John 5:19-24 (NIV)
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.
24″I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
You’ve heard expressions such as, “like father, like son,” or, “just a chip off the old block.” Basically these idioms say, “the offspring are similar to the parents.” But if you were to go up to a teenager and say, “you know, you remind me exactly of your parents,” a teen probably isn’t going to take that as a compliment. We value our individuality. We want to be our own person, and not be compared to our parents, even if they are good, godly people. Jesus didn’t think that way. Instead of distancing himself from his Father, he goes out of his way to stress the close relationship that he has with God the Father.
Listen to how Jesus expresses his closeness to the Father, “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.” Here in John, Jesus is interested in conformity, not uniqueness. He wants to be the same as the Father. And he is the same as the Father, and there is no need to hide it.
Jesus said, “the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it.” This raising to life refers to the inner raising of the dead that goes on inside the soul of an unbeliever when they hear and believe the Word. Without Jesus, a person is dead. Yeah, they might be living here on earth, but they’re dead. They don’t really have any purpose in life. They don’t have any meaning in life. They are just living for themselves and for the here and now. They are living a dead life. But listen to the change that occurs when you add Jesus into the mix, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life.” Pay attention to the tense of the verb. A believer has life. Here on earth. At conversion, all of a sudden there’s a shaking up of priorities. God fills the believer up with a life that now looks to serve others. That’s different than the selfish so-called life before faith. And…this life Jesus says is eternal. Believers have it now. They will have it forever.
“Get a life!” Back when I was in high school, that was a common expression to say to someone who spent too much time studying….too much time playing video games…too much time on the phone. “Get a life!” Go, do something useful with your time. How much more important it is that we get true life. Get to know Jesus, because the Son has life!
Prayer: Father, Thank you for life! In you I live, move and have my being. Because you live, I have life and I have it more abundantly. I am so glad to be your child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Reverend Tyronda Howse Burgess
Pastor, Jones Chapel A.M.E. Church
Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee
*During Lent and Holy Week, devotional writings will be posted by Facebook and Twitter friends who are praying and fasting together in a Daniel Fast. Read more about this “Journey to the Heart of God by clicking here.