Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 7/2/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” 

                                                                                  John 5:19–24 (NASB95)

Growing up in the 70’s, whenever I hear the words Like Father, Like Son, I always remember the old anti-smoking television commercial of a father and a son spending the day together and the son doing everything the father does…including reaching for a cigarette when the pair stopped to rest in the park. I also like to watch This Old House, which also began in the 70’s. Not too many years ago This Old House began a spin-off show called Ask This Old House, a show where the stars of the show travel around the country answering viewers questions and helping with common household repairs.

Recently the show did an episode where the stars talked about those who influenced their lives and careers the most. To a person, each member of the show named their father as the biggest influence in their lives and careers. Each member followed in their father’s footsteps, including working with their fathers on the job. In effect, they imitated their fathers and used those skills to launch their careers and develop new skills and talents. To become successful they simply did what they saw their father doing. And this is exactly what we find happening in our passage this morning. Like Father, Like Son, Jesus is doing whatever He sees His Father doing, only this brings Him persecution before it will bring Him success.

Jesus answered the charge of breaking the Sabbath by explaining He is doing whatever He sees the Father doing. Like Father, Like Son, He has the power to give life and the power to judge. Those who honor Him, honor the Father, and those who hear the words of Jesus, believing Him who sent Jesus, move from death into life.

As Christ followers, we too must be doing whatever we see the Father and the Son doing – even if it means breaking the Sabbath. We point the way to the One who has the power of life and the power to judge. Like Father, Like Son, we honor the Son to honor the Father; having heard the words of Jesus and having believed He is the Son of God, we have moved from death to life.

In this message we seek to understand how the Christ follower is also Like Father, Like Son.

Like Farther, Like Son the words and actions of the Christ follower can help – or hinder – moving people from death to life.

1). Like Father Like Son, the Christ follower must be doing whatever we see the Father and the Son doing.

This might mean breaking the Sabbath because our love for people is more important than keeping the Sabbath.

After healing the man who been ill for thirty-eight years, the Pharisees bring charges against Jesus of breaking the Sabbath and being a blasphemer because He has made Himself equal to God. Our passage this morning is the beginning of the answer given by Yeshua that will last the remainder of chapter 5. In plain language, Jesus says “Look, I cannot do anything on My own. Whatever I see the Father doing, I do them Myself. I am only doing what I see My Father doing.” So, what exactly is Jesus doing? He is doing exactly what He came to do…reveal the Father to people…everyone including these Pharisees. In the end, Yeshua will reveal all things about the Father, but in particular, we see Jesus revealing the Father’s mercy, the Father’s grace, and the Father’s love.

This began back in chapter 1 of John’s gospel account where he says that “grace and truth have been realized” in Jesus. In verse 18 John tells us that Jesus, the only begotten, has explained God. This explanation of the Father begins with the rest of chapter one. We find Yeshua, the Son of God being revealed as the Lamb of God, the cure for sin; we see how the Father draws even the most skeptical of people to Him and into fellowship with His Son. We see how the Father rewards those who step out in faith to trust Him when He intervened at the wedding in Cana; we see how the Father cares about worship in His house at the cleansing of the Temple, the clearing of the money collectors and merchants from the Court of the Gentiles, the only place they are allowed to worship the Father.

In chapter three we see the care and concern the Father has for those who diligently seek Him, regardless of their current position or status, in the conversation with Nicodemus. At the end of chapter three we see how the Father works to reveal things to those He has called by the bold testimony of John the Baptist. In the Samaritan woman we see the compassion of the Father for those who are hurting in ways we cannot see; we find how the Father rewards the obedience of those who trust His spoken words. In chapter five, we see how the Father seeks to bring people to wholeness in the man who had been ill for thirty-eight years. And in our current passage, we see how the Father rewards those who are utterly dependent upon Him.

It is through the example of the Son doing what the Father is doing that the disciples learn from Jesus to do as He is doing. Though they are slow to learn at time, they do indeed learn from Jesus. A prime example of this is chapter four when the people of Samaria come out to meet Jesus. Jesus has told the disciples they are about to enter into someone else’s work. Part of this work is the work of the Father that the Son has seen Him doing and has Himself done with the Samaritan woman at the well. Remember, Jesus was compelled to walk through Samaria…because His Father was already walking there, working to draw people to Himself.

As Christ followers, we must be willing to do whatever we see the Father and the Son doing. This would include doing those things that take out of our comfort zones and make us feel a little bit uncomfortable. We just might even find ourselves with dirty hands at the end of the day! Throughout the Scriptures we see both the Father and the Son having compassion on people as if they were sheep without a shepherd. We too must have that same compassion for those who are lost and searching for a shepherd. We also see both the Father and Son offering unconditional love throughout the Scriptures. In fact, the greatest act of love is found in the Father giving His only Son to be crucified that we might have eternal life. We must have this same kind of love for the lost in our world.

We also find the Father and Son communicating at all times. Jesus spends much time in prayer, communicating with His Father. He prayed before selecting His disciples. He prayed before feeding the two large crowds. He prays before and after sending His disciples out into the world. He prays after a lengthy day of dealing with the large crowds that follow Him. Throughout the New Testament we hear Jesus saying He heard something from His Father. He also talks about how the Father reveals things to Him. And here we read that the Father loves the Son and is showing Him (Jesus) all He (the Father) is doing. Communication between Father and Son is at a premium. We must have this same commitment to communication with the Father and His Son, our Lord.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

When was the last time you “saw” the Father and the Son doing something and started doing this same thing?

How are you showing others the mercy, grace, and love of God found in Christ?

How is your communication with the Father and His Son, our Lord?

Like Farther, Like Son the words and actions of the Christ follower can help – or hinder – moving people from death to life.

2). Like Father, Like Son the words of the Christ follower have the power to bring life or cast someone into judgment.

A word of encouragement can bring life to a lifeless soul, but a harsh word spoken carelessly might, unintentionally, sent cast shadows of judgment.

Because of His absolute dependence on the Father we see Yeshua given the ability to do all things the Father is doing. The Psalms tell us that God alone judges. Daniel and Jeremiah tell us the Messiah will have authority to judge. In John we see Jesus claiming and demonstrating His authority to judge. Isaiah tells us God alone heals. Isaiah also tells us the Messiah will have the power to heal. In John we see Jesus demonstrating His power to heal. In Genesis, Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, and 2 Kings, we find that God alone gives life. Isaiah tells us that the Messiah has power to give life. In John we see Jesus claiming and demonstrating His power to give life.

In fact, Jesus has stated plainly that He CANNOT do anything on His own.  Notice that Jesus did not say He WOULD NOT but rather that He cannot do something the Father is not doing. Unless He has seen the Father doing something He cannot do it Himself. Think about the implications for what we have seen in John alone. Jesus turned water to wine meaning He saw the Father doing this exact same thing. Jesus cleansed the Temple of merchants meaning Jesus saw the Father doing this same thing. Jesus showed compassion, mercy, healed, gave life, and is in the process of judging all because He has seen the Father doing the same things.

Everything the Son does is meant to bring honor to the Father. Yeshua does not step outside of His Fathers influence, protection, or instructions. He will only do what the Father has shown Him or made known to Him. He honors the Father that others might also honor the Father, either directly or through honoring the Son, Yeshua. Every healing is meant to honor the Father. Every life returned to someone is meant to honor the Father. Every rebuke, command and teaching are meant to honor the Father. Through honoring the Father comes judgment.

Jesus states that those who hear His words and believe One who sent Him will have eternal life. But it is the second part that should truly capture our attention…those who hear and believe do not enter into judgment but pass from life to death. Jesus clearly has the power over life and death and now He has added the power to judge or to keep someone from judgment. There can be absolutely no doubt that the Father and Son are equal, sharing the same power to give life and to judge. The Son has been sent by the Father as His representative, equal in power and able to speak with authority for the Father.

In John chapter 5 we see the Son doing as the Father is doing…judging, healing, and giving life. We too can and must be willing to do all of this in gentleness and love. It is a mistaken thought that we are NOT to judge. This is not at all what the Scriptures teach us. The Scriptures say we are not to judge HYPOCRITICALLY. What this means is we do not judge someone’s sin while at the same time keeping the same sin hidden from others. We also cannot and must not judge someone’s heart or motives, this task is best left to the Lord. We must also be aware of how we speak to others for our words can judge, bring life and healing, or tear a person down, even if it is done unintentionally.

We forget the power of the spoken word. How many times have you been having a day that could go either way…good or bad, and then someone pops off a comment that completely sends your day in a tailspin? Or how many horrible days have been turned around by a simple word of encouragement from someone who had no clue you were having a bad day? One word cast shadows of judgment while the other word brought life to a hopeless day. What parent hasn’t snapped at their child and then felt the overwhelming guilt for speaking without thinking? How many people can you think of that have spoken kindly to you and influenced your day, week, month, or even your career? We must never forget the power of our words.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How are your words bringing life and healing to others? Or are they casting shadows of judgment?

What do you hear the Father and/or the Son speaking to you?

Can you think of someone close to you that needs to hear an encouraging word today?

Like Farther, Like Son the words and actions of the Christ follower can help – or hinder – moving people from death to life.

Doing what we “see” the Father and the Son doing is never going to be easy, but it is what we are called to do. We have been set apart for the holy purposes of a holy God. At times, that will mean, we will be moved beyond where we are comfortable, and we will need to get our hands dirty at other times. But in doing what we see the Father and Son doing will come great reward. Imagine how the disciples must have felt when they looked up to see the people of Samaria coming out to meet Jesus. Imagine the work they must have put in as they kept coming and coming. Jesus made a point of telling them they were going to reap where they did not sow. They took part in that great soul harvest of the Samaritan people. We are called to take part of the soul harvest in our sphere of influence.

We are also kept from judgment as long as we continue to hear the words of Jesus and believe the One who sent Jesus. We have moved from death into life, walking in the Light of Christ Jesus. Now it is our responsibility to show this same love to others who do not know Jesus. Yes, this is a scary prospect, and the work is not going to be easy. But we have an advantage, the promised Holy Spirit, sent to help us remember the teachings and commands of Jesus, to walk with us through everything we face and to bring us the right words at the right time, in even the most difficult of situations.

This will not be easy, nor should we expect it to be easy. But the rewards far outweigh any suffering or persecution we might suffer. Time is growing short so keep your eyes open and your ears tuned for the Father and Son will surely be showing us where they are working and how we can work beside them in the coming day, weeks and months.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next week: John 5:25-32

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