What does the Bible say about Jesus as judge?

The Bible teaches that "God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work" (Ecclesiastes 3:17). It also says, "the heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge!" (Psalm 50:6). God Himself reiterated His role as judge in Ezekiel 33:20 when He stated, "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways." God is a righteous judge who will render just judgment of all people.

However, Jesus declared to His listeners, "For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son… And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man" (John 5:22, 27). So in this progression, God, who is "The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he" (Deuteronomy 32:4), gives the authority to render these upright judgments to God the Son, Jesus.

This passing on of authority to judge was prophesied in Isaiah. In reference to the Messiah in Isaiah 11:3–4, God revealed, "He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth." Again in Isaiah 16:5 God declared, "then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness." God had always planned that the Son would judge the earth with justice and righteousness according to the Father's just and perfect will.

Jesus began to fulfill those prophecies when He said, "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me" (John 5:30). He also said, "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me" (John 8:15–16). So Jesus, in His shared righteousness with the Father and in submission to the Father's will, now renders judgment.

Jesus' role as judge on the Father's behalf will continue into the future as well. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:1, "Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead" (emphasis added), showing that His role as judge has not yet come to an end. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." Therefore when the apostle John was given the vision of final judgment at the Great White Throne, it must be Jesus "who was seated on it" (Revelation 20:11). For these reasons, Peter declared to Cornelius's household that Jesus, "commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead" (Acts 10:42).

God the Father is a righteous judge who has passed on authority to judge to His Son Jesus who will retain that authority through the end of time at the final judgment. Those who have placed their faith in Jesus' perfect sacrifice to cover their sins (Hebrews 10:14) need not fear this judgment (John 3:16–18, 36). The author of Hebrews assures his readers, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15–16). Our sins have been covered by Jesus' sinless life and perfect sacrifice, so we can find mercy and grace before His throne. As the psalmist reminded his readers, "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of [His] throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before [Him]" (Psalm 89:14). This just and righteous judge is the loving, faithful, and merciful Jesus in whom we have placed our trust.

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