19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son, 23 that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, 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 also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgement.
Jesus’ authority to judge is established in this passage. He has been given authority by The Father to bring sentences of life or death on the people of earth. Those whose hope is in Jesus will receive life and those whose hope is in themselves or something other than Jesus will be condemned to death. We know from Revelation that John knows of eternal life and eternal death. Death, for him, is not just the cessation of life but it is an eternal condition of distance from God.
So the question is whether we know the Son and know life? This life comes to those who believe and is not a reward after death but a different life in this life. Some people are zombies, they are dead even though they walk and talk with the rest of us. Jesus’ authority to pronounce life or death leaves them dead. Others know abundant life in this life. I was talking to my mother who was sick in bed last night and still I was refreshed by her conversation because it was filled with life from God. Does the quality of your life suggest that you are truly alive?
I am thankful that as I walk to school I can take the shame and the guilt that I carry from my past and I can cast it on Jesus. I can take all the things that would kill me and suck the life out of me and I can cast them on God because he cares for me. Jesus has given me a verdict of not guilty and I am living in that. If I look too far into the future I sometimes become anxious, but God brings me grace for each moment. I live in the moment with Jesus and Jesus refreshes my soul and brings me life.
You have raised us from death into a new life. It is a quality of life which is present right now. We are not yet a completed work, but we are a work that has been started and is in progress. I thank you that you bring life from the Father to all who believe.
- How was Jesus’ authority questioned earlier in chapter 5?
- How is Jesus’ authority established?
- If Jesus removes the sentence of death from his hearers, what does he bring in its place?
- Do you feel dead or alive? How does that reflect or mask reality?
- What is the life that Jesus brings? What are its qualities? How do you show them?