19Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. 20The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. 21Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. 22The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25“Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; 27and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and will come out — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
Perichoresis is the theological term that identities the communion of Father, Son, and Spirit. The Greek peri means "around" and chorein means "to make room for" or "to contain." This technical term is very close to what we usually mean by "intimacy." It is the indwelling of one another in the Triune God.
When Jesus says, "the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing" Jesus is not saying anything about his inability or inadequacy. Jesus is here talking about the communion-in-relationship between the Father and the Son. That's why Jesus says in verse 20, "The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing." Whatever belongs to the Father, the Father shares with the Son. And the Son shares all with the Father. The Spirit is in the background in this discourse, for wherever the Father and the Son are, the Spirit is there also.
Perichoresis and the notion of communion are important themes in the Gospel of John. The perichoresis of the Triune God forms the pattern for our own relationship with God and our relationships with one another. What's true about God in God's Trinity is to be reflected in the lives of believers. John 17:20 ff highlights this:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Now unlike the Son, we are truly unable and inadequate to do that which God desires -- in and of ourselves. Our ability and our adequacy come from the Spirit living inside of us. It is the Spirit of God indwelling us who enables us (1) to know God's will and (2) to accomplish God's will. Lest we think of ourselves as mere servants however, living only to carry out divine orders, we should remember we are also friends of God. John 15:15: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father Ihave made known to you.
Friendship with God, or Intimacy with God, is possible only when we have communion with God through the give-and-take of sharing hearts. May we enjoy this perichoretic relationship with God today, as the snow is falling and we are warm inside our house with family.
Let's pray: Father and Son in the power of the Spirit, we thank you that following you means we enter more deeply into God's own Triune life of intimacy and love. We thank you that what you've had for all eternity -- communion-in-love -- is something you desire for us to experience as well. We pray for our spiritual lives that we might be infused with the kind of intimacy that feeds us daily, even moment by moment. We thank you that such love never runs out, that it's never exhausted. We ask for greater love and intimacy with you today. We pray for safety and family time today as the snow is coming down.
The gift of snow also means we spend time together with one another. Thank you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.