Today’s reading: John 5:1-24
In today’s reading, it seems like Jesus is stating two conflicting things. First, he states:
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” John 5:17
The Jews are outraged because they see this see this and Jesus making himself equal to the Father. Then, just a few verses later, Jesus states:
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” John 5:19
This second verse seems to assert that the Son is less than the Father and would be inconsistent with the preceding verse. How do we reconcile this?
First, we must acknowledge that the nature of the Trinity is a mystery. It cannot be fully understood in this life. We can only grasp twinges of insight into its nature.
Second, we know that Jesus is the incarnate word of God. As we discussed in John chapter 1, we can understand that this means that the image God has of himself in his mind is perfect and therefore has all the attributes of God. That image is, therefore, the Son. Imagine for a moment if the image you have of yourself in your mind was another person. A person that in one sense was separate because they could converse with you but in another sense was still so perfectly united to you that you are at all times one being. Imagine that while you could converse with this other person you were so closely united that you knew what each other would say before you said it. In fact, even closer, so close in fact that whatever the other person would say would be the same thing you would want to say if asked the same question.
This exercise gives a tiny little glimpse into the interior life of the Trinity. While the Father is working, the Son is also working. Yet, at the same time, since the Son is begotten from the mind of the Father, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” The Trinity is a fascinating thing to pray about and contemplate. It is infinitely worthy of our consideration.
Tomorrow: John 5:25-41