The Father Grants Judgment Authority to Jesus

We learn from Jesus’ own words that Jesus represents the Father fully, but the Father also grants authority to Jesus. Jesus talks about this during a discussion with the Jewish leaders which is reported in John chapter 5.


Photo credit via MorgueFile

Jesus had encountered a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. He healed him and told him to pick up his mat and walk, which the man did. But there was a problem: it was the Sabbath, and it was forbidden to carry one’s mat on the Sabbath.

How Jesus Upset the Jewish Leaders

After some inquiry from some Jewish leaders as to why the man was violating the Sabbath, he replied that the one who healed him told him to do it. Who was the one who told him this? Sure enough, it was that trouble maker Jesus. They had dealt with him before.

The story continues,

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

They were not happy with Jesus’ response. He claimed that his Father was working on the Sabbath too, and it did not escape their notice that Jesus was talking about God—he was claiming that God was his own Father. This was unacceptable so they tried to kill him.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

Jesus claims to be following the lead of his Father and even that the Father shows him all he does.  This implies a tremendously intimate familiarity with God. Even the greatest prophets never suggested such a thing!

Jesus Makes an Incredible Claim

But Jesus isn’t finished yet. He follows up with an even bigger claim,

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.”

Did the Jewish leaders hear Jesus correctly? God entrusts all judgment to this Jesus! Just in case they were in doubt about what he said, Jesus tells them more clearly,

Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

There we have it: the Father grants all judgment authority to Jesus. However, we must not confuse judgment with condemnation; Jesus does not condemn us.

What Does this Mean to Us?

We learned two things about Jesus and the Father in these last two posts:

To know the Father’s attitude toward us, we need only to discover Jesus’ attitude toward us; and we learn that Jesus welcomes us and wishes to give us rest and release our burdens. To know how we are judged, we need only to discover how Jesus judges us and realize that he understands us and wishes to take away the alienation we feel between us and the Father–we will begin to talk more about that next week.

If you have ever been frightened or confused by descriptions of an angry, violent, and vindictive God of the Old Testament, you need only see the Father through the perfect mirror of Jesus. The Old Testament writers described God as they understood him; and so does Jesus. But which understands the Father better?

I have to go with Jesus.

The Father loves each of us and wishes to establish a good relationship with us. This is his only attitude toward us.

Your observations and comments are welcome below.
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19 Responses to The Father Grants Judgment Authority to Jesus

  1. michaeleeast says:

    I don’t believe that Jesus judges us.
    If Jesus is like the Father and the Father judges no one
    why would Jesus judge us?
    When the Pharisees tempted him to judge the woman
    he drew on the ground.
    Jesus attitude is one of love and forgiveness.


    • I agree that Jesus’ attitude (and the Father’s) is one of love and forgiveness. It is good news that Father grants judgment authority to Jesus because many people think of God as harsh and vindictive, though they are mistaken.


    • Marc says:

      People all to often equate the term judgment with condemnation. Judgment is really a diagnosis of what is needed to bring about correction. Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, diagnosis’ our condition and prescribes therapies to bring us to spiritual and physical health. That the therapies prescribed can be painful and punishing, does not mean that Jesus is harsh or vindictive.


      • Thanks Marc, you bring up an interesting point about judgment and condemnation. And I think you are right that Jesus is not harsh or vindictive. However, I am not sure what you mean when you say the therapies are punishing. Though growth is sometimes painful, I don’t think we are ever punished by Jesus or by the Father.


    • dfanim says:

      “Judging” is not the same as “condemning.”


    • Hi Michael, I’m curious about your point that the Father judges no one, what are you referencing for that? And to that point, I’m also curious about the same question regarding Jesus?


      • michaeleeast says:

        “The Father judges no one” John 5:22a (NRSV)
        “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.’ John 5:19 (NRSV)
        If the Father judges no one then the Son does likewise.:


      • michaeleeast says:

        “‘The Father judges no one”‘ John 5:22a (NRSV)
        “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on hos own,
        but only what he sees the Father doing;
        for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.'” John 5:19 (NRSV)
        if the Father judges no one then the Son does likewise.


        • Thanks for that clarification Michael. Just for some fun debate and not being argumentative or anything. If we take the text at face value and not get into the validity of any of it, it would seem that the verse gives the reader two choices. 1) to believe that the Bible says that God judges, as he did extensively in the Old Testament 2) to believe that Jesus is saying that God no longer judges now that he’s on the scene and has taken over judging. But I don’t see a #3 option that says nobody judges anymore, at least not from the text. Logic yes, but not the text 🙂 I see your point that Jesus is like the father, but I think he’s just announcing that the baton has been passed within the whole of God. Does that make any sense?


          • michaeleeast says:

            My personal belief is that God did not judge in the first place.
            I know that this contradicts the Old Testament.
            But a lot of things in the Old Testament are contradicted in the New Testament.


  2. I go with Jesus as well. I believe God wants us all to have relationship with Him as His sons and daughters. This post has profound Truth interwoven in it’s words. I thank you for writing this.


  3. Pingback: The Father Grants Judgment Authority to Jesus | Jesus Without Baggage

  4. Pingback: Jesus Represents the Father Fully | Jesus Without Baggage

  5. Kirk Shelton says:

    Interesting to notice Jesus saying that when he speaks to the dead in the near future (presumably referring to his “descent into ‘Hell/Hades” the Apostles’ Creed speaks of), those that hear will live. In the previous post you quoted one of the Gospels that say that the only ones who know the Father are those Jesus “chooses” to reveal him to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good point, Kirk. However, In the larger scope of things, I really think Jesus chooses to reveal himself to everyone at some point–even if it is after death.


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