19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whateverthe Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
This passage describes the relationship between Jesus (the Son) and God (the Father). In verse 19, we see Jesus explaining that the Father and the Son act synonymously. How does this happen? They are one in the same, part of The Triune God. But why must there be two separate entities for the same “person”? (let’s not forget the third, the Holy Spirit) Jesus is the face of God. Many people have said in the past that in instances throughout the Old Testament where a man has “faced” God, it was Jesus Himself who they spoke with. This makes sense given that Jesus always existed, being that Jesus is God. Whether this is true, however, is unimportant. What is important, however, is that we understand the purpose of Jesus on earth.
I think too often we focus on Jesus being a man and then roll into the thought process of an entire belief system built upon worshipping a man. If this was the case, I don’t think I would be a believer or follower of Christ either. Jesus IS God. He is the incarnation of God on earth. He is the way God enabled a relationship between Him and us once more. No longer is it for prophets or certain people like the Levites, but rather a relationship with God is possible by anyone, through Christ.
This is the meaning behind “life, death, and judgment” in these verses. Life refers to having a relationship with God. It’s realizing that which we were made for, to worship and honor God. Certainly this may push people away, thinking that being in a relationship with God is about being some sort of burdened servant. We must remember, however, not to liken God to mankind. In this very reference, actually, we see that in serving Him, we are lifted up, “raised from the dead,” and in serving Him, we are actually free! Matthew 11:30 “30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The opposite of this life is death. Death refers to the separation from God. This is when we carry the burden of the world because we have taken it in our own hands. We carry the weight of the world, our choices, our guilt, our shame (whether or not you admit it) and we keep trudging along until it buries us because the burden becomes too much for us. Too often we get “comfortable” with it, thinking we are alone. But God is there waiting for us to just turn to Him so He can remove this burden and we can live a life free of those things and utterly content because we are living in a way we were designed to live. If a bird were to live as a fish, it wouldn’t be happy, would it? It wasn’t designed to swim. So then why would it even go on trying to be a fish? Likewise, we should seek out our God given purpose so we can live freely, purposefully, and joyfully.
In verses 21-23 we see that “judgment” is up to the Son, and He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father, and therefore will not be raised from the dead (as I just explained). We cannot claim to honor God if we do not honor the Son. Period. Yet we still carry those burdens on our own and curse God when He doesn’t help us, even thought He gives us the formula right here. In recognizing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, God Himself on earth for us, then we miss the boat and keep right on dying. Why would you want to live like that?
How dead are you today? Don’t you want to live?