John 5. Jesus Is the Son of the Father . Pt. I. His Work.
IKey Notes: The four tasks: healing, raising the dead, judging the world, saving the lost. And one more--prophesying.
In the Prologue of the Gospel of John, Jesus’ identity as God, Creator and Beloved Son, the spiritual Light and Leader in the world are spelled out. In John 5 Jesus describes His personal relationship to the Father in remarkable, even stunning detail. In order to study the chapter thoroughly, we will divide it into topics. Four themes emerge:
His authentication by witnesses;
His relationship to the Father,
and the attitudes of His audience.
We will start with the simplest of the four: Jesus’ works. There are four works.
5:1–16 The occasion for this monologue was a healing. During a feast of the Jews not otherwise specified, but a Sabbath, Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda and found a sick, withered old man lying on a mat by the Pool. There was a legend, perhaps a superstition, that if someone got into the pool when the water was stirred as if by an invisible hand, that person would be healed. This poor soul was laid there daily but with no one to attend him, and he had waited for almost forty years for healing.
He was still waiting. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, a fair question to ask anyone with chronic illness. People learn the advantages of helplessness--"learned helplessness". They become accustomed to their altered life and may resist change. A deaf person may refuse a cochlear implant, for instance.
The man only explained his situation. Jesus ordered him to his feet, and the man got up and was healed. But the Sabbath Police found him carrying his bed and charged him with law-breaking. He referred his case to Jesus, apparently without rejoicing in his new life. Jesus had moved on, but returned to tell the man not to sin again. This implies that the man had what we call “a disease of life-style”. We are quick to invoke John 9, where there was no culpability for the man born blind, but on two other occasions, Jesus forgave sin directly involved in the person’s situation: the woman caught in adultery (Jn.8:11), and the paralytic brought by his four friends. Mk.2:5
The man then reported Jesus to the authorities, again without acknowledging the great thing Jesus had done for him. And the Jewish leaders, instead of rejoicing in a dramatic miracle and seeking Jesus for more healings, persecuted Him for Sabbath-breaking. The atmosphere is morose--sullen ad gloomy.
5:17 Jesus replied that God worked on Sabbath and so He worked on Sabbath. We remember that God rested from creation on the seventh day (Gen.2:2) and think little about God's other work until Jesus reminds us of it here. We recall, however, that God is always doing providential work in His world, caring for the animals (Psa.104:10–30), caring for His people (Psa.23:1), overseeing the nations (Acts 17:26), and holding the universe together by the word of His power. (Col.1:17). There is no doubt that God's most important work is the salvation of human beings. He invested His Best, His Only-begotten Son, in this stupendous task.
5:18 The leaders understood that when He said that God the Father was His Father, He had made Himself equal with God. The rest of the chapter deals with Jesus’ response to this accusation.
First, we extract four works that were Jesus’ assignments: healing, raising the dead, judging and saving. They are listed in the order in which they appear in the text. They all defend His Deity.
The first of Jesus’ works is healing. This is the second physical healing that John reports; the first was the son of an officer. ( 4:46-). Healing was a major part of Jesus ministry. (6:2). Matthew records as many as eight large-scale sessions of Jesus’ healing ministry.
The second work is raising the dead. We recognize two kinds of resurrections: resurrection of all the dead at the end of the age and the birth of new life in Christ for believers. Resuscitation is another category of Jesus' miracle working.. If healing is miraculous, resuscitation is even moreso. Jesus will need only to say the word and the dead will rise.
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will." 5:21.
“The hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” 5:25. The "now is" resurrection, is our new life in Christ. Paul speaks of being raised with Him so that "as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we might walk in newness of life." Rom.6:4. "...dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." Rom.6:11
He also may be speaking of those whom He would resuscitate, such as Lazarus. “The hour is coming and now is….” may also refer to Jesus work of raising the dead during His lifetime. (5:25). Special resuscitations during Jesus’ life constitute a third kind of resurrection which were a sign of His power. There are three individual resuscitations recorded but there may have been others not specified but referred to in Matt.11:5.
The son of the widow of Nain. Lk.7:11–17
Jairus’ daughter. Lk.8:41–5
Lazarus of Bethany. Jn.11:38–44
"Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” 5:28–29. This verse speaks for final resurrection of the dead. This future resurrection divides the righteous and the wicked. This assures us that tyrants and murderers will get their due, even if they die in their beds.
Daniel says “And may of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan.12:2
Paul says “To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. “ Rom.2:7–8
Revelation tells us that there is a distance of a thousand years ( a Millennium) between the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous and gives a blessing to those who enjoy the first resurrection. Rev.20:6, 12
The third task is Judging all Human Beings.
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” 5:22–23
“…has given Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.” 5:27
“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.” 5:30
Jesus raises the dead as the Son of God. He judges humans as the Son of Man and because He is the Son of Man. He has the right by the Father’s authorization, but also by virtue of His life and endurance of temptation as a human being. Heb. 4:15
At one level, His judgment is automatic. If we choose Jesus and come to the light, we receive eternal life. If we reject Him, we are inevitably condemned. At a second level, believers will be judged according to their works done for God. (IICor.5:10). They have escaped condemnation (Rom.8:1) and will be rewarded (or not) according to their service.
We note that in the Old Testament as well as the New, Jesus is the supreme Judge.
“He said to me, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations Your heritage, and the ends of the earth Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psa.2:7–9
“The LORD said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’” Psa.110:1
“…the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the messenger of the Covenant in whom you delight, behold His is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. But who can endure the Day of His Coming and who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire…” Mal.3:1–3
“By Myself I have sworn, from My mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear. ‘ Only in the Lord, it shall be said of Me, are righteousness and strength.’” Isa.45:23–24. This word repeated by Paul in Phil.2:9–11 clearly refers to Christ.
The fourth task is Salvation of those who believe in Him.
5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who 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.”
We see that eternal life is a present, as well as a future reality. It is so because of our personal relationship with the Living God through Christ our Savior.
These four works are Jesus’ duties and prerogatives. The idea that the members of the Trinity perform different functions is referred to as the Economy of the Trinity. The Father plans, elects, predestines, and foreknows. The Son executes the plan of redemption, living among us for 33 years, and offering His body for our salvation. The Holy Spirit facilitates the plan, working in the minds of human beings to convict, teach, empower and aid the memory.
Cast over all these works is Jesus’ revelation of them. His work as the Word is revealing truth, the task of a prophet. If we look at another set of metaphors for Jesus’ person, prophet, priest and king, we can sort His works in a different way.
Our Prophet is the communicator, but also the healer and resurrector, as Elijah and Elisha were.
Our Priest is the offering-maker and reconciler.
Our King is our fellow human being and our judge.
We also relate to Him in the logical sequence of prophet- -convicting us; priest--sannctifying us; and king--ruling over us.
In summary, we add proclaiming and find now five works: prophesying, healing, saving, resurrecting and judging. All are marks of His Deity. All are His providential care for the human race.
May His Kingdom Come. May His will be Done.