John 5:18-30 NKJV
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
“As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself” (26). Jesus, the Son, seeks to give life (21); the Jewish opposition, seeks to kill Him. They seek to kill Him because He healed on the Sabbath (16) and because He was “making Himself equal to God” (18). One thing is certain here: Jesus is definitely claiming a unique relationship to God. He is not just claiming to be a son of God, as in one of many. No, Jesus is claiming to be the Son of God (25). The Jewish leaders who hear those claims understand the implications correctly; they simply do not agree. We do. The difference is faith. In faith, we receive Him as the Son of God and our savior.
Faith makes the difference in our final destination as well. Jesus says, “The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (28-29). The Apology explains: “These passages and all others like them where works are praised in the Scriptures must be taken to mean not only outward works but also the faith of the heart…. By this rule, as we have said earlier, all passages on works can be interpreted. Therefore, when eternal life is granted to works, it is granted to the justified. None can do good works except the justified, who are led by the Spirit of Christ; nor can good works please God without the mediator Christ and faith, according to Heb. 11:6, ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’” (IV 371-72).
Faith makes all the difference. Faith is our connection. Jesus says that He can do nothing of Himself (19), showing His intimate connection to the Father; and that we can do nothing apart from Him (Jn 15:5), showing the necessity of our connection with Him, through faith.
Let us pray: O God, by the humiliation of your Son you raised up the fallen world. Give your faithful people constant gladness, deliverance from the danger of eternal death, and make us partakers of eternal joys; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.