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John 5:26

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Hath he given to the Son to have life, etc. - Here our Lord speaks of himself in his character of Messiah, or envoy of God.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

As the Father hath life - God is the source of all life. He is thence called the living God, in opposition to idols which have no life. Acts 14:15; “we preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities (idols) ‹unto the living God,‘” Joshua 3:10; 1 Samuel 17:26; Jeremiah 10:10. See also Isaiah 40:18-31.

In himself - This means that life in God, or existence, is not derived from any other being. Our life is derived from God. Genesis 2:7; God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” - that is, a living being. All other creatures derive their life from him. Psalm 104:30, Psalm 104:29; “thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust.” But God is underived. He always existed as he is. Psalm 90:2; “from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” He is unchangeably the same, James 1:17. It cannot be said that he is “self-existent,” because that is an absurdity; no being can originate or create himself; but he is not dependent on any other for “life.” Of course, no being can take away his existence; and of course, also, no being can take away his happiness. He has “in himself” infinite sources of happiness, and no other being, no change in his universe can destroy that happiness.

So - In a manner like his. It corresponds to the first “as,” implying that one is the same as the other; life in the one is the “same,” and possessed in the same manner, as in the other.

Hath he given - This shows that the power or authority here spoken of was “given” or committed to the Lord Jesus. This evidently does not refer to the manner in which the second person of the Trinity exists, for the power and authority of which Christ here speaks is that which he exercises as “Mediator.” It is the power of raising the dead and judging the world. In regard to his divine nature, it is not affirmed here that it is in any manner derived; nor does the fact that God is said to have “given” him this power prove that he was inferior in his nature or that his existence was derived. For:

1. It has reference merely “to office.” As Mediator, he may be said to have been appointed by the Father.

2. Appointment to office does not prove that the one who is appointed is inferior in nature to him who appoints him. A son may be appointed to a particular work by a parent, and yet, in regard to talents and every other qualification, may be equal or superior to the father. He sustains the relation of a son, and in this relation there is an official inferiority. General Washington was not inferior in nature and talents to the men who commissioned him. He simply derived authority from them to do what he was otherwise fully “able” to do. So the Son, “as Mediator,” is subject to the Father; yet this proves nothing about his nature.

To have life - That is, the right or authority of imparting life to others, whether dead in their graves or in their sins.

In himself - There is much that is remarkable in this expression. It is in Him as it is in God. He has the control of it, and can exercise it as he will. The prophets and apostles are never represented as having such power in themselves. They were dependent; they performed miracles in the name of God and of Jesus Christ Acts 3:6; Acts 4:30; Acts 16:18; but Jesus did it by his own name, authority, and power. He had but to speak, and it was done, Mark 5:41; Luke 7:14; John 11:43. This wonderful commission he bore from God to raise up the dead as he pleased; to convert sinners when and where he chose; and finally to raise up all the dead, and pronounce on them an eternal doom according to the deeds done in the body. None could do this but he who had the power of creation - equal in omnipotence to the Father, and the power of searching all hearts - equal in omniscience to God.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day.
Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 145.3

Jesus “has life in himself,” and this life He offers to impart freely, to souls that are dead in trespasses and sins. Yea, He shares with them His purity, His honor, and exaltation.... The sapless branch, ingrafted into the living vine, becomes a part of the vine. It lives while united to the vine. So the Christian lives by virtue of his union with Christ. The sinful and human is linked to the holy and divine. The believing soul abides in Christ, and becomes one with Him. When persons are closely united in the relations of this life, their tastes become similar, they come to love the same things. So those who abide in Christ will love the things which He loves. They will sacredly cherish and obey His commandments.... OHC 145.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 348.1

For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. John 5:26, 27. LHU 348.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 249-50

That God should thus be manifest in the flesh is indeed a mystery; and without the help of the Holy Spirit we cannot hope to comprehend this subject. The most humbling lesson that man has to learn is the nothingness of human wisdom, and the folly of trying, by his own unaided efforts, to find out God. He may exert his intellectual powers to the utmost, he may have what the world calls a superior education, yet he may still be ignorant in God's eyes. The ancient philosophers boasted of their wisdom; but how did it weigh in the scale with God? Solomon had great learning; but his wisdom was foolishness; for he did not know how to stand in moral independence, free from sin, in the strength of a character molded after the divine similitude. Solomon has told us the result of his research, his painstaking efforts, his persevering inquiry. He pronounces his wisdom altogether vanity. 1SM 249.1

By wisdom the world knew not God. Their estimation of the divine character, their imperfect knowledge of His attributes, did not enlarge and expand their mental conception. Their minds were not ennobled in conformity to the divine will, but they plunged into the grossest idolatry. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:22, 23). This is the worth of all requirements and knowledge apart from Christ. 1SM 249.2

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 348.2

To His Son the Father has committed all judgment. Christ will declare the reward of loyalty. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.... And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” Christ accepted humanity and lived on this earth a pure, sanctified life. For this reason He has received the appointment of judge. He who occupies the position of judge is God manifest in the flesh. What a joy it will be to recognize in Him our Teacher and Redeemer, bearing still the marks of the crucifixion, from which shine beams of glory, giving additional value to the crowns which the redeemed receive from His hands, the very hands outstretched in blessing over His disciples as He ascended. The very voice which said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” bids His ransomed ones welcome to His presence. The very One who gave His precious life for them, who by His grace moved their hearts to repentance, who awakened them to their need of repentance, receives them now into His joy. Oh, how they love Him! The realization of their hope is infinitely greater than their expectation. Their joy is complete, and they take their glittering crowns and cast them at their Redeemer's feet.... LHU 348.2

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