As I write this, I am pondering the great need for Christian thinking today. I’m in a debate with a friend right now who is trying to convince me that beauty is an example of relative truth. Frankly, this is the kind of thing that terrifies and saddens me both. It is a form of relativism that is poisoning our society and reminds me that we need to get back to good Christian thinking.
That’s one of the reasons for this long series I’ve been doing. One aspect of thinking Christian is the proper thinking about God and Christianity is unique among the religions of the world in the teaching of the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we’re studying it in the gospel of John. Follow along in your Bibles in chapter 5.
19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, 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. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For 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.22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
A lot of people would look at the first verse and think that this is a verse that disproves the deity of Christ. It’s quite the opposite! It’s a very strong verse for who Jesus is. The Son does not do anything of himself, but rather he does what the Father does. The two are consistently acting in joint unison. Can we imagine how it would be also if Jesus were to say “The Son does what he does by himself and he doesn’t need the Father for anything!” If that were the case, we’d have a totally different system of thought going on.
The Father also shows the Son all he does, which would point to a pre-existence of the Son and an eternal one at that. The Son has been there to see all that the Father is doing and the Father is in an intimate relationship with the Son in that he truly reveals himself to the Son, which is the kind of relationship hinted at in John 1:18.
Verse 21 gives the power to raise the dead to the Son and to give life to whoever he wants. The power of giving life which was seen to be in the hands of God in the OT is also seen to be in the hands of the Son in the NT.
The other action attributed to God in the OT that is given to the Son also is judging. Jesus claims though that the Father judges no one but has entrusted all judgment to the Son. Either Jesus is fully deity or else he is the hugest egomaniac ever usurping the rights of God and claiming them for himself.
The last point is that the goal is that all will honor the Son as they honor the Father. I remember presenting this to a Jehovah’s Witness once in an online conversation who immediately realized that he had a problem. Lest you think I’m putting words in his mouth, he told me that he was having a problem. I don’t know anyone who denies the deity of Christ who can follow this verse.
It’s also again either a most egotistical statement or a great truth. Jesus is claiming to be honored as God is. It is statements like these that make me realize that we do not often realize what Jesus said. Ben Witherington once said that he’s not surprised that Jesus was crucified after three years of ministry. He’s surprised he wasn’t crucified earlier!