When Jesus speaks to religious leaders about his power and authority to conduct miracles, he explains some important truth about ministry in our world. The work of God in our world does not and cannot occur apart from the power and inspiration of God…
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 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.”
There are some important truths here about how we live out our relationships with God in our world in John 5. Jesus is God’s Son, sent into the world to be our example and Saviour and to establish the church. As we live out the Great Commission to share God’s love around the world, we are governed by Jesus’ words in John 5:
- There is no action truly reflecting God which is done apart from God.
- Our ministry in the world reflects the Father’s ministry in the world.
- The foundation of God’s work in the world is the Father’s love – first for the Son, and also for the world.
Jesus proclaims that there will be greater works than have been seen to date (which refer to the water-into-wine and the lame man healed at the pool) in Jesus’ public ministry. There is more to come which demonstrates the Father’s love and power in our world…
In explaining this, Jesus gives the example of raising people from the dead and giving life. He then proclaims that judgment has been entrusted to Jesus, with the understanding that honour is due the one who judges, and Jesus is due our honour. In fact, if we do not honour Jesus, he says, we do not honour God the Father who sent him.
These are incredibly powerful words which would have pushed the religious leaders of the time over the edge. They already heard Jesus making himself equal with the Father, and now Jesus takes it further by assuming the role as Almighty Judge.
In terms of my application of Jesus’ words here, I am taking the reminder that I can’t do anything of heavenly value apart from heavenly inspiration or example. I love because God first loved me. I serve because Jesus came to serve me. No ministry is based on or exists because of my power or talent.
True ministry reflects God’s presence in our lives and our churches.
I am humbled.