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Jesus’ Relationship With His Father

Jesus’ Relationship With His Father

JOHN 5:17-47



When some Jews accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath by healing a man, Jesus replies: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.”​—John 5:17.

No, what Jesus is doing is not forbidden by God’s law regarding the Sabbath. His work of preaching and healing is in imitation of God’s good works. So Jesus keeps on doing good every day. His reply to his accusers, however, makes them even angrier than they were before, and they seek to kill Jesus. Why this reaction?

In addition to their having the mistaken view that Jesus is breaking the Sabbath by healing people, they take great offense at his saying that he is God’s Son. They consider it blasphemy for him to view God as his Father, as if Jesus’ saying that Jehovah is his Father amounts to making himself equal to God. However, Jesus is unafraid and answers them further regarding his special relationship with God. “The Father has affection for the Son,” he says, “and shows him all the things he himself does.”​—John 5:20.

The Father is the Life-Giver, and he has shown this in the past by empowering men to resurrect individuals. Jesus continues: “Just as the Father raises the dead up and makes them alive, so the Son also makes alive whomever he wants to.” (John 5:21) What a meaningful statement, giving hope for the future! Even now, the Son is raising the dead in a spiritual sense. Hence, Jesus says: “Whoever hears my word and believes the One who sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.”​—John 5:24.

There is no record that Jesus has as yet raised anyone who was actually dead back to life, but he tells his accusers that such literal resurrections will occur. “The hour is coming,” he says, “in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”​—John 5:28, 29.

As extraordinary as Jesus’ role is, he makes it clear that he is subordinate to God, stating: “I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative. . . . I seek, not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30) However, Jesus describes his own vital role in God’s purpose, which he has not up to this time done in such a public way. But those accusing Jesus have more than his witness about these things. “You have sent men to John [the Baptist],” Jesus reminds them, “and he has borne witness to the truth.”​—John 5:33.

Jesus’ accusers might well have heard that about two years earlier, John had told Jewish religious leaders about the One coming after him​—who was termed “the Prophet” and “the Christ.” (John 1:20-25) Reminding his accusers of their once high regard for the now imprisoned John, Jesus says: “For a short time you were willing to rejoice greatly in his light.” (John 5:35) Yet he provides an even greater witness than John the Baptist.

“These works that I am doing [including the healing that he had just performed] bear witness that the Father sent me.” Besides that, Jesus continues: “The Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.” (John 5:36, 37) For example, God bore witness about Jesus at his baptism.​—Matthew 3:17.

Really, those accusing Jesus have no excuse for rejecting him. The Scriptures that they claim to be searching testify about him. “If you believed Moses, you would believe me,” Jesus concludes, “for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe what I say?”​—John 5:46, 47.