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Like Father, Like Son

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | March 23, 2024 | John 5:16-23



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. John 5:19-20 (NIV)


In today’s passage, Jesus reveals his unique relationship with the Father, asserting His divinity and equality with God. In this extended discussion, Jesus explained to the religious leaders some of the nature of His relationship and work with God the Father. Jesus explained that He does nothing independently. He was and remains completely surrendered to the will of the Father. This was Jesus’ way of telling the religious leaders that He did not tell the healed man to carry his bed on His authority; He did it in complete submission to God the Father in heaven. Jesus' claim to be the Son of God was not merely a title but a statement of His divine nature. He and the Father are one, working in perfect harmony and unity. He emphasizes that His actions perfectly align with the Father's will, demonstrating their unity of purpose.


It is impossible for a lion to give birth to a lamb, and for a crab to give birth to a bird or bear to behave like a rabbit. Our Lord can't act in any way that is not like His Father. This passage calls us to consider how we reflect the character of our Heavenly Father in our lives. Jesus' relationship with the Father serves as a model for our relationship with God. As Jesus imitated the Father, so should we seek to imitate Christ in all our lives. 



How does Jesus' relationship with the Father challenge your understanding of your relationship with God? In what ways can you more closely align your actions with the will of the Father, as Jesus did? If you are truly a child of God, then let your life reflect the character of your Father who is in heaven. Like Father, like Son.  



Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Jesus, who perfectly reflects your character and will. Help me to imitate Christ in all I do, aligning my actions with your perfect plan. Help me to seek to do what I see you doing in my life. May my actions reflect your character and bring glory to your name. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.  





The phrase "can do nothing" is translated from the Greek word "οὐδὲν δύναται" (ouden dynatai), which emphasizes Jesus' dependence on the Father. Despite His divine nature, Jesus willingly submits Himself to the will of the Father, illustrating perfect obedience and humility. The Greek word "δύναμαι" (dynamai), from which "δύναται" (dynatai) is derived, encompasses the idea of inherent power or ability. By acknowledging His inability to act apart from the Father, Jesus emphasizes the unity and cooperation within the Trinity. This divine synergy illustrates the Father's loving guidance and the Son's willing obedience, resulting in the manifestation of God's will on earth.

This phrase underscores the unity and co-equality of the Father and the Son within the Godhead. Jesus, as the Son, shares in the divine nature and possesses inherent authority and power. However, He voluntarily relinquishes His independent prerogatives to demonstrate divine humility and servanthood. By aligning His will with the Father's will, Jesus exemplifies the ideal human response to God's sovereignty.


How can we emulate Jesus' example of dependence on the Father in our own lives? How does recognizing our limitations and relying on God's strength empower us to fulfil His purposes?

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