John 5:19 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.20 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. 21 Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. 22 The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 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. 24 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.
John puts pen to paper after most of the New Testament is written. This is a time when those who followed the way of Jesus were struggling to explain exactly who Jesus was. Was he a prophet in the Jewish tradition? Was he a sophist in the Greek tradition? Was he a god in the Roman tradition? No, says John, he was the obedient Son of the Father.
This is a startling claim. People can deal with a wise man, or a holy man – but it is outrageous to have to accept Jesus as the Son of God. To Jews this is blasphemy, to Greeks it is not rational, while to Romans it is treason - because only the Emperor can use this title.
Every generation since then have had to struggle with this same question: “who is Jesus in our lives?” In choosing to believe that he is the Son of the Father we must then choose to obey his teaching as if God were speaking. If we have the life and teaching of the Son, we have already glimpsed the will of the Creator.
The first Sunday after Epiphany
7. The Son of God
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 52.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.