Daily Bible Nugget #848, John 5:18


The Nugget:

Joh 5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

The Challenge:

John 5:18 points out that Jesus calling God His Father led to a serious misunderstanding. The Jews of His time saw this as making Himself equal with God, but this interpretation was their perspective, leading to conflict, rather than a clear declaration by Jesus of His divinity.

My Reply:

You claim above:

“Lastly, the verse right before this passage, John 5:18, points out that Jesus calling God His Father led to a serious misunderstanding. The Jews of His time saw this as making Himself equal with God, but this interpretation was their perspective, leading to conflict, rather than a clear declaration by Jesus of His divinity.”

My claim is that the Jews and their reaction to what Jesus said were there when it happened. If the Jews were mistaken, why did Jesus not carefully correct their misunderstanding on the spot?

Instead, Jesus backs up His claim by presenting the witnesses that support or supported His claim.

Therefore, contrary to your denial of the claim Jesus made, Jesus Himself defended it.

For a more detailed exposition and defense of my correct interpretation, see the notes and cross references I have given for John 5:18 in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

making himself. At no point does Jesus in the following discourse deny the inference drawn by the Jews, but emphatically supports his claim to equality with God in his nature (Joh 5:18) by claiming equality in power and works (Joh 5:19, 20), in resurrection power (Joh 5:21), in judgment (Joh 5:22), in honour (**Joh 5:23), in giving eternal life (Joh 5:24, 25), in self-existent life (Joh 5:26), in power over death and eternal destiny (Joh 5:28, 29), in absolute justice (Joh 5:30), supported by the witness of John (Joh 5:33), his own works (Joh 5:36), the Father (Joh 5:37, 38), and the Scriptures (Joh 5:39). Clearly their inference was correct, unlike modern day Arians who refuse to acknowledge what the words must mean. To suggest “John is describing what the unbelieving Jews incorrectly thought Jesus meant, that he was ’making himself equal with God,’” and that “This is evident from the fact that they also incorrectly accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath” (The Watchtower, vol. 105, No. 3, February 1, 1984, p. 6) is to deduce from this passage the very opposite of what it says, in the effort to bolster the faulty argument “Why do we not find opposing Jews attacking the doctrine that to them would have been abhorrent?” The Jews, of course, did attack Jesus, seeking to kill him (Joh 5:18; Joh 10:30, 31, 32, 33) for this very doctrine. “For the Jews…it would have been blasphemous to suggest that Christ was equal to God as the second person of the Trinity” (The Watchtower, p. 6). In Joh 10:33, blasphemy is the very charge leveled at Jesus by the Jews: upon what other scriptural grounds could they justify stoning him? Clearly Jesus said what he meant, and the Jews correctly understood him. If not, why did not Jesus simply deny their accusation, and correct their alleged misunderstanding? Joh 5:23, Joh 10:30; Joh 10:33; Joh 19:7, Php 2:6.

Muslim Reply to Me:

In John 5:18, the Jews accused Jesus of making Himself equal with God, but Jesus’ response emphasized His dependence on the Father, saying He could do nothing by Himself but only what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). This shows a relationship of obedience and submission rather than equality in essence. Additionally, Jesus frequently clarified His role as the Son of God, distinct from God the Father, as seen in John 14:28, where He states, “The Father is greater than I,” indicating a hierarchy within their relationship. The Jews’ accusation of blasphemy was based on their misunderstanding of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. In John 10:33, 34, 35, 36, when accused of blasphemy, Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6, illustrating that His claim was consistent with Jewish scripture. Jesus often spoke of being sent by the Father and doing the works of the Father (John 5:36), indicating a role as a divine agent rather than being co-equal with the Father. His mission was to reveal God and bring people to understand Him, emphasizing His role as the Messiah rather than making an explicit claim to be God. In addressing misunderstandings, Jesus’ teachings and actions consistently pointed to His unique relationship with the Father. For instance, in John 17:3, Jesus prays, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” differentiating between God and Jesus. Thus, while Jesus did not directly deny the Jews’ accusations, His responses and teachings emphasized His role as the Son of God, sent by the Father, and dependent on Him, suggesting a relational distinction rather than a claim of equality with God.

My Reply:

Your careful extended response does not address the argument or evidence I presented.

Let me address an important consideration from what is stated by our Lord Jesus Christ in John 5:21, 22.

Joh 5:21  For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
Joh 5:22  For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (KJV)

Joh 5:21 For just as the Father raises the dead and makes them live on, so the Son too makes alive any whom He chooses to.
Joh 5:22 For the Father passes sentence on no one, but He has committed all judgment to the Son, (Williams NT)

Joh 5:21  In the same way that the Father brings back the dead and gives them life, the Son gives life to anyone he chooses.
Joh 5:22  “The Father doesn’t judge anyone. He has entrusted judgment entirely to the Son (God’s Word translation)

Notice that our Lord Jesus Christ claims that just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son will raise the dead and give life to those He chooses.

No mere prophet has ever been given this authority.

Note further that the Father has entrusted judgment entirely to the Son.

No human being could ever take on such a responsibility. To carry out such judgment, the judge must be omniscient. Jesus is omniscient (all knowing).

Omniscience is an incommunicable attribute of God alone.

Therefore, in this sense, Jesus possesses an important attribute of God or the Godhead, and so in this sense must be acknowledged as God the Son. This is a proof of the Deity of Christ.

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