“For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.” John 5:21-23
These scriptures are Jesus’ claim to be God. Jesus explains that these greater works have to do with giving life and judging. 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. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son. The Father has put everything into the Son’s hands, including the most fundamental realities of human existence, the giving of life and judgment. These two activities are at the heart of everything Jesus does in this Gospel, and these verses spell out his right to such responsibility and power.
Jesus has been commissioned by God as his agent, but he transcends that role. He does not simply commit to the Father’s plan and faithfully execute it, as a good agent would do. He is to give life to whom he is pleased to give it. Jesus’ own will is involved. While Jesus can do nothing by himself, he does have a will of his own, and the Father authorizes Jesus to act according to that will. His human will, however, is completely in harmony with the Father’s will. So again we see the distinctness and the oneness of the Father and the Son. An agent might bring life in the name of God, but no agent could say “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). This statement, spoken by Jesus at the raising of Lazarus, helps us perceive the significance of his staggering claims made here in this chapter. Indeed, the raising of Lazarus is one of the greater works that does cause onlookers to marvel.