What Jesus Did! 'Equal with God' — John 5:18

Sunday, April 3, 2022

So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill [Jesus]. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
— John 5:18 NLT

Key Thought

John's Gospel confronts us with a crucial decision: Is Jesus really the Son of God, God with us in human flesh? John paints the story of Jesus so we see that he claims to be God in the "I am" statements, for example:

  • "I am the bread of life."
  • "I am the light of the world."
  • "I am the good shepherd."
  • "I am the resurrection and the life." [1]
These "I Am" statements tie Jesus to the revelation of Israel's God. [2] Jesus does only what the Father wants him to do. [3] Jesus and the Father are one. [4] If we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father. [5] While we may not fully grasp what the assertion "Jesus is the Son of God" [6] truly means, Jesus' opponents in his own day did. They knew he was making himself equal with God. Their reaction was appropriate for them because they believed Jesus was a blasphemer who must be stopped. Indeed, either he was a delusional power-grabbing religious rebel who must be thwarted, or he is God with us, Immanuel, Son of God, and our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. What is your decision?

[1] John 6:35, 8:12, 10:7, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1.
[2] Exodus 3, especially Exodus 3:14.
[3] John 6:38.
[4] John 10:30.
[5] John 14:9.
[6] 1 John 4:15.

Today's Prayer

Father in heaven, thank you for being God come in human flesh. Jesus shows me so much of who you are and how you care about me. Forgive me for the times I have not held you in appropriate reverence. Forgive me for the times that I have robbed your incarnation of its grit and mortality. I confess that I cannot fully comprehend how divine incarnation works, but I do know this, dear Father: I believe that Jesus Christ is your Son and my great God and Savior. In his name, I pray and praise you. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 1:1-2, 14, 18
  • John 14:6-11
  • Titus 2:11-14


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Illustration of John 5:18 NLT — So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill [Jesus]. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.