Meditations on Jesus in John’s Gospel : 34 : Jesus, Focus of Honour
Jn 5:22-23 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.
To honour someone is to respect or highly esteem them and more often than not we show it by some act of deference. We honour people because of who they are and what they have achieved. In this sense God is to be honoured above all others. We express our recognition of this honour by worshipping Him.
When a country sends an ambassador, the way the host country treats the ambassador is an indication of what they feel about the sending country. If they honour the sending country, they will honour the ambassador. Giving honour is an indication of the high feelings you have about that person, and honouring their representative is exactly the same.
In our verses today Jesus starts by speaking about judgement and makes a strange sounding statement: the Father judges no one. Now that is strange because from early on in the Bible (Gen 18:25) God is seen as a Judge. So how it is now, that Jesus says that the Father judges no one? The answer comes in what follows: but has entrusted all judgment to the Son. Individual judgement, says Jesus rests in him. Does that mean that he assesses each person on their works? No, for those who have heard of Jesus, their judgement depends on how they have responded to Jesus.
The basis of judgement today is upon how an individual responded to the news of Jesus. Even a child at Sunday School, or even ordinary school, who hears mention of Jesus is judged on their response to him. Even if his name is just used as a swear word people have heard his name in our society. Do they wonder about it, do they go searching to find out about this name, and having read of him, have their hearts been stirred? Their responses to the name and person of Jesus Christ reveals something about what is there on the inside. It is that response, or the lack of it, that judges each person.
In these verses judgement and honour are tightly bound together. If you hear about Jesus, go finding out about him and have your heart lifted by him, you are honouring him for who he is and you are assessed or judged on the basis of that honouring. Those who have hearts to seek God will, when they hear of Jesus, realise who he is and honour him in the same way that they honour God in their hearts, thus they honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Indeed if they don’t honour the Son that is an indication of the state of their heart and an indication of what they feel about God and so He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father. Jesus revealed the Father by his character, his nature and by everything that he did.
If we are too blind to see this, then it shows that our hearts are blind to God. The truth is that we judge ourselves. Someone has given the example of a person going to hear a piece of great music and, coming out, they criticise it and say how they didn’t enjoy it. This is not a criticism of the great music but a revelation that the person in question either doesn’t understand music or doesn’t have music in them. Similarly the man or woman who can read all about this wonderful person who walked the earth two thousand years ago, and remain cold towards him, reveals their inability to appreciate goodness and holiness and perfection. They judge themselves when they fail to honour the Son and the One who sent him.