In John 5:23 (NIV):

that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

But in the same chapter John 5:41 (NIV):

I do not accept glory from human beings

What is going on here? How can we honor the Son if he does not accept it? I have a feeling Jesus is saying something else to what im interpreting in John 5:41, but I want clarification.


For calcification, the greek word is "lambanō" (λαμβάνω) or "I take". So it seems like the word has a more active connotation than a passive one.

4 Answers 4


The short answer is: Of course we should honor Jesus. The noted discrepancy between John 5:23 and John 5:41 only exists because they are stated under different contexts.

In John 5:23, Jesus says, all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The implication I see here is Jesus claiming equal rights to be honored as the Father is honored. This shows an equality between Him and the Father. Jesus is asserting His divine authority and the necessity of recognizing and honoring Him as one would honor the Father.

In John 5:41, Jesus says, "I do not accept glory from human beings." Let me quote another question's answer:

Jesus neither expected nor needed other human beings to confirm his identity by praising Him.

Jesus is addressing the motivations behind human praise. Man often accepts praise for personal ego or gains. Jesus here differentiates Himself from mere man.

What Jesus desires is genuine recognition of who He is and obedience to his authority, which the pharisees clearly did not recognize. Jesus is not concerned with receiving glory from humans. This would seem superficial or self-serving. Rather, Jesus was concerned with fulfilling His mission as the Son of God.

The Greek word "λαμβάνω" (lambanō) does have an active connotation, meaning "to take" or "receive." In John 5:41, Jesus is indicating that He does not actively take glory from humans in the same way that humans seek recognition. His focus instead is on fulfilling His mission which is bringing glory to the Father, not seeking his own glory.

I'll conclude. Jesus makes the point of the importance of honoring the Son (John 5:23), He then clarifies (John 5:41) that His acceptance of glory is not driven by selfish motives or the desire for personal glory. Instead He is driven by His relationship with the Father and the mission given to Him.

  • Quote from @rhetorician
    – Jason_
    Commented Feb 12 at 8:40

The text in question is so worded that Jesus is flagging up how much honour he should receive from men. Was he referring to a degree of honour, though less than the level of honour God should get? Context establishes this.

Jesus had just healed a crippled man lying at the pool of Bethesda. When strict sabbatarians saw he was not only healed but that his healer had instructed him to pick up his mat and walk, they became enraged at Jesus, so much so they wanted to kill him. This is what Jesus faced those hateful men with - their appalling disrespect for the things of God. It was a miracle of God that had just happened, through Jesus Christ, the Son of God on Earth. That is why he pointed out that God was his Father. Further, the Son would raise the dead, for God had committed all judging to the Son.

Now understand what Jesus was telling them. In view of that, all men should honour the Son (himself) just as they honour God the Father. Yet those men wanted to kill Jesus! Was Jesus saying that he was due a degree of honour - some honour though short of the level of honour God the Father was entitled to? No. He was making what - to those men - was the most outrageous claim their ears had ever heard. He should be honoured equally as was God! This is affirmed:

"He than honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." John 5:23b AV

The second part of the question seems to mix up receiving glory with receiving honour. One Bible scholar explained simply and beautifully what God's glory is:

"Glory is the radiance of God's character." - Hosea, Michael Eaton, p.145, Christian Focus, 1996

As Christ is the radiance of God's being, his exact representation, then the glory of God is the glory of Christ, and requires equal honour from all beholding him. The Judgment day will come, when Christ commands all the dead to arise to face him, when many will wish they'd done what he'd said in John 5:23 and given him the same honour as they thought they were giving the Father - when in fact, by not honoring Christ equally, they were not honouring the Father either.


There is a misconception the glory and honor are the same thing. They are different.

  • τιμάω (timaó) = "honor", that is, to have in honor, to revere, venerate, eg, John 5:23.
  • δόξα (doxa) = (in this context) "reputation, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace", eg, John 5:41.

Thus, the distinction is clear - humans must honor and revere Jesus but Jesus does not accept the reputation and dignity of men,

Rather simple.

  • But the bible tells us to glorify God: 1 Corinthians 10:31
    – User2280
    Commented Jan 28 at 6:04
  • @User2280 - now you are asking about a different text outside the original question.. 1 Cor 10:31 is correct because God wants us to imitate Him and this improve God's reputation but this can be done only by the righteous, not the wicked. In any case, this is outside the scope of the question.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 28 at 6:13
  • Correct me if im wrong but are you saying that it is talking about empty glory? My interpretation now is that Jesus is saying the glory he wants from men is only the glory he can we can give after receiving the Holy Spirit whereas the people in the passage were giving him empty glory as only a man can give.
    – User2280
    Commented Jan 28 at 6:16
  • @User2280 - that is one way to express it - the following two verses make it clearer, viz, John 5:42-44 which is talking about the glory of unsanctified people.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 28 at 6:18

John 5:40-41 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men.

Jesus is addressing nonbelievers. In vs 23 He is teaching them that by honoring the Son, they are honoring the Father. In vs 40-41 He is simply pointing out that they are not honoring him, and therefore they are not honoring the Father.

KJV may make the passage more easily understood.

  • See the edit, the greek word used seem to imply there was more active then passive
    – User2280
    Commented Jan 28 at 3:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.