Even with the Jews seeking to kill Him because of His claim of equality with God (John 5:18), Jesus continues to add fuel to the fire. Starting in John 5:19, Jesus begins a discourse where He shows in what sense He claims equality with God.
19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (God, the Father, initiates; the Son follows.) 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; (The unity of the Father and Son is based on love.) and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. (The Father has given the Son authority over life and death.) 22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, (The Father has given the Son authority to judge.) 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. (We honor the Father by showing honor to the Son.) He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
The honor of the Father and the Son are tightly linked. Jesus is making it clear that no one can refuse the Son’s claims and still say they honor the Father. This is exactly what Jesus’ opponents were trying to do. They claimed to be followers of God, but at the same time were seeking to kill the one who claimed to be His Son. The honor of God the Father and Jesus the Son are inextricably linked.
The application here is not just to the Jews who heard Jesus’ words in the first century. There is application for us as well. We cannot call ourselves followers of God without wholeheartedly embracing the Christ He has sent and the message of the Christ He has sent. Many people want to embrace a portion of Christ’s message; His moral platitudes and ethical teaching. But if we are to honor the Father, we must honor His Son and embrace the entire message of Christ including His exclusive claim to be the only way to heaven; a claim Jesus expounds on in the very next verse.
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (For the first of many many times in John chapters 5 through 7, Jesus links “believe” and “eternal life.” We will look at every one of these verses. Here the focus is on belief in God and believing that it is He who sent Jesus, the Son. Jesus identifies Himself, “Me”, as the one sent by God.)
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (More discussion of God granting to Jesus authority over life and death and judgment.)
30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (Again, the Father initiates, and I act, because it is God the Father who sent Me and it is God the Father who has given Me my marching orders.)