Jesus as the Messiah who is Equal with God the Father, by Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg
Bible Study Material on John 5:16-23

John 5:16-47 presents Jesus’ detailed explanation of his deity and ministry. The text identifies Jesus’ long reply to the Jews who persecuted him for healing on a Sabbath. To Jesus, what the Jewish leaders failed to see about him exposes their blindness to the truth. Jesus stated that the Son can do nothing independent of or apart from God the Father. Thus, to Jesus, he was equal with the God the Father and so he cannot do anything contrary to him. Today’s lesson focuses on Jesus’ three-fold equality with God the Father with reference to Jesus’ works, judgment and honour.
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Jesus’ three-fold equality with the Father (verses 17-23)
Healing the man on the Sabbath was contrary to the Jewish “Tradition of the Elders,” so the Jews persecuted Jesus as a law-breaker. In the first part of Jesus’ message, He showed them that he is equal to the Father in three ways:

(1) Equal in works (verses 17-21)
The Father’s Sabbath rest was broken in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve sinned. Since that time, God has been at work seeking and saving the lost. Jesus states that the Father enables him to do what he does and reveals his knowledge to him personally. Jesus’ works (miracles) come from the Father, including the miracle of raising the dead.

(2) Equal in judgment (verse 22, 27)
God has committed all judgment to the Son. This makes the Son equal with the Father, for only God can judge people for their sins.

(3) Equal in honour (verse 23)
No mortal human being would dare ask people to show him or her the honor that only God deserves. Worthy of note here is the fact that to ignore Jesus as the Messiah but claim to worship God is questionable.

The reaction of the Jewish leaders to Jesus’ discourse is not revealed in the text. But it must have been disturbing to them. Jesus confidently tells them that God the Father judges none but has given that responsibility to the Son. In other words, in Jesus’ view, he was the one who would be judging them at the final judgment. As the Judge, Jesus states emphatically that those that do not honour the Son do not honour the Father. By this analysis, Jesus was proclaiming himself to be equal with God and as such deserved the same honour due the Father. The following table presents a summary of the deity of Jesus in John 5:17-47.


1. What does Jesus’ statement that “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” inform you about God’s nature?
2. How does the example of Jesus in John 5:17 inform your attitude towards work?
3. Jesus is equal with God the father in works, Judgement and honour. Explain

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