Friday, November 16, 2007


My words at the funeral of my mother's mother, held yesterday (Thursday, November 15, 2007) after her death on Sunday, November 11. It was a joyful occasion, to the glory of God.

My name is Chip Crush. I’m Paka and Grandma’s grandson; I’m Pat’s son. I want to mention five things that have come to mind in the past couple days, and then I’ll close with a story.

First, I think back to my childhood growing up on the small farm practically next door to Grandma and Paka, Pam and Steve, and Duke and Becky. And I think about what fun that was, riding my four-wheeler around the property. But I have to confess to the family here, I didn't really have the highest opinion of the Koenig family. I always thought that they, with the exception of my mom, were a little strange. Whenever we’d get together for birthdays and holidays, which seemed like every other weekend (too often, in other words), the Koenig’s were loud and messy. They always stayed too long at our house. Or if the gathering was at another family member’s house, we always had to stay too long, because nobody would ever leave. Don’t get me wrong. The Koenig’s were always kind and friendly. But they were a rowdy bunch.

The second thought I had brought me several years closer to the present, to a different perspective on the Koenig family. I now see the Koenig family as genuine. They are a real family. They don’t hide or pretend. What I once considered boisterousness, I now see as the joy of experiencing real life, which comes with ups and downs. It is the life of family. The Koenig’s are the same with each other as they are with others. What you see is what you get.

I’ll elaborate a little more as I go on, but the third thing I thought about was the reason for my change in perspective. It can only be as a result of experiencing God’s grace bestowed on me through the hearing and receiving of the message of the Gospel. Romans 5:8 declares the simple truth of the Gospel: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

For someone who has seen the hideousness of their own sin, especially compared to the holiness of God and His requirements, for someone who has experienced the salvation of the Lord, for someone who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, and who believes in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead, the gospel is a perspective-changing, mind-transforming, gracious power. Many of you in this room know that from personal experience. Others have heard about that but have no idea what it’s really like because you haven’t experienced yet. Maybe you want to. It’s as simple as trusting Christ, but it’s also as difficult as trusting Christ. Others of you, perhaps, know nothing of that reality, and don’t even want to. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I don’t think Grandma would mind me asking you to think about that. Have you received Jesus Christ? Have your sins been washed away? Has God’s grace changed your perspective?

It has mine. So from my early perspective, apart from Christ, I saw the Koenig family as strange, because they were strange. I was seeing them as the world might see them. And the word to describe it is foolishness – I was foolish – because they had experienced the gospel where I had not. But now, having experienced the perspective-changing, mind-transforming grace of the gospel, I hope that the world sees me as strange too, because we are strangers in this world. This world is not my home. Nor is it home for the Koenig family. It wasn’t Grandma’s home either. She was just visiting, as we are. And even in this time of mourning from the worldly perspective, there is a real sense of joy from the heavenly perspective that I know we who trust in Christ all share. And the reason that those of us in this family who share that faith in Christ rejoice in spirit is because Grandma prayed for us.

She was a prayer warrior. My aunt Becky said to me the night Grandma died that she prayed us all into the kingdom. And that’s true. I remember a sweatshirt that my mom painted for Grandma as a Christmas present one year. It had a duck swimming upstream, probably chasing some ducklings or something. But the caption read, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” And that was Grandma. She was always busy. And she was always behind. She was flustered a lot, if I remember correctly. But I doubt she was ever behind in her prayers. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I’ve got to believe that Grandma did just that – and experienced God’s peace as a result.

I've been studying Philippians rather intensely for about 4 months now, and I have thought of Grandma throughout the study. Philippians 1:21 says, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." That's Grandma. In Philippians 3:19-21, the author, Paul, contrasts unbelievers with believers. He says first of unbelievers, "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body." I know that Grandma will have a body free from disease.

You know, Paul’s letter to the Philippians is about joy in suffering. It’s about living for Christ. It’s about humility and serving others. It’s about contentment and prayerful selflessness. And Grandma, at least from what I saw of her in my reflections, was that kind of person. She is “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for her to do” (Ephesians 2:10). And her work, produced by faith, is done. And now she has entered God’s eternal rest.

The fourth thought that came to my mind has been an ongoing thought. I want to say what a fabulous witness to the love of Christ Paka has been throughout the past few years. He exemplifies the Philippians traits as well, and he has lived up to what Ephesians 5:25 commands a husband. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” He has been a servant of his wife in her illness, and I’m sure it was a challenge. But I’m also confident that he did it out of love and would be willing to keep it up if he could. Thank you Paka for your example of selfless service, humility, and the love of Christ.

The fifth thought I’ve had has also been on my mind for much longer than the few days since Grandma went to be with Jesus. My prayers for Grandma have likely not been aligned with many of yours. I know that, as Christians, we are never to give up on the healing power of God through the prayers of His people. I could cite countless examples of healings that have taken place in the dimmest of circumstances, healings that could not be explained by modern medical science. Yet they can and are attributed to God’s grace through prayer. But I’ve been praying for mercy, motivated by Psalm 116:15, which says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

Grandma was a saint. She belonged to God. She was one of His saints. And her death is precious in His sight. She is with God now, which is exactly where He wants her, and so her death is precious to God. It ought to be precious to us as well.

The word matron is most commonly used in wedding ceremonies, but the word simply means, “A married woman marked by dignified maturity.” I don’t know that Grandma would have been considered “dignified” by the world’s standards, but I am certain that we who knew her would be comfortable giving her that title. God, who exalts and gives grace to the humble, has blessed us all by giving us a matron of honor. For Paka, she was a wife and companion; for her five children, she was a mother and servant; for the many grandchildren, she is an example to follow; and for God, she is His beloved child come home, a true and faithful worshipper and co-heir of all things with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:17). Job 1:21 says, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Finally, I want to close with a short story. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire consumed the life savings of a lawyer named Horatio Spafford. After losing his only son that same year, he made arrangements for his family, including his wife and four daughters, to travel to Europe for rest and regrouping. Something came up and Spafford had to postpone his voyage, but he sent the family on ahead of him. The ship sank in the Atlantic and his four daughters drowned. His wife survived and sent him word of the tragedy. When Spafford made the trip to meet his grieving wife in England, he sailed over the sight of the shipwreck, and in the midst of his sorrow, he wrote a song that has comforted many grieving people: “It is Well With My Soul.” Allow me to read the lyrics:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

I wish you all peace, the kind of peace that Horatio Spafford had, the peace that only comes when we trust God in everything that comes our way. We who trust Jesus know deep within us that, no matter where we are in this life, no matter how difficult the path ahead may be, we can be comforted by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in believing the words of our Lord and sincerely say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” Let’s pray.

Our Father, comfort us with Your presence. It is enough to know that You are with us. Your love endures forever. And death is merely the gateway to eternity. Lord, as we mourn, comfort us to say, “It is well with my soul.” May this occasion that saddens and confuses those of the world be an occasion to glorify You and stand on your word by our joy. For precious in Your sight is the death of Your saints. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

John 5:39-41

39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, 40yet you refuse to come to Me to have life. 41"I do not accept praise from men.

Jesus is found through diligent study of the Scriptures, yet some refuse to come to Him. V39 can be viewed differently. Imperative or not? First, as the NIV translates, Jesus appears to say that the Jews do indeed diligently study the Scriptures to gain eternal life. And this is commendable. Jesus is saying, “Good! You diligently study the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life. And you’re right, because these Scriptures testify about Me, the Author and source of life. I am the giver of life, as I’ve been saying.” Second, viewed without the “You” as the Greek actually reads, we see Jesus commanding the Jews to study the Scriptures diligently, because they will lead them to eternal life in Christ. Either way, Jesus is correcting their fault in this endeavor. However diligent they were with Scriptures, it wasn’t enough, because they weren’t getting it. V40b says that they refused to come to Jesus, the source of life to which the Scriptures point, as Jesus declared in v40a. The Scriptures offer additional divine testimony to His Person, and the Jews didn’t grasp that in their efforts.

A lesson for us here is that if we wish to know Christ, we must seek Him in the Scriptures. Any attempt to define Him apart from the Word of God will lead to speculative falsehood. We have these bracelets that remind us to ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” And shame on us when we try to answer that question in our circumstance without seeking what Scripture has to say. The Word – all of which points to Christ and teaches us about Him – is our guide, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

The Jews refuse to come to Jesus, in v40, because they don’t want to come to Him. Their own malice hinders them from becoming partakers of the life offered in the Scriptures. Jesus admonishes them harshly; for when He says that they “will not,” He imputes the cause of their ignorance and blindness to wickedness and obstinacy. They are blinded by their own pride and hardness of heart, and so they cannot believe. The problem, again, is willingness and ability. I’ve offered an analogy in the past: I am – by the grace of God – willing and able to read the Bible. I am willing to run a mile in less than a minute, but I am physically unable. I am able to jump from a cliff to my likely demise, but I am unwilling. I am both unwilling and unable to touch the core of the earth. These are all physical things. And a summary might be, “I would if I could; but I can’t, so I won’t.” And it’s similar spiritually, but the summary is a little different. “I could if I would; but I won’t, so I can’t.” That’s the Jews predicament. And it was ours too, until we were made, by the grace of God through regeneration, willing and able to come to Jesus.

Jesus accepts no praise from men. Jesus gives us an example to follow here. In case the Jews were to accuse Him of saying all this so that He might deceive men into worshipping Him, Jesus says He doesn’t accept praise from men. He doesn’t need it, nor does He say these things to earn it. Jesus is about the Father’s business and longs only to receive praise from Him. We should exhibit a holy jealousy for the name and glory of God when men do not render to God the honor due Him. It should pain us to see the world reject Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

John 5:31-38

31"If I testify about Myself, My testimony is not valid. 32There is another who testifies in My favor, and I know that His testimony about Me is valid. 33"You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36"I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given Me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent Me. 37And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, 38nor does His word dwell in you, for you do not believe the One He sent.

The apostle John esteems the importance of reliable testimony to the Person and works of Jesus, and so he includes this particular portion of Jesus’ monologue for our benefit. Jesus is not saying here that His own testimony is untrue; rather, He recognizes that if He is alone in testifying about Himself, then there is no compelling reason to believe Him – after all, the Law demanded the witness of at least two persons (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:16-18; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; Hebrews 10:28). In a court of law, no person is a competent witness in his own cause; every suspect needs an alibi. While we should never demand additional evidence from Jesus, as His word is enough, He surrenders His authority as God Incarnate to testify about Himself, that He may convince His enemies by additional testimony – namely the authority of God. He’s making a distinction between something being true and something being valid in court. There’s a trial going on; the Jews are accusing Jesus of blasphemy, and He is defending Himself. Picture Jesus saying, “If My testimony sounds suspect to you, count it as nothing. Don’t take My word for it. There is other testimony to prove who I am.”

The first of Jesus’ four reliable witnesses that uphold His claims is John the Baptist. Although Jesus makes clear that He does not need to receive John the Baptist’s testimony (“Not that I accept human testimony”), John’s testimony was valid and reliable testimony, not for Jesus’ sake, but for the salvation of those who had heard and believed him (v34). “I mention it that you may be saved.” Jesus exhibits great care for His people with this statement. It contains a “hina” clause – Jesus mentions John’s testimony as an additional testimony (not one He requires) for the purpose that those who believe John’s testimony would certainly be saved.

Because eternal life is only in Christ, God was very gracious in sending many reliable witnesses of Christ, that people might have plenty of reasons to believe and so be saved. Although John the Baptist was not the true Light, he was, as we are, a lesser light, in that he pointed people to the true Light, Jesus Christ. The tragic irony is that, although the Jews enjoyed John the Baptist (v35), they despised the Light to which he witnessed. Is that not similar to us as well? Do we have unbelieving friends who like us, who enjoy our company and see us as good people, but who despise our faith? The Jews knew that John the Baptist was a prophet from God, but they despised and disobeyed his message.

Since the Jews did not cherish and heed what John had said about Jesus, He, being God, offers the testimony of three more witnesses, in the coming verses, for this mock trial as fitting evidence that He was and is the Messiah.

First, His works – not just extraordinary deeds, but the miracles of God – are a divine testimony that He is the Son of God (v36). Recall Jesus’ reasoning with Pharisees in Matthew 12:24-28. If He was doing miracles by Satan’s power, then Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself and must fall – for Christ’s works were always in fulfillment of the Father’s will and in opposition to Satan. But if Jesus has authority to do miracles, and if His authority is always exercised in the accomplishment of the Father’s will, then Jesus must be One with the Father, and the heavenly Kingdom of the Father must be present in the ministry of Jesus. Second, the Father Himself has testified concerning Jesus (v37a) in three ways: (1) through the miraculous works that Jesus does (the power behind them), (2) in the God-breathed Old Testament Scriptures, which very clearly pointed to Jesus (i.e. Isaiah 53), and (3) directly by His voice at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17), at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and at the Triumphal Entry (John 12:28-30). Third, Jesus will speak of the Scriptures testifying of Him as well (v39). We’ll look at that in a minute, but note that all of these testimonies are irrefutable. And, thus, there is other reason why the Jews refuse to receive Jesus as the Son of God, as Messiah.

Jesus uses strong metaphorical language – “You have never heard His voice,” “You have never seen His form,” “His Word does not dwell in you” – to basically say to them, “The testimony about Me won’t matter unless you’re hearts are opened to the message of the Gospel. You don’t know the Father, because you don’t accept Me as the Messiah.” Think of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Luke 16:31 effectively summarizes Jesus’ point here: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

The evidence that the Jews have never heard God, nor seen Him, nor had His Word dwell in them, is that they do not believe Jesus. They do not believe His testimony or the testimony about Him that comes from human or divine sources. The veil still covers their faces (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). The Jews had the same problem as the crippled man at the beginning of the chapter. Remember Jesus question, “Do you want to get well?” It’s a problem of the will and of desire. We’ll learn more about this as we continue.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

John 5:28-30

28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice 29and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30By Myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is just, for I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me.

Jesus said in v25-27 that the spiritually dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man and live. And He adds to that here, speaking of the resurrection of the physical body. Why does Jesus begin here saying, “Do not be amazed”? We tend to be amazed when our eyes see things thought impossible, like raising a physical body from death to life. We often fail to find amazement when things happen miraculously that we cannot perceive in the physical realm, like the conversion of sinner. Jesus has proclaimed His authority to raise the spiritually dead to spiritual life. We might not be amazed when that happens, but we should be. It’s a more impressive miracle than a physical resurrection. Understanding that reality, we should not be amazed that He has the authority to raise the physically dead as well; but we are.

Like spiritual life-giving, the time is coming for physical body-raising, but unlike spiritual life-giving, for which the time is now at hand, the time for physical body-raising is not yet come. This reality takes into v29, where we perceive that Jesus is speaking of the last day, Judgment Day. “All who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out.” His voice is the Trumpet (Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16); it’s the day we long for when we say, “Come Lord Jesus – Maranatha.” And this is a good desire for believers (we yearn to see Him face to face), but we must take note of the consequences for unbelievers (condemnation). Jesus marks believers by their good deeds, and He marks unbelievers by their evil deeds. Salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but evidence of believers’ faith is seen in good works, the hatred of sin, and the desire to live for Christ (James 2:26). Evidence of unbelievers’ lack of faith is seen in their evil deeds, the lust for sin, and the desire to live for self.

Finally at the beginning of v30, Jesus reaffirms His initial statement, that He is not able to do anything alone, and qualifies it with this extended observation: He is so united with the Father that it is impossible for the Father to will one thing and the Son to do something else. They are perfectly One, and cannot be at odds with each other anymore than God can deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Notice the shift from third- to first-person. When we read in v30, “My judgment is just,” we ought to note simply that whatever proceeds from God must be right and good and true. And we are likewise reminded that the only rule for acting well is to follow the direction and obey the commandment of God. And if after this the whole world should rise against us, we shall still have this invincible defense: he who follows God cannot go astray. Furthermore, we can know that Jesus’ judgment is just, because He has no disposition that is both unique to His Person and separate from the command of the Father. Praise Him!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

John 5:24-27

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. 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. 27And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man.

Again, Jesus begins with, “I tell you the truth,” so listen up! John Calvin summarizes this verse well: “Here is the described way and manner of honoring God, that no one may think that it consists solely in any outward performance, or in frivolous ceremonies. For the doctrine of the Gospel seems as a scepter to Christ, by which He governs believers whom the Father has made His subjects…Christ demands from us no other honor than to obey His Gospel.” Jesus likewise commends the fruit of obedience – eternal life, that we may be more willing to obey. It’s hard for us to imagine being so hardened as to keep from submitting to Christ, when the reward of eternal life is offered, and it is painful to see a great number of people refuse to come to Christ. This truth is both a fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 7:13-14) and a great witness to human depravity. It pains believers that so many choose to perish of their own accord than to surrender to obedience to the Son of God. Yet we humbly acknowledge that our surrender was solely by His grace.

By saying, “Whoever believes will not be condemned,” Jesus is saying that all are under condemnation and only by believing in Him can we escape these wages for our sin against God (John 3:36; Romans 8:1). When Jesus speaks of the believer having “crossed over from death to life,” does not mean that we will not experience physical death; rather, we are free from the state of death – that is, separation from God – thanks to the life that has only begun in us. Believers are so certain of obtaining this state of eternal life that we ought not fear death; after all, we are united to Him who is the inexhaustible fountain of life.

Jesus one more time in this passage begins with, “I tell you the truth.” Pay attention, because this is a critical statement. He goes on: “The dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man and live.” Some commentators suggest He is talking only about physical death, prophesying of Lazarus’ physical resurrection to come (John 11:44), as he heard Jesus’ voice while physically dead; but most agree that He is talking about spiritual death and will add the physical in v28. When Jesus calls our name, we are quickened to spiritual life, and our hearts are opened to receive Christ through the hearing of the Gospel (ala Mary in John 20:16). Note Jesus’ comment that “the dead will hear, and those who hear will live.” There is a double-grace given here – first that the spiritually dead would hear and second that upon hearing the spiritually dead would come alive.

One more possibly confusing element is found in v25. Jesus says, “A time is coming and has now come” when this will happen. Calvin comments: “He thus speaks of it as a thing which had never before happened; and, indeed, the publication of the Gospel was a new and sudden resurrection of the world. But did not the word of God always give life to men? This question may be easily answered. The doctrine of the Law and the Prophets was addressed to the people of God, and consequently must have been rather intended to preserve in life those who were the children of God than to bring them back from death. But it was otherwise with the Gospel, by which nations formerly estranged from the kingdom of God, separated from God, and deprived of all hope of salvation, were invited to become partakers of life.”

In v26, we read that the Father and Son have life in Themselves. Certainly this means that They are Self-existent, but it’s more than that. They have the authority and power to grant life. And wrapping up with v27, we learn why Christ was given authority and power and the right to judge. It is because He is the Son of Man. He did not require that title, but it was given Him as the Author of life for us as a result of His humbling and exaltation (Philippians 2:7-10). It can be explained by saying, “What had been hidden in God is revealed to us in Christ as the Son of Man, and life, which was formerly inaccessible, is now placed before our eyes.” The Son of Man, as the Light of life, reveals life to us in the flesh.

Monday, November 12, 2007

John 5:19-23

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.

Through the rest of this chapter, we see Jesus elaborating on His statement in v17. He is taking the first of several opportunities to teach necessary truths about Himself. Having offended the Pharisees by claiming to work as God works, He describes just how He relates to the Father. Beginning with, “I tell you the truth” (“Truly, truly,” or “Verily, verily”), He’s calling His audience to the closest of attention. And this a bold move, considering how infuriating His claims must have been to the Jews. Instead of backing down at their offense, He enrages them further, effectively saying, “You’re persecuting Me for what I’ve done by healing this man on the Sabbath day? You haven’t seen anything yet! You don’t know anything about Me, so let Me tell you who I am. You want something to get angry about?” And Jesus goes on to make new claims that far exceed the simple statement that first angered the Jews:

V19 – Jesus never acts independently of the Father; v20 – Jesus possesses intimate knowledge of the Father’s ways; v21 – Jesus is able to give sinners new life; v22 – Jesus is going to judge mankind; and v23 – All this will be for the purpose that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father. Forget about this healing on the Sabbath day – it’s merely incidental. On that glorious day when the Father is glorified and honored, the Son will be receiving that glory and honor in the same way. Jesus is practically demanding worship from these Jews – and rightly so. It’s offensive to them.

When Jesus says, “The Son can do nothing by Himself,” liberal theologians point out that the Son is inferior to the Father; but Jesus’ point is that the Son’s will is united to the Father’s inseparably, such that while the Son is in the flesh, He will certainly and undoubtedly finish the Father’s work He has been given to complete. This work to lose none that the Father gives Him is a great testimony to the eternal covenant of redemption. His intention was to refute the Jews who were endeavoring to contrast Him with God. He therefore affirms that He does nothing by human power, because He has for His guide and director God who dwells in Him. When Jesus says, “The Father shows the Son all He does,” Calvin offers a paraphrase. It is as if Jesus said, “As the Father has given to Me His heart, so He hath poured out His power on Me, that the Divine glory may shine in My works, and – what is more – that men may seek nothing Divine but what they find in Me.” And when Jesus says, “The Father will show Him even greater things than these,” He is pointing out that the healing of the crippled man would pale in comparison to His great work of restoring true life (sinless glory) to all of creation. Of course, we know that most were hardened to the glory of Christ. So when He said, “To your amazement,” He was not prophesying of their awe before Him later in His ministry; rather, He was speaking of the splendor of the demonstration He would give regarding His Sonship to the Father.

Finally, note v21. Jesus declares Himself to be the Author of life, containing within itself not only righteousness, but all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and every part of our salvation. He raises the dead, and that is wonderful, but it’s not enough. He also gives life. Jesus will later say in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus does not speak of this life as bestowed indiscriminately on all; rather He gives life to whom He is pleased to give it, to whom He will, that is, the elect.

A simple summary would be what Jesus will later say, “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30). But notice the way Jesus explains that here. He is saying that He has been watching the Father and is only doing what He has seen the Father do. He’s imitating His Daddy. My son does that, and it’s a great feeling. “I wanna be just like You, cause he wants to be just like me.” And the Father has a great feeling seeing His Son do what He does. The Father and Son are so essentially united, that Jesus is unable to do anything but what the Father wills and does. The Son, having seen and been with the Father, knows God’s will, and does it perfectly. The Father loves the Son and gives Him the work of redemption to do. In this work, the Son is accomplishing the will of the Father by doing the same things the Father does, namely as v21 declares, raising the dead and giving life to His chosen ones.

The Father and Son have perfect unity, yet diversity of offices. The Father makes known His will to the Son, and the Son is authorized to carry out judgment, including the final judgment of mankind. In this realm, along with the Son’s authority to give life to whom He will (v21), it is clear that the Father has given the Son absolute authority and power over all mankind, to condemn those who do not believe in Him and to give life to those who do. Ultimately, this authority will bring the glorification of the Son, as we worship God the Father through the Son, who “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3). Thus, if one honors the Son, he honors the Father also; but if he does not honor the Son, neither does he honor the Father (1 John 2:22-23). We must not try to conceive the Father apart from the Son.