For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Trinitarians claim that this verse means one must honor Jesus as God just as one honors the Father as God.
The Claim vs. The Facts
The facts show that one is expected to honor a Sender's representative as one honors the Sender because the one Sent is acting on behalf of the Sender.
The Problem with the Trinitarian Claim
1. Typical Trinitarian Eisgesis
Once again, Trinitarians making this claim impose extraneous notions upon the text which are not there. The text does not say that one must honor the son as God just as one honors the Father as God. The honest reader would ask why one is expected to honor the son as one honors the Father. The Trinitarian doesn't bother to ask; he just makes up whatever is pleasing for himself and his apologetic needs.
2. Typical Trinitarian Hypocrisy
The hypocrisy of Trinitarians is also manifested here. Their interpretation focuses upon the words "just as." However, when Jesus prays for his disciples to be ONE with the Father and himself "just as we are one" at John 17:21, they completely deny that disciples are one with the Father "just as" he says he is one with the Father at John 10:30. They deny this fact since it does not suit their own interpretation of John 10:30. And again, when Jesus sends his disciples into the world "just as as You sent me into the world" (John 17:18), Trinitarians again deny that the disciples are sent into the world just as Jesus was. And they deny this fact because the disciples obviously were not sent by God from heaven down into planet earth which is how they want to interpret the same language in reference to the son. Their interpretation of John 5:23 demonstrates their own shameful hypocrisy.
3. Trinitarians Disregard the Context
Trinitarians completely disregard the context of Jesus' words. He tells us WHY one must honor the son as one honors the Father. The Father (1) sent Jesus, and (2) has handed over His judgment to Jesus. These contextual facts are completely disregarded by Trinitarians to read their doctrines into the text.
Analysis of the Facts
1. The Sender and the Sent one
Notice what John 5:23 actually says, "He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." Jesus is explaining that he came in the name of his Father (5:43). He was sent by the Father to act in the Father's name, on the Father's behalf. He represented the Father and His will. Jesus repeatedly reminds us throughout this Gospel how he speaks the Father's words and does the Father's works. Notice the very next verse. When you heard Jesus' words and believed these words, you were believing the Father who sent him because he spoke the Father's words and was acting on the Father's behalf:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent me... 5:24
When you send someone in your name to act on your behalf, people are expected to honor the person you sent just as they would honor you yourself. And this is expected because the person you sent is representing YOU. You are speaking and acting on their behalf. If people honor the person you sent to act on your behalf, they are honoring you. If they dishonor the person you sent to act of your behalf, they are dishonoring you. Because the person you sent is acting on your behalf, they either honor or dishonor YOU by their response to the person you sent. Jesus was sent to act on behalf of their God, the only God. They were therefore expected to honor him just as they honored the Father because he was representing the Father by delivering the Father's words and works to the people.
I have come in the name of my Father, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the only God? 5:43-44.
If someone receives Jesus and his words and works, they are receiving the Father because He sent Jesus to act on His behalf, in His name, by speaking his words and do his works. In the same way, the risen Jesus sends his disciples (20:21-22) and whoever receives them receives Jesus himself. His disciples are sent in the name of Jesus and act on his behalf.
He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent me. Matthew 10:40.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives me; and he who receives me receives Him who sent me. John 13:20.
2. The Father gave Judgment to the son
Since the Father gave the son the right to execute His judgment, one must honor the son as one honors the Father. This is the case because the judgment which the son is executing is the Father's judgement which will be executed by the son.
... God who will render to each person according to his works.... on the Day when, according to my Gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:6,16
God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed.... Acts 17:30-31
Notice that God the Father will indeed be judging. But the way He will be judging all men is through a man he has appointed, namely, Jesus. Jesus is HOW God the Father will accomplish His judgment. He has given this judgment to Jesus to execute on His behalf, in His name.
Rather than evidence for their own doctrine, this Trinitarian claim rather serves to demonstrate their own utter blindness. The reason one must honor the son as one honors the Father is given in the immediate context. But it should even need to be given. It should be self evident why the one sent is to be honored as the One who sent him. The one sent represents the One who sent him. By honoring the one sent, you are honoring the One who sent him to act on your behalf and in your name.
He came to his own but his own did not receive Him. But to those who received him, He gave the right to become children of God, John 1:11-12.
Related Links: John 5:18
Last Revision/Update: April 8, 2016