John 5:23 Commentary - The Apologists Bible CommentaryThe Apologists Bible Commentary
23 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.
Commentary Jesus now reveals the reason that all judgment has been given to Him: So that all will honor the Son just as they do the Father. This statement must have taken the Jews' breath away. No prophet or angel had ever uttered such words. It seems inconceivable that any creature could ever do so. Even a powerful angelic being or a lesser, created "god," sent to earth to represent the Father would never say that judgment had been given to him so that all would honor him equally with the Father. Honor him, perhaps, but certainly not to the same degree as that rendered to the Almighty God who created him. To claim equality of honor with the Father - indeed, to claim equality with the Father in any area whatsoever - is a tacit claim to equality with God. It would be so in any context, but it is particularly cogent in one in which Jesus is answering the Jews' accusations of blasphemy (verse 18). The claim that the Father has placed all judgment in the hands of the Son because the Father wishes all to honor the Son just as they honor Him places the Son well outside the role of a mere representative or functionary. While ambassadors in ancient times were received as though they were the king they represented, they were not accorded equal honor, and certainly would have never claimed it for themselves. The honor given the Son, however, does not detract from that given the Father. The implication here is that honoring the Son also honors the Father - for while "every knee will bow" at the name of Jesus, it will be to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). The loving unity of Father and Son, which Jesus has been explaining throughout this passage, points to the fundamental truth that the One God has revealed Himself completely in the person of His one and only Son, and this complete revelation is only possible because the Father and the Son are essentially One. Thus, by giving all judgment to the Son, the Father wishes that all would honor the Son as they do Him - for the Father knows that His glory - which He will not share with another (Isaiah 42:8) - is not compromised when shared with His Divine Son. This statement is followed by one even more breathtaking: "He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." Jesus is making reverence of the Father dependent upon reverencing Him. Those who would weaken the first half of this verse are still confronted by the second. For regardless of how one might wish to understand "honor" or "even as," Jesus says here that those who do not honor Him fail to honor the Father. We may consider whether one who honors the Father, but does not honor Abraham, or Moses, or even one of God's angels, could reasonably be said to fail to honor the Father. In a theistic universe, such a statement belongs to one who is himself to be addressed as God (cf. 20:28) or to stark insanity. The one who utters such things is to be dismissed with pity or scorn, or worshipped as Lord. If with much current scholarship we retreat to seeing in such material less the claims of the Son than the beliefs and witness of the Evangelist and his church, the same options confront us. Either John is supremely deluded and must be dismissed as a fool, or his witness is true and Jesus is to be ascribed the honors due to God alone. There is no rational middle ground (Carson
Grammatical Analysis `ina panteV timwsi ton`uion kathwV timwsi ton patera`o me timwn ton`uion ou tima ton patera ton pemfanta auton. hINA PANTES TIMФSI TON hUION KATHФS TIMФSI TON PATERA hO ME TIMФN TON hUION OU TIMA TON PATERA TON PEMPHANTA AUTON. So that all shall honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The [one] honoring the Son honors not the Father the [one] having sent Him. TIMФSI ?Honor, value (Vine
Other Views Considered Jehovah's Witnesses objection: An independent Jehovah's Witness website called The Trinity Exposed Website (TEW) wrote the following comments about this verse. This website has since been removed, most likely in response to Watchtower guidelines regarding the Internet. However, this argument is still current among some Witness apologists. Beginning of TEW JOHN 5:23: Some say that this verse implies that Jesus is Jehovah because we are instructed to "honor" the Son "just as" we honor the Father. Is this true? Because we are to honor the Son "just as" we honor the Father, does this make Jesus Jehovah? Some will say YES!! They even take it a step further. They say that the Greek word here rendered "just as" means "to the exact degree, perfectly the same." Is this true? Let's take a look. First let it be said, that it does not say to "worship the Son just as we worship the Father." Yet , still some imagine it means this. The reality is though, that it says to "honor" the Son. What does this mean? The Greek word translated "honor" is "timao." It means to "hold in estimation, respect, honour, to revere." (The Analytical Greek Lexicon by Moulton pg. 405, Strong's Greek Dictionary pg. 72) It is also used at Matthew 15:4 of the way you should view your parents: "For example, God said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Let him that reviles father or mother end up in death.' Christians certainly are not to "worship" their parents are they? Next, the Greek word translated "just as" is "kathos." Just what does this word mean? Does it mean to the "exact degree?" No. This word means "according as, in the manner that." ( Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words pg. 385; The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised 1978, by Moulton pg. 208) Notice it does not say to the same exact degree. We see proof that "kathos" literally cannot mean "to the same exact degree" in 1John 2:6 where it appears: "He that says he remains in union with him is under obligation himself also to go on walking just as that one walked." This verse is telling us that Christians need to walk just as Christ, the perfect man walked. Now the question is: "Can anyone walk "exactly as, to the exact degree" that Jesus walked? Are we perfect? Better still, if Jesus is God, how can we walk "exactly to the same degree" as God? We cannot! Clearly then, to honor the son just as we honor the Father does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah. End of TEW John 5:23 (copied September, 1999). Response: The first point raised, regarding TIMAW, is something of a red-herring. I am unaware of any commentator of note who renders TIMAW "worship," or suggests that this verse teaches us to worship the Son just as we worship the Father (though other verses point us in that direction). Most, however, rightly associate giving honor equally to the Father and Son as valuing, esteeming, or adoring the Father and Son equally, and thus Jesus is answering his accusers with yet another tacit claim to equality with God, though - once again - in such as way as to demonstrate His unity with the Father. The inseparability of the adoration of the Father from that of the Son prohibits any notion that 'next to' and 'besides' God as Father, the Son as 'a second party' must be honored as God. For by giving all things into the hands of the Son, the Father does not retreat to a position behind the Son, but posits himself as present in the Son. God is not two, but one (Ridderbos
Consult other comments:
The Apologists Bible Commentary
Author: Robert Hommel.