John 5:19-29- The Eternal Son of God

Explanation- In this section we have the Lord authoritatively declaring His divine nature. Elsewhere He tends to be slightly more passive in this concern, but here He identifies Himself clearly as the second member of the Godhead. The Father and the Son are one, yet each has distinct and unique functions. It is the Father who reveals His good and perfect will to the Son and in turn, the Son acts accordingly. The bottom line is that Christ does nothing without being in perfect unity with the Father. This willingness of submission to the Father should not be interpreted as Christ being inferior to the Father, but He willingly, joyfully, and obediently submits Himself to His Father in recognition of His eternal place as the Son. Certainly, Christ understood clearly His equality with the Father, but we are told in Philippians that He considered equality with God not something that could be grasped (Phil. 2:6). I believe that this is to be partially interpreted in relation to Christ’s incarnation. As a man, Christ was submissive to God in unique ways that may not have been necessary in His glorified state. Philippians says that He emptied Himself and while this statement is shrouded in a certain sense of mystery, we do see ways in which Christ was limited in the body of flesh that He indwelt. In the eternal state, He did not require carnal activities such as sleep, food, and drink. Yet in the incarnation we have clear examples that He indeed did require such things. In light of this, it is safe to say that in each area where Christ was limited in flesh, He was dependent on His Father. I would like to be clear at this point that I do not mean that Christ emptied Himself of His deity. Christ was, and always will be the eternal, omnipotent, and all wise God. That did not change when He came to this earth. There is a heresy that exists in circles such as the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation movements claiming that when Christ came to this earth He emptied Himself of His deity. They argue that all of the works, miracles, signs, and wonders that He performed were done as an ordinary man and void of the power of God. They also teach that Jesus gave this as an example so that we too may perform His miraculous works as well. Let us be clear, this is a damnable heresy. When we read of Christ emptying Himself it is not telling us that He was somehow incapacitated in the ways of deity; on the contrary, Christ chose to take on flesh. He did not lose anything by taking on man’s nature, instead He added, ‘to Himself all that is essential to humanity.’[1] Too much rhetoric beyond this point may prove to be dangerous and even heretical. But this basic principle remains, Christ was (and is in some form) submissive to His Father’s will and would not act apart from it.

Another interesting statement of Christ’s is found in verse 22. It says that, ‘the Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son.’ This also provides a unique look into the purpose of the second member of the Trinity; namely that Christ is the eternal judge of all creation. This would not only apply to judgement in the trajectory of this life and all that it entails, but also the final judgement of the living and the dead. Certainly, the Son has the power to both raise men up unto eternal life, as well as eternal damnation. What’s tragic is that those to whom He was speaking were His own people and many of them would find themselves of the wrong side of the judgement when that final day comes.

Application- In light of these truths, how should we respond? I say let us stand in awe of Christ, the second member of the eternal Godhead. He was, is, and always will be at the Father’s right hand and finds unique placement as the submissive Son who holds absolute equality with the Father and the Spirit. Let this great reality instruct and guide our worship of God in all truth. If we are to call ourselves Christian’s then we must approach and worship the God of Christianity with a knowledge of who He has revealed Himself to be. The clearest example of His character and being is found in the person of Jesus Christ. To come to God by any other means is idolatry and therefore an abomination to God. He desires His people to know Him and to be transformed by that knowledge, but if we are without knowledge of His true nature, then we are worshipping amiss. Let us make sure to study to show ourselves approved and so bring much glory to our Father in heaven!


[1] “Ligonier Ministries The Teaching Fellowship of R.C. Sproul.” Ligonier Ministries. Accessed August 7, 2019.