Scripture: John 5:19-24
Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
When I’m writing these reflections, I hate to have to break up speeches of Jesus into separate entries. I believe they’re most fully understood in context when we can read them all at once. Normally, that’s not a big problem because Jesus usually speaks concisely in the Gospel of John. However, these verses are the beginning of a near thirty verse monologue. Likely, it’ll take us four full posts to work through the different sections of the greater passage, so I’ll do my best to keep them all tied in together.
What’s important to note right away is why exactly Jesus has decided to start into what will be a lengthy explanation of where his authority originates. To find that, we’ll have to remember the very end of his encounter with the Jewish authorities after he’d healed the man on the sabbath. When they question Jesus about this, he say in John 5:17, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” Jesus only hints, there, at the divine source of his authority. In our verses today, he begins to explore what that means a little more. And basically, what we learn is that God the Father is the one who has commissioned Christ the Son to act on his behalf. Jesus has been given the power and authority of heaven to use as he sees fit. With that authority comes two specific capacities: to pass judgement and to grant eternal life. Only Christ has the jurisdiction over these. That means that Jesus, the Son, holds the power of eternal life and death in his hands.
This can sound a little scary – the power over our souls being held in judgement by someone other than us. However, when we consider that this person is Jesus, we can find comfort. This is the Jesus who showed so much love for us already that he was willing to die on the cross. I for one am thankful that the one who sits in judgement over my soul is the same Christ who has already given me life at the cost of his death. I believe that Jesus has already judged us all. And he has found us worthy of love and grace.
Lord of life, thank you for freeing me from the threats of judgement. Help me to live according to that abundant grace this day and every day. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Jesus judges us worthy of his love and grace even though we don’t deserve it.