16They started making a lot of trouble for Jesus because he did things like this on the Sabbath.
17But Jesus said, “My Father has never stopped working, and this is why I keep on working.” 18 Now the leaders wanted to kill Jesus for two reasons. First, he had broken the law of the Sabbath. But even worse, he had said God was his Father, which made him equal with God.
The Son's Authority
19Jesus told the people:
I tell you for certain the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do. 20The Father loves the Son and has shown him everything he does. The Father will show him even greater things, and you will be amazed.
My boys loved Sesame Street. Thus, I have watched a lot of Sesame Street shows. One of my favorite songs was the song that helped children group things. Perhaps you know it? “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong. Can you tell me which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?”
We live in a world with many ideas about what God is like. If you google “what is God like?” you get over a billion hits! There weren’t this many options in Jesus’ day. But, the question was important all the same. Today’s passage focuses on the conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leaders because Jesus was doing things contrary to what they thought someone from God would do. The Jews had good reasons for thinking about God the way they did: they were special people; they had Torah, Temple, and prophets.
But Jesus explains that he is only doing what the Father is doing. Nothing Jesus does is at his own initiative, but at the Father’s. The things Jesus does are the things he has seen the Father do.
In a world with so many options as to what God is like, we too can get confused. When we do we should remember that Jesus shows us what the Father is doing. Look to Jesus, believe his message, and set aside all those ideas that don’t fit with Jesus, because in regard to knowing God, they don’t belong.
Gracious God, thank you for sending us Jesus to show us what you are doing in the world. May your Spirit remind us to look to Jesus when we are confused about what you are like and what you are doing. Amen.