John 5:22, 23
F. A. Hughes.
The foregoing paper (Note: this refers to a preceding article by Dr. D. Paterson titled, "Thou" or "You" — when addressing the Father or the Son), unusual in its character, is printed after much careful and prayerful consideration. One statement, outstanding in its seriousness, has had a profound influence upon the decision, affecting as it does the glory of our beloved Lord. It reads —
"the deity of Jesus was watered down . . by the use of the word 'you' in referring to Him, while 'thou' was always used with reference to God . . . this principle was followed on the ground that the disciples in referring to Him were not aware of His deity."
One wonders whether the author of these words has ever read the Gospels at all!
In John 5 we read — "the Father . . . hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him" (vv. 22, 23). The word "honour" quite definitely implies the thought of "to revere." Partiality expressed by the human mind in its ascription of honour to Divine Persons carries its own condemnation!
The deity of Jesus is witnessed throughout the whole of Scripture, indeed the purport of Scripture would utterly fail were it not so. In this "postscript" we can but briefly refer to this precious and eternally important truth.
Isaiah 9 gives us the Name of the Child that should be born as "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father (or, the Father of eternity), the Prince of Peace." A name bespeaks renown, and it is delightful to the believer to see every feature of this Name reflected in the words and movements of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. Matthew 1:23 in referring to this holy matter says — "they shall call His Name Emmanuel — God with us". In Colossians 1 we read that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Him when here in Manhood, and in Colossians 2 we read that in Him as "Head of all principality and power" — a glorified Man in heaven — the fulness of Godhead abides.
It is to Him that every knee shall bow — and it is to Him that every tongue shall say, "Lord." He is the alone Person in the universe having the right to speak alongside God Himself. The "I also" of Matthew 16 and of John 14 speak without any possibility of contradiction of His deity. Read the magnificent utterances of the Holy Spirit in John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1, and many, many other portions of the Word — the scintillating rays of His deity shine out on page after page. Each chapter mentioned here speaks of His creatorial power. The Name Elohim (plural) in the first verse of Scripture embraces His holy Person; the last verse of Scripture envisages His eternity of divine love. In His Person He is the resurrection — a sphere completely beyond the activities and power of men, where God is working out everything for His own glory. He is addressed by God Himself as "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;" and if it be urged that this is just a quotation from Psalm 45 let the critic know that it is in the vocative case! Everything created was the work of His hand (John 1). He made the stars also — yes — the Arcturus that Job speaks of in Job 9 — a star in the milky way galaxy some 25,000 times the diameter of the sun! Astronomers tell us that the milky way has one hundred billion stars — and that there are a billion more of such collections of stars. But why relate these staggering facts? Because — "He made the stars."
But, beloved, He has done more, far more, than this. In His love, His precious eternal love, He has laid at Calvary's cross the foundation for God's eternal joy and glory — and for the eternal blessing of all who honour Him as Saviour and Lord.
We touch but the fringe of His glories. If the recording of things which Jesus did (John 21) would be more than the world could contain, then His glories, Personal, official and moral, will fill the universe of God eternally and provide substance for increasing worship and praise from countless myriads of redeemed hearts.
Let us further notice that Christ — the erstwhile refused and presently slighted Jesus — is the only One worthy to sit at God's right hand. No man, no angel, has that place of honour. It is reserved for "Christ . . . Who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen" (Romans 9:5).
"But to which of the angels said He (God) at any time, Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (Hebrews 1:13). Listen to His won words addressed to John on Patmos — "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Again — "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; I am He that liveth, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1). This grand apokalupsis — the unfolding of God's final ways in the Universe, adorns its first page with the glories of our beloved Lord, and in its last chapter allows us to hear yet once again the majestic words of this glorious Person — "I and Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (in this verse, Revelation 22:13, and in Revelation 1:17 the pronoun I is emphatic). We conclude with one further reference, a statement from His own blessed lips which rejoices every heart in which He is supreme, and which should effectively silence every voice which seeks to detract from His greatness and glory in deity, a word addressed to those whose appreciation of His preciousness had waned — "These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" (Revelation 3:14). The title "Amen" is "the God of Truth" (cf. Isaiah 65:14). His deity is beyond question — He is God, and in holy awe we worship and adore His glorious Name.
We have but touched the fringe of His greatness and worth!
"Of the vast universe of bliss,
The Centre Thou, and Sun;
Th'eternal theme of praise is this,
To heaven's beloved One;
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!"