Surprising Details

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

“Very truly, I tell you, the 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. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:19-29

Let’s keep in mind some context. In the last passage the Jews were plotting to kill Jesus, because by calling Himself God’s son He was putting Himself equal to God. Jesus’s response is simple. Any equality He has is because god gave it to Him because God loves Him. Therefore if you don’t honor Jesus, you don’t honor God.

However, there is one detail in this passage that surprised me. Often in modern Christian teachings God is depicted as the judge, and Jesus intercedes on our behalf. In John though, Jesus specifically states that He has been given the role of judge because He is both fully God and fully human. I don’t think that detail is particularly significant or impact in terms of theology, I just thought it was interesting. I guess it just goes to show, read  the Bible and think for yourself!

Another surprising detail that I may be (probably am) completely misunderstanding: First Jesus says that anyone who believes skips the judgement part and goes straight to eternal life. Then He says He will judge based on whether people have done good or done evil. So to me, this reads that non-Christians who have led good lives (people like Gandhi, for example) can still receive salvation. Which is, of course, NOT what those who know the Bible much better than me would say. Clearly even the Pope says the only way through salvation is by accepting Jesus Christ as your lord and savior. Probably the good Jesus refers to are fruits of the spirit, which can only be obtained by receiving the spirit, and therefore accepting Jesus. Or perhaps the meaning doesn’t translate very well from Greek. I  don’t know. Sounds like a good question to ask a preacher!

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