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The Father and the Son

Stonebrook Community Church https://www.stonebrook.org

Gospel of John: Life in Jesus’ Name
John 5 The Father and the Son

Objective Statement: Everyone should pay attention to Jesus, his claims and his actions, because life is at stake for us.
Verse: John 5:18 ESV “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
Description: Who really is Jesus? Just another religious figure, prophet, good teacher, or excellent moral example? Or was he actually sent from heaven by God the Father to point us toward heaven and to bring eternal salvation? If we humbly and sincerely read of Jesus’ miracles and his statements about himself, we are compelled to conclude that heaven truly has descended upon the earth. And we would do well to pay attention to Jesus, for our eternal future is at stake.

Much of history centers on this man.
Our calendar is based upon his coming to earth.
The words written about him in the Bible have provoked mystery and love and outrage.
Countless songs of love and worship have been written about him.
His followers have shaped the world for 20 centuries.
And these followers have been willing to suffer mocking and hatred…and even torture and death in his Name.

Who is Jesus, really?
As we read about Jesus, we see that he made some radical claims about himself. His claims are seem preposterous.
If they are false, he may be history’s greatest lunatic.
If they are true, then we have a decision standing before us.

Who is Jesus, really?
What will we do with him? There is something about him that we must reckon with.

Last century, someone wrote this about Jesus.
“The names of the past proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone; but the name of this Man abounds more and more.
“Though time has spread nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and the scene of His crucifixion, yet He still lives. Herod could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him.

“He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory,
proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils,
as the living, personal Christ, our Lord and Savior.”
Author unknown. Taken from “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”, p. 135

We are in Week 5 of a series studying the Gospel of Jesus, penned by his Apostle, John.
A fascinating, wonderful book.

This book speaks to all of us.
Whether Skeptic or long-time believer…. Or anywhere in between.

Let pray before we read it.

Lord, would you open our eyes and our hearts to see what is true?
Give us discernment in our ignorance.
Give us light in the darkness.
Give us hope in our despair.
Give us humility in the face of our pride.
Give us faith in spite of our doubts.

John 5:1-17

We’ll read John 5 today.

Last week, Matt took us through Chapter 4, focusing on the Samaritan woman at the well.
I thought it was an excellent look at the chapter.
In fact, it was so good, I joked with Matt I was going to plagiarize his sermon.

Thursday, I spoke at a retirement community at their weekly church service, and my topic was…you guessed it… John 4.
I talked to 15-18 people about Jesus, the Living Water, who gives eternal life.
It was a joy for me to think more about Jesus’ words in chapter 4. And to point people to him.

I pray that it will bear eternal fruit in their hearts.

Today, we’re in Chapter 5.
A fascinating and diverse chapter.

We’ll break it into 3 somewhat-equal parts.

SIGNS

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.
5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

First, this pool. Archaeologists in Jerusalem have uncovered what may be that actual pool.
Dave and Dawn Bovenmyer went to the Holy Lands several years ago, and Dave took this picture. (Looking down at the area.)

Second, the main focus is this man. 38 years of suffering! This is no minor problem.
We don’t know precisely what was wrong with him, but he was unable to walk.
Whether he was crippled or paralyzed, he had been this way most of his life.
It’s all he knew.

[By the way, you may notice in your Bible that vs. 4 is either absent with a footnote, or vs. 4 is in brackets. The reason is that the oldest ancient manuscripts don’t have the sentence that some more recent manuscripts do. So language scholars believe that John actually did not include vs. 4 in his original writing. Someone else inserted the language in later.]

Let’s keep reading:
6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
Interestingly, there is no mention of faith. Typically we see faith in a person. They believe in Jesus. They believe he can and will heal.
Here there is no mention.
In fact, we’ll see in a minute, he didn’t even know who Jesus was.

7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”
People apparently believed this water—at certain times when the water was stirred up—had healing powers.
Whether the water did, or whether it was superstition, we don’t know.

8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”
9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
Astonishing!

Suddenly, he was instantly healed.
After 38 years of paralysis, he is completely healed! Astonishing!

10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.”
OT law restricted normal work on the Sabbath, like your employment. But there is no mention of any restriction of helping someone. Like a healing. Nor any restrictions on picking up a mat you are sitting on and carrying it.

So why did they say, “It is not lawful”? Over the years, the Jews had added many other laws. Some of these even took precedent over God’s law.
And according to their manmade laws, this man could be punished by death for picking up a mat and carrying it!

11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ”
12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.
This seems rather odd to me. Was this man so clueless he didn’t even know who healed him?
If he didn’t know him before, why didn’t he ask afterwards who Jesus was?

14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
I believe Jesus here is not speaking about physical problems, like paralysis.
I believe he is warning the man that a future judgment is coming, and he should repent from his sin.

15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
Why did the man report Jesus to the Jews? It seems likely he did it out of fear of punishment, even death (vs. 10). So if he blamed Jesus, the Jews might let him live.

Overall, this man seems fearful and unbelieving.

So what are we to make of this story?
What about Jesus’ miracles?
In this Gospel, his miracles are always called “SIGNS.”
They are signs. Indicators. Proof. Signs of what?

Signs that Jesus is unusual. Even extraordinary. From heaven.
In John 20, John tells us that he wrote about Jesus’ signs so that we would believe in Jesus, that he is the Son of God, and that we can find eternal life in him.

So the primary purpose of the miracles was to point the Jews to their Messiah, Jesus.

A secondary purpose of the miracles was to show compassion and meet genuine, human needs.

Let me offer one application to our lives from this story of healing.

APPLICATION: HOPE
As we read of miracles like this man healed after 38 years of suffering, we ought to be people of HOPE.
The miracles of Jesus and even modern-day miracles remind us of our HOPE.

But let me be clear: I do NOT mean the hope of the miracle itself.

I mean the hope that the miracles point to, which is the hope of the future resurrection of our bodies someday when Jesus comes back as King over his kingdom.

Let me explain more:
Miracles are beautiful. My wife and I often pray for miraculous help for her health.
If we got it, we would be dancing here on Sunday morning.
But our ultimate HOPE is NOT in a miracle.

The NT is filled with commands and promises that point us to the greatest hope we have, and that is the future glory we have to be saved and forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
And to be with him as he reigns in power over his kingdom forever and ever.

And throughout the centuries, believers all over the world—in the midst of their suffering, including persecution—have clung to this great hope of the resurrection.

The pursuit of miracles today are not to be our greatest hope. Eternity in glory with Jesus is.

I am not discouraging us from praying for miracles. I do pray for such things.

But my point is this: we have to keep miracles in perspective.
All the miracles like this crippled man—as beautiful and glorious as they were—were temporary fixes.
Every person who was healed eventually—maybe years later—developed some other ailments and sicknesses.
Every person who died but was raised to life—like Lazarus in chapter 11—eventually got old and died again.

So what is even more exciting than the actual miracle is the taste they give us for the future world in glory with Jesus Christ.

Next week in Chapter 6, we will look at the resurrection. That final, glorious day when are dead bodies will be resurrected and reunited with our spirits.
All brokenness will be restored.
All hurts will be healed.
All sadness will turn to joy.
All pain will be taken away.
All death will be completely defeated.

The coming resurrection will be the most glorious, exciting, fulfilling, satisfying moment of our lives.

This is our best and ultimate hope.

Vs. 16-18

Now vs. 16-18 are key to this chapter.

16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

We see here and throughout Jesus’ ministry that he was persecuted and hated.

VS. 16.
He healed on the Sabbath.
Tthese Jewish leaders had made up their own laws and judged accordingly.
But still, why would they be so angry at a violation of their own manmade laws??

Surely they could see this miracle and be amazed and glad.
A man crippled for 38 years. He wouldn’t be able to do normal, physical work.

He didn’t even have any friends or family who could help him get healed.
Surely the Jews would have compassion and be thrilled.

Instead, they responded with hatred and persecution. How is that possible?

As we read later in John 12, we will see why.
1. They were stubborn and filled with pride. Their hearts were hard.
2. Jesus pointed out their sins, and they hated him for it.

The Light of the World was standing in front of them, but their hearts were darkened and their eyes were blind.

VS. 18
Then Jesus calls God, “My Father.”
They were mad before. Now they were outraged.
Maybe red faces. Veins in their necks bulging.
Jesus was actually making himself equal to God by calling God “My Father.”

To them that was blasphemy!! How dare Jesus to make such a claim!!

John 5:19-30

Let’s keep reading starting in vs. 19. Now Jesus is really going to make them angry.
If they thought he was blaspheming so far, he is really going to give it to them now.

“AUTHORITY OF THE SON”

If you have ever wondered how and why Jesus is so unique compared to anyone else who has ever walked the earth, this passage will help.
If you have ever wondered, “What is the Trinity,” this section will give some insights.
If you have ever wondered about the Deity of Jesus Christ, this passage is for you.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this passage we are about to read is one of the more fundamental passages in the entire Bible to tell us who Jesus is.
So we should pay careful attention.

As we read it, watch for Jesus’ revealing truth about the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Let’s read it.

Vs. 19-23
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
Jesus explained that He is not independent of or in opposition to the Father.
His activity is not self-initiated. The Father directs and has sent the Son.

The Father and the Son always work together.”

20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
So what are these greater works that we will marvel (be amazed) at? Vs. 21+ tells us.

21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
23 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.
Jesus just made some heavy, heavy statements.

As God the Father has the power to resurrect the dead, so the Son does.

Genesis 18 says that God is the judge of all the earth.
Now he has given all judgment over to the Son.
WHY?
So that everyone would honor the Son in the same way they honor the Father.

When Jesus Christ comes to earth the Second Time, he will come us Judge. Every person who has ever lived will answer to him.
And he will be honored and adored.
And he will be feared and marveled at.

Vs. 24
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
This is such a beautiful summary of the gospel of our salvation.

If we hear… meaning listening to and responding to… Jesus and what he says….
And if we believe the Father who sent his Son..
….We will have eternal life.
We will never be condemned.
We will cross over the chasm from death to life.

This is a strong and audacious statement by Jesus.
Either he is a Megalomaniac.
Or he is Lord. And the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Vs. 25-26
25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an 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.
26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
More about the resurrection power given from the Father to the Son.

Vs. 27-29
27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus spoke words in Matthew 28 that we now call “The Great Commission.”
To go into all the world and make disciples.
Just before uttering those words, he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go…”

Here in John 5, Jesus is saying the same thing: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been granted to me.”

Vs. 30
30 “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.
Jesus is not trying to be independent from God the Father.
He is completely united with him. He is one.
He has no separate agenda.
He simply seeks to do the will of the Father.

In these 12 verses we just read, we have read some astonishing statements.

The Son:
• does what the Father does (vs. 19)
• is loved by the Father (vs. 20)
• raises the dead like the Father (vs. 21)
• judges all, according to authority from the Father (vs. 22)
• is to be honored and worshiped and marveled at like the Father is (vs. 23)
• is the source of eternal life through believing the Father and hearing the Son (vs. 24)

In all these things, the Son is making the Father known.
He says later in Chapter 14, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
Jesus reveals who God the Father is.
He shows us who the Father is by what he is, says, and does.

The Trinity is clearly in view here (minus any mention of the Holy Spirit).
This relationship— one God, three Persons— is somewhat of a mystery. It’s hard to explain.
Many have tried to give analogies that describe this…. E.g., water: in liquid, gas, and solid form… but they all fall short.

If we read this with honest and humble hearts, we are challenged by who Jesus claims to be.
We have to respond in some way. We are left with no middle ground.

From this section, here is an application for our lives.

APPLICATION: MARVEL
Like vs. 20 tells us, we should marvel at Jesus, the Son. We should be amazed and wonder at who Jesus is.

Heaven has descended. God has set foot on the earth.
Jesus came to reveal his Father. And the Father has revealed the Son to us.

Jesus has been given all authority to raise the dead.
He has been given authority to judge every human who ever lived.

He is the source of eternal life.

It’s all rather astonishing. And beautiful. And glorious. The Father and the Son are worthy of worship and adoration. We should marvel.
He is our Lord and Creator and Judge.

John 5:31-47

This last section is largely about Witnesses.
WITNESSES
Jesus offers up proof that he is who he says he is.

I’ve never been put on trial.
But if I was, and if I was innocent, I would want as many as possible testifying for me.
Defending me.
Supporting me.
Declaring my innocence.

How many witnesses would I like? OT law requires 2 or 3 witnesses. That would be adequate.
John records seven witnesses in this Gospel.

Witnesses are needed and given.
Why? Jesus was so radical. There has never been anyone like him in both claims and deeds.

So it is only reasonable to ask for verification. Proof. Testimony. Witnesses.

Also, when those witnesses speak, they are confirming the truth. And they are committing themselves.
Story: Years ago when I was working as an engineer, I served as an expert witness in a civil trial. Before I gave my testimony, I had to ask myself, “Do I really believe what I am saying?” I didn’t want to lie. I didn’t want to be biased. And I was going to be under oath to tell the truth.

God reveals those witnesses in this Gospel.
As we read this passage, see if you can count them.

31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.
32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.
35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
41 I do not receive glory from people.
42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.
47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

How many witnesses did you find?
I find five.
1. Jesus (vs. 31, 36).
2. John the Baptist (vs. 32-34).
3. Jesus’ works, i.e., signs, miracles (vs. 36).
4. The Father (vs. 37).
5. Scriptures, including Moses’ writings (vs. 39, 45-47).

Two other witnesses are mentioned elsewhere in John:
6. The Holy Spirit
7. Human witnesses. People who saw him.

APPLICATION: TRUST
Jesus’ work and his words were verified by reliable witnesses.
We can trust Jesus that he is who he says he is.

The many reliable witnesses testify that Jesus has been sent from heaven to earth.
• A great prophet named John the Baptist testified powerfully who Jesus was.
• The signs prove he is from heaven.
• The Scriptures speak of his coming and his ministry.
• God the Father spoke from heaven at his baptism.

In our lives today, it may seem very hard to trust people.
We have been burned. We have been hurt.
People we should be able to trust have let us down. They have abandon us. Even mistreated us.
It crushes our trust in them.

And so we wonder, “Whom can we trust? Can we trust anyone?”

But there is one who is verifiably trustworthy. And he will never falter or fail us.

So far in John, we have read what reliable witnesses tell us about Jesus.
That he is:
• The Word. Logos.
• Was with God and was God
• Creator. Life comes from him.
• Descended from heaven
• Lamb of God who takes away sin
• Performer of miracles (signs)
• Living Water, and when we drink of him, we will never thirst again.
• He has all authority to give life and bring judgment to every person.

And the ultimate way he proved who he is is through his greatest sign: His death and resurrection.
Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus Christ loves us. And he is trustworthy.
We can trust him for daily life.
And even more, we can trust him to save our souls for all eternity.

Conclusion

This marvelous chapter of John points us heavenward.

1. The Signs—the miracles—of Jesus give us HOPE.
Not primarily the hope of miracles on earth.
Rather, the hope found in Jesus himself.
For it is he who will resurrect our bodies from the dead for all who believe in the Resurrected One.

2. The Authority given to the Son
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him. He is Lord and Judge and King.
This ought to compel us to MARVEL at him.
To worship. To adore.

3. The Witnesses
So many reliable witnesses strengthens our resolve to simply BELIEVE. To TRUST that Jesus is the Source of Life itself.
To believe that when we see Jesus, we have seen the essence of the Father in heaven.

Miscellaneous Notes

Over 100 years ago, Church Historian Philip Schaff wrote this:
“The first century is the life and light of history and the turning point of the ages. If ever God revealed himself to man, if ever heaven appeared on earth, it was in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. He is, beyond any shadow of doubt, and by the reluctant consent of skeptics and infidels, the wisest of the wise, the purest of the pure, and the mightiest of the mighty. His Cross has become the tree of life to all nations; his teaching is still the highest standard of religious truth; his example the unsurpassed ideal of holiness; the Gospels and Epistles of his Galilean disciples are still the book of books, more powerful than all the classics of human wisdom and genius.”
“The History of the Christian Church,” Volume I, Section 102.