Like bookends, the sections before and after today’s reading of John relate miracles that Jesus performed.
In the earlier passage it is the Sabbath and Jesus heals a man who has been ill for 38 years. He says, “Stand up, take your mat and walk,” and so he does. In the passages following, Jesus feeds 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
In today’s section, Jesus explains to the Jews that he is the Son of God (as though his recent actions hadn’t been a clue that something was up). This relationship is very interesting, and confusing:
- Jesus can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees his Father doing. He is distinct from the Father, as he is the Son, but he is not autonomous.
- He is one with the Father and so sees God differently than anyone else has. He can only do what he sees the Father doing.
- The Father loves the Son and this love is at the heart of everything. This love for Jesus is then passed down to us.
- While Jesus can’t do anything by himself, he does have a will of his own, and has been authorized by God to use that will. He can give life to whom he wants.
- The Father has given all judgment to the Son.
- Jesus is distinct, but he is one with the Father.
- All are to honor the Son as they honor the Father.
- More wonderful things are coming — people may have been amazed so far, but the Father will show the Son greater things.
This message must have been difficult to comprehend. There is one God, but there is also Jesus, who is not God, but he is God.
Jesus has performed the many miracles so that people will take notice. We should also take notice. By these words, and by reading and rereading this chapter and the witnesses of the miracles that Jesus performed, may our faith be strengthened.