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John 5:19-30 (web)

Jesus' Subordinate Authority

Jesus' Subordination

5:19 Jesus therefore answered them,
"Most assuredly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself,
but what he sees the Father doing.
For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise.
5:20 For the Father has affection for the Son,
and shows him all things that he himself does.
He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,
even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires.
5:22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son,
5:23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.
He who doesn't honor the Son doesn't honor the Father who sent him.

Raising the Dead

5:24 "Most assuredly I tell you, he who hears my word,
and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn't come into judgment,
but has passed out of death into life.
5:25 Most assuredly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is,
when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice; and those who hear will live.
5:26 For as the Father has life in himself,
even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.
5:27 He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.

The Final Resurrection

5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes,
in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,
5:29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life;
and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous;
because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.

Discussion Questions

vs 19,30 Given Jesus subordination to the Father, how might we incorporate such an attitude of subordination into our own Christian lives?
vs 23 How might this verse be used to affirm the diety of Christ?
vs 22-28 What kind of different resurrections does Jesus speak of?
vs 24 Can you say that you have been raised from the dead? What does this imply of those who while physically alive do not believe in Jesus?
vs 24,29 It appears that people's fate corresponds to whether they have done good or evil. But in verse 25 it appears that a person's fate is determined by their faith in Christ. How do you resolve this paradox?



Jesus acts in subordination to his Father. However his Father has given him power and authority so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. In the final judgment God the Father will judge by proxy through Jesus Christ. It will be Jesus Christ whom people must face in judgment. However his mission in his first coming as recorded in the gospels did not incorporate judgment. "I pass judgment on no one." John 8:15 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17 But those who don't take the opportunity to be saved now will be condemned later.

Let us incorporate this attitude of subordination we see in Jesus into our own Christian lives. Let us mimic Jesus' example and those of the apostles as it is written, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1Cor 11:1 Such obedience leads to revelation. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21 And such behavior is inevitable for those of the faith. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing." John 14:12 But subordination requires the kind of humility we see in Jesus Christ. Therefore let us put away our own ideas, ambitions, and ways of doing things and follow the Lord.


There are two kinds of resurrection Jesus speaks of. Spiritual Resurrection is one is which the person though physically alive is spiritually dead in sin but raised from the dead upon hearing and believing the Son. Such a person is reckoned free from eternal condemnation and spiritually alive in their relationship with God.  Paul speaks of such spiritual resurrection in Ephesians of which the Christians have been subjected saying:
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." Eph 2:1-6
And in Colossians he says:
"having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins." Col 2:12,13
Incorporated into this spiritual resurrection is the forgiveness of our sins, which barred us from a right relationship with God.

However Jesus also speaks of Physical Resurrection. In vs 20 and 21 he speaks of doing greater miracles than what he accomplished in the healing of the lame man. He is speaking of his raising of those who are physically dead, of which we have the example of the resurrection of Lazarus in John chapter 11, among others.

However there is another physical resurrection to take place in the future in which all in their graves will come out in the Final Resurrection unto judgment, which I infer to incorporate both the first and second resurrections. The first is spoken of in 1Cor 15 and 1Thess 4:13 in which the believers in Christ will rise first, shortly followed thereafter by the rapture of the rest of the believers. These are they of whom Jesus speaks of when he says "those who have done good will rise to live."

For contrary to Free Grace Antinomian Theology "No one who has been born of God will continue to live a lifestyle of sin" (Paraphrase of 1John 3:9) Obedience comes natural to those born of God, which inevitably results in overcoming the world. (1John 5:3,4) And speaking in a lifestyle sense John also writes, "Anyone who does what is good  is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God." 3John 1:11 Thus while it is true that once saved always saved, it is also true that once saved the person is now a new creation inevitably and permanently resulting in a behavior consistent with that of a child of God. For the spiritual resurrection of which Jesus spoke is one which incorporates not only the forgiveness of sins, but also a changed behavior which will culminate in complete sinlessness upon one's physical resurrection, whereby the sinful nature itself will have been removed.
The first resurrection is also spoken of in Revelation 20:4-6 saying, "They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."

"Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned" refers to the second resurrection, which occurs after the Millenial reign. They will be thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death.

Rev 21:8  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

NIV version used in comments
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