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Sun, Mar 14, 1999

41 - Verbs of Christ's Deity

John 5:19-23 by Robert Dean
Series:John (1998)
Duration:53 mins 20 secs

Verbs of Christ's Deity
John 5:19–24
John Lesson #041
March 14, 1999

John 5:19 NASB "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 whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." The words "whatever the Father does" is in the subjunctive mood and it indicates the potentiality of the Father's plan from eternity past; "these things the Son also does," and there is a shift from the present active subjunctive to the present active indicative. So the Son brings the potentiality of the plan into reality. So in four different sense of the one verb poieo we see the entire scope of the plan of God: the Father as the architect, the Son as the one who executes it and brings it to completion and into reality. This is why from these verses we see that anyone who makes the claim that Jesus in not fully God is totally divorced from the Scriptures. Jesus claims in these passages to be God. We only have two options. Either Jesus is making a true statement or Jesus is making a false statement. If He is making a true statement then He is one in essence with the God of the universe. If Jesus is God, then nothing else matters. If Jesus isn't God, then nothing matters. But if Jesus is God, then sin and evil and suffering have been introduced into the cosmic system, they are not normal, they are the result of the negative volition of the creature, and God has provided a perfect solution, and ultimately there will be a universe again where there will no more evil, suffering or death.   

John 5:20 NASB "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." There are four different words for love used in the Greek language, only two of which are used in the Scriptures. The two verbs that are used for love in the Scriptures are agapao [a)gapaw]and phileo [filew]. phileo love has more to do with intimacy, friendship. These two words should not be confused into categories of personal and impersonal love because personal or impersonal love may apply to both of these Greek words. When God is the subject and philos is the verb, in terms of creatures only believers are the object of God's philos love. God does not have phileo love for unbelievers. God has agape love for unbelievers, John 3:16.

"For the Father loves [filew] the Son," so there is an intimacy here, an attraction. The righteousness of God can love [filew] only perfect righteousness, so because they share perfect righteousness and justice and have all of the same attributes there is a level of intimate love between the Father and the Son that far surpasses anything that we can ever imagine; "and shows Him all things," and this relates to a passage in Amos chapter three. Amos 3:7 NASB "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets." The idea that the secret revelation of God to His prophets is the idea that underlies John 5:20. Jesus is picking up all kinds of ideas from the Old Testament. So when Jesus says here, "The Father loves the Son and shows Him all things," He is claiming His position as prophet related to Amos 3:7, that the Father is revealing all things to Him; not like the prophets where it was just partial revelation. He is the greater prophet and the Father is showing Him all things "that He Himself is doing; and {the Father} will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel." So the emphasis here is on the revelation that God has given to the Son and that He is the perfect prophet, the ideal prophet. And this sets Him apart from all other prophets in human history.  

John 5:21 NASB "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." This begins in the Greek with an analogy. It is indicated by a couple of particles, beginning with the word hosper [w(sper], and then in the middle is houtos [o(utwj], and what this indicates is an analogy and comparison between the Son and the Father. They have the same functions here. "For just as," in the same way. Here when He speaks of the Father He says that the Father raises the dead on the one hand—a reference to the resurrection of Christ—and gives them life. The Son (notice He drops out the reference "raises the dead" because it is the Father who raises Jesus from the dead, He did not raise Himself from the dead in the resurrection) also gives life whom He wishes. Here we have the phrase zoopoieo [zowpoiew]—zow = life; poiew = making or giving. Jesus claims to have the same authority to give life, to be the source of life, as the Father, so he is clearly claiming divine prerogative as the source of life. Then we have an interesting exegetical problem in the Greek: "even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." Here we have the word thelo [qelw] meaning to will or to desire and it is in the third person singular, which means "He wills." To whom does the "He" refer? God the Son or God the Father? God the Son does not operate independently of the will of God the Father. He is the source of giving life but the He refers to God the Father, not to God the Son. God the Son is in the position of carrying out the will and the plan of God the Father.   

John 5:22 NASB "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son." We come to another verb here related to deity. So far we have seen e)rgazomai back in verse 17: "My Father is working until now, and I am working," and this relates to sustaining the creation until it comes to fruition. All of God's plans come to fruition. This means Jesus Christ controls history, He controls the environment; He is the sustainer of creation, not man. Poiew was the second verb we saw, and this verb relates to carrying out the plan of God. So Jesus Christ carries out the will and the plan of God. The third verb is zowpioew, which means that Jesus Christ gives life to those whom the Father wills. Now we come to a fourth verb, krino [krinw] which is judgment. Judgement is delegated from God the Father to God the Son. Why? Because it is God the Son who goes to the cross to die as our substitute. Because Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for sin, He is the one now who is qualified to sit in judgment on mankind. The basis for condemnation is rejection of the cross, not sin because the sins were paid for. What we learn in verse 22 is a fourth aspect of Jesus Christ's deity, that He is one with the Father, and that is because ultimate judgment has been delegated to Him. At the first advent Jesus did not come to judge, but He will judge at the second coming and then at the great white throne judgment.

John 5:23 NASB "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." "Honor" is the verb timao [timaw]. This is translated "honor" but it should more correctly be translated "worship." He is claiming the divine prerogative of worship, that He should be worshipped just as the Father is worshipped: "in order that all may worship the Son, even as they worship the Father." This is what we see at the end of Philippians chapter two, that there will come a time when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Father and the Son are linked together so closely in this verse that worship of one is worship of the other, and rejection of one is rejection of the other. Jesus has laid down the principle here that they are united so closely that acceptance or rejection of one is acceptance or rejection of the other. So to believe the Father is tantamount to believing everything about the Son in terms of His death, burial and resurrection.

The doctrine of the deity of Christ

1)  Divine names are given to Jesus. He is called God in John 1:1; Hebrews 1:8,9; John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13. He is called the Son of God. The term Son of God indicates identity with something, and is an indication of the essence of something. This title is applied more than 40 times to Jesus: Matthew16:16, 17; 8:29; John 5:25. The only begotten Son of God: John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18. He is called Lord, which does not relate to sovereignty or to His being a master, but it relates to the Old Testament Hebrew designation of God as Yahweh. Romans 14:9; 1 Timothy 6:15. The interesting thing is that Yahweh in the Old Testament most people think of as referring to the Father. Although it is sometimes used of the Father and rarely of the Holy Spirit, mostly it indicates the Son. Psalm 23:1, Yahweh is the Shepherd. What does John 10:11 says? "I am the good Shepherd." 1 Peter 5:4 NASB "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." Hebrews 13:20 NASB "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, {even} Jesus our Lord." This tells us that the New Testament identifies the Shepherd as the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ten examples of how the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as Yahweh exclusively in the Old Testament: a) He is called the Shepherd in Psalm 23:1 cf. John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4; b) In the Old Testament Yahweh is called the saviour in Isaiah 45:15, 21, 22 cf. Luke 2:11; Matthew 1:21; John 4:42; c) Yahweh restores sight to the blind in Psalm 146:8 cf. Matthew 9:29, 30; d) Yahweh's name alone is exalted in Psalm 148:13; 8:1, 9 cf. Philippians 2:9-11, the Lord Jesus Christ; e) Yahweh means "I AM," derived from the root verb hayah which means to be, and is translated as I AM that I AM. Exodus 3:14 cf. John 8:24, 58; Mark 6:50; 14:2. Jesus uses this a number of times to indicate His deity. John 4:42; 6:41, 48, 51; 8:12, 24; 9:9; 10:7, 9, 11; 11:25, 13:9; 14:6; f) The highest knowledge of man is to know Yahweh. Jeremiah 9:23, 24. In the New Testament the highest knowledge is to know Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:31; 2 Peter 3:18; John 17:3; g) In the Old Testament Yahweh is the Rock, Psalm 18:31. In the New Testament Jesus is the Rock, 1 Corinthians 10:4; 3:11; h) In the Old Testament Yahweh will be a stumbling stone. Isaiah 8:14. In the New Testament Jesus is the stumbling stone. 1 Peter 2:6-9; i) Yahweh is the object of faith for justification. Genesis 15:6; Isaiah 45:25, cf. Romans 3:25, 26; Galatians 2:16 where Jesus Christ is to be the object of faith for justification. In Isaiah 43 it is prophesied that one will come who will prepare the way of Yahweh. Cf. Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; John 1:23, John the Baptist comes to prepare the way of the Lord. The way of Yahweh is the way of the Lord Jesus. 

2)  Divine worship is given to Christ. Scripture emphasises that only God is to be worshipped. Any time an angel appears in and a man tried to worship the angel, they stopped him. But Jesus never stopped people from worshipping Him or paying Him homage. Matthew 4:10; John 20:28; Matthew 14:23. Worship is to be paid only to God but Jesus accepts worship. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17 God the Father and God the Son are invoked to comfort believers: NASB "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." The subject there is the Father and the Son, which is two. But the verb is the third person singular of parakaleo [parakalew], so there is a plural subject and a singular verb which indicates the identity, once in essence, of the Father and the Son in prayer and worship.

3)  Divine attributes are ascribed to Christ. Life and the power to give life, John 1:4; 5:21, 26; 10:10. Eternity, John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5. Immutability, Hebrews 13:8. When comparing Matthew 18:20; 28:20 and Colossians 1:20, we see that Jesus has to be a number of different places, and the only way He can be all of these places is in He is omnipresent. He is omniscient, John 16:30; 21:17; 2:24, 25.

4)  In summary: Jesus claimed to be God, and is God.   

John 5:24 NASB "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."