Recap: Last week Matt took us through the healing of the Officials Son and the man who had been paralysed for 38 years. The official was challenged by Jesus not to just see him as a miracle worker – but to have faith in him – and the official comes through – he leaves Jesus having to trust that his son is made well – and when he discovers that indeed his son is healed he and his whole house believes.
This is in contrast to the paralyzed man. Jesus heals him without any sign of faith from the man – and the man shows no faith – instead he rats Jesus out to the authorities and Jesus tells him to ‘Sin no more’.
We have now reached v16 of Chapter 5 in our whirlwind travel through John’s Gospel.
PLEASE READ JOHN 5:16-30
What is Jesus’ crime? Why are they persecuting him? Notice – plural – doing – Jesus had done this before, possibly many times
Why does Jesus’ response in v17 incense them so much?
It’s interesting the mindset of these Jews. They have seen an amazing healing. A man known to be paralzed for nearly four decades is walking. Their response is not “Wow” – or “How incredible” but “Not on this day you don’t do that.” God has shown up in their midst and al they are worried about is that their rules are being violated. How very sad. A theologian has said that the last seven words of a dying church is “We have always done it like that”.
And Jesus’ response completely radical – as is this whole chapter – because it reveals something of the eternal nature of who Jesus was and is.
The Jews accepted that God was exempted from the Sabbath rest rule. While it says in Genesis that God rested on the 7th day, jewish teaching says that God’s divine providence remainded active on the 7th day and on every day since – otherwise life would cease to exist. Babies are born on the Sabbath and people die on the Sabbath. Only God can give life and only God can deal with the fate of the dead.
Rabbis, the Pharisees knew God was active on the Sabbath. (The fourth commandment does not encourage idlness!)
But here Jesus is equating his activity on the Sabbath with God’s – God was exempt from the Sabbath and Jesus should also be exempt.
What becomes the issue now? Are the Pharisee still worried only about Sabbath violations?
Jesus turns the issue into the question of Jesus’ relationship with the God. He does it deliberately. A jew would have qualified is words “My Father” with “who is in heaven”. Not to do was unacceptable familiarity. Jesus is deliberately pushing the buttons. He is clearly claiming that he partakes of the same nature as the Father. By saying “My Father” instead of “Our father” Jesus claims equality. For the Jews this is indeed Blasphemy – if what he said was not true!
What is the significance of Jesus words that he an do NOTHING by himself – that it is impossible for the Son to take independent self determined action?
What does v19 tells us about the Son?
If Jesus could do self determined action it would mean he is another God. This shows the unity between the Father and the Son. Jesus is co-equal with the father and thinks only as the Father thinks. They cannot think separately. It also tells us Jesus is subordinate to the Father. There is a theological implication here. Has the Son ALWAYS been subordinate to the Father in eternity or did the Son become subordinate at the incarnation (which would suggest a change in the relationship in the trinity). Finally, it shows that all Jesus says, teaches and does he does with nothing less than the authority of God.
What do you think the greater works are in v20? (see v21-22).
Raising the dead – spiritually and physically – and judging the world.
The OT says that the raising of the dead and the giving of life is God’s prerogative only – Deut 32:39 is one example (1 Sam 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7). In fact Jesus’ contemparies did not think the Messiah would be given authority to raise the dead. Although Elijiah raised the dead it was not because he so decreed – but because God worked through him. Jesus’ claim is clear – he is not an instrument through which God moves – but HE can determine who has life and he can give it.
V22 says that God has entrusted all judgment to the Son. The son does not declare God’s judgment but the Son himself Judges.
What is the purpose of the Fathers delegation of all this to the Son? Unity of the Father and the Son.
How have the Jews treated the Son – and the implication is? The Jewish leaders and lovers of the Torah are dishonoring the father / Yahweh.
V24-30 expand on this principle: Jesus here speaks of Spiritual resurrection and physical resurrection.
So, according to v24 when do we attain eternal life?
When we believe. Again, contemporary Judaism believed eternal life to be a future event. Jesus, revealing more about the work of God, shows that eternal life beings here on earth. Conversion gives us eternal life, raising us from spiritual death.
When will v28 happen?
Have we see a glimpse of in the gospels?
The end of time – the raising of humanity past and present. Matthew 27:52-53.
Jesus has made some bold statements. The underlying question now has become “Who says so” – prove it.
This is what Jesus does next.
Why would Jesus say that if he testifies about himself it would not be valid.
God was consistent with his own law. The interrogation of witnesses was central to Jewish legal procedure – two witnesses were required for a testimony to be valid – Deut 17:6 On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. c/f 19:15.
Jesus’ testimony was witnessed by another.
Who is the other? (c/f v37)
Jesus did not need the witness of the Baptist – John the Baptists witness was for the people. In fact the point here is that Jesus’ claims of himself could only be validated BY the witness of the Father.
What do you think Jesus might have meant by his statement in v35 that people enjoyed the light of John the Baptist for a little while?
John was popular – his message inspired many. But did that fruit all converge to Jesus? No. Much of it was superficial and insincere and it did not appear to transfer to allegiance in Jesus.
When might the father have testified about the Son? Matt 3:16?
At Jesus’ baptism. The dove ascends upon him and the voice from heaven – this is my son with whom I am well pleased.
In v37-40 what does he accuse the Jewish leaders of NEVER having?
How would you sum this up in one word?
Godless. They were Godless. Even with the scripture – they missed him. How sobering – hours, years of studying and they completely miss the work of God. It is not about knowledge, but of the Spirit.
Why does Jesus say that the Jews will accept one who comes in his own name?Why would they be willing to accept false prophets while rejecting the messiah?
They loved the glory of men and did not like being challenged. They were self absored in the fulfillment of their religious duties and had no place for God’s revelation. Religion had become a means of self advancement.
Pray God we never become like this!
What is significant in Jesus saying that He will not accuse them but Moses will?
For the Jews they believed Moses was a heavenly intecessor for them. They were children of Moses – yet Jesus shocks them with the charge that Moses will be their accuser – that if they understood moses properly they would have welcomed Jesus.
HOW CAREFUL WE MUST BE NOT TO LET OUR RELIGION, OUR TRADITIONS, OUR METHODS AND OUR VIEW POINTS GET IN THE WAY OF THE (SOMETIMES UNORTHODOX) WORK OF GOD IN OUR LIVES AND IN THE LIFE OF OUR CHURCH.
CLAIMING THAT WE ARE RIGHT, OR THAT OUR AUTHORITY IS IMPORTANT, WITHOUT PLACING OURSELVES AND OUR APPROACH FULLY ON SCRIPTURE AND ON GOD’S WAYS IS CLAIMING TO STAND IN A PRECERIOUS PLACE.