Jesus intend to communicate by repeatedly saying, ‘Amen, amen’?
- How can Jesus, if He is truly God and co-equal with the Father, say, “The Son can do nothing of his own accord” in John 5:19? Doesn’t this reveal some limitation in Jesus?
- In what two ways does Jesus’ statement that “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” (5:19a) actually reveal His deity (majesty)?
- Jesus was often accused of “making Himself” something in John’s Gospel: “equal with God” (5:18); “God” (10:33); “THE Son of God” (19:7); “a King” (19:12). In John 8:53, they asked Him, “Who do you make yourself out to be?” Well? Did Jesus actuallymake Himself out to be these things? Were they right? Why or why not?
- What’s the significance of the word “likewise” in John 5:19?
- What’s significant about Jesus saying, “The Father loves the Son”? How does this inform our understanding of what follows?
- How does Jesus reveal His divine nature in saying, “the Father … shows Him all that He Himself is doing” (5:20)?
- Jesus promised that the Father would “show Him” even “greater works” than “these.” What does “these” refer to? Why specifically did Jesus say the Father will “show Him” greater things? What do you think these “greater things” might be? What does it mean to “marvel”?
- If you had to guess the one word in John 5:20b that is emphatic in the Greek, which would you choose and why?
- Can you identify both the majesty and the modesty of Jesus in Philippians 2:6-8?