My Father: John 5, Part 2
The Fourth Commandment states: Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. Observance of the Sabbath was a chief characteristic of Judaism. Jesus observed the Sabbath and was in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were extreme legalist. As such they defined what “work” was and was not on the Sabbath. This was done with the oral tradition, the tradition of the elders and the written man-made laws of the Misnah. Jesus said he came to keep the law, every jot and tittle. God’s law, not man’s law. He would fulfill the law and never break God’s law. In Mark 2, Jesus had an encounter with the Jews over the fact that while passing through the grain fields, his disciples picked some of the grain and ate it. The Jews said he was breaking the law of the Sabbath. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
“So because Jesus was doing those things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” Now the Jews did not take issue with Jesus that God was working on the Sabbath. For God has not taken a day off since sin entered the Garden. Can you imagine the chaos if God said, do not disturb me on the Sabbath, no calls, no prayers, no visitors, I will be taking the day off. No, the Jews reasoned God was always at work, what they took issue with is Jesus referring to God as “My Father” in the singular possessive pronoun. They perceived, rightly so, Jesus was making himself equal with God. Remember what Paul wrote in Phil. 2: 6&7: “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…” In John 14, Jesus told Phillip, who asked him to show them the Father, that if he had seen him (Jesus) he had seen the Father. Hebrews 1 tells us Jesus, the Son, is the exact representation of God. John 1 tells us ‘no one has seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side has made Him known.’ He is called the WORD, because He, the Lord Jesus, is the exact expression of the Father.
Jesus was trying to break through to these blind religious men. But do not miss He is also teaching his disciples and us (who are also learners) how to listen to the Father and follow Jesus’ instructions.
Jesus answers them in verses 19-20: “ I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.”
What does equality mean with God mean?
- Jesus does not operate independent of the Father.
- Jesus is in constant touch with the Father.
- He does what He discerns the Father is doing. He does the will of the One who sent Him.
- The Father loves the Son, He also loves us. For this reason He shows us what He is doing so that we might join Him in His work.
Now you realize the temptation of Jesus in the desert by the devil in Matthew 4 was temptation to act independently of the Father. This is the basis of all sin- to do it ourselves, a way that seems right to us. Jesus said He could do nothing apart from the Father. And has told us the same in his teaching on the vine and the branch in John 15. Any work done without Jesus is dead orthodoxy, just as dead as the works of these legalistic Pharisees. It is lacking power and is therefore ineffective. Any church relying on self and methods of man is relying on man not God. In Him is life- works without Him are dead.
The Jewish Sanhedrin was made up of Pharisees, predominantly, who had the responsibility of investigating any new preachers or teachers to make sure they were not false teachers. This is the reason they had gone to question John the Baptist. This is why they are always present in the crowd when Jesus is teaching. Jesus wanted to show these religious zealots it was their beliefs not his behavior that was at fault.
These Jewish leaders had taken the Sabbath, which was God’s gift to mankind, and had turned it into a prison of regulations and rules which one could not possibly keep. For example a man could get his ox out of the ditch on the Sabbath, but a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years and was miraculously healed, could not carry his mat on the Sabbath. A physician could not heal on the Sabbath. Jesus deliberately challenged their legalistic traditions and man-made laws.
Having just told them He did what the Father showed him, Jesus gave them a preview of what He was about to do. He says to these Jews: “Yes, to your amazement, He will show him even greater things than these (healings). For just as the Father raised the dead and gave them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He pleases. Moreover, the Father judges no but has entrusted all judgment to the Son that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Father, who sent him.” You can imagine how shocked these Jews were at what Jesus was claiming.
Jesus prefaces this statement with ‘verily, verily, I say unto you’: something He said when He wanted to make sure they understood what He was about to say was of the utmost important. So let us listen to this all important truth which contains a promise and the qualifications for receiving this promise.
“I tell you the truth, (verily, verily I say unto you) whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” Do you see who qualifies to receive the promise? It is whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me. What is the promise? This person has eternal life- present tense from that moment on for eternity! And they will not be condemned.
This person has crossed over from death to life. How do we cross over? When we kneel at the Cross of Calvary. See the picture, you are kneeling and the Cross is over you and you are covered by the blood. Having been convicted of your sins, you have asked God to show you mercy. Actually, Jesus asked God to forgive you on the Cross when He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” We should never get over the Cross, for it was at the Cross where my sins were paid for and I crossed over from death to life. It’s still the Cross.
Now Jesus speaks of two time periods: one is a time to come, future. The other is a time which has come.
THE TIME WHICH HAS COME
This is time when the dead in Christ will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. You see the time has come when the spiritually dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and hearing, will believe and receive salvation and eternal life. This time has already come and the Word of God saves countless lives each and every day. This time has already come and there is still time for anyone who believes to be saved.
THE TIME IS COMING
The time is also coming in the future when the physically dead will be called to resurrection by the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. They will live as they are raised from the dead, from the grave on the Last Day.
HOW CAN THIS BE? “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He can grant the Son to have life in Himself. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, the life was the light of men.” (John 1: 3-4)
He will also be judge of the living, the believers, for rewards for the quality of their work and judge of the dead, those whose names are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life for their punishment. The Judge will be honored that day. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, the Judge is Lord.
DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
The Trinity is a mystery we cannot fully comprehend. But we can discern the order of the Trinity.
The Son is not independent of the Father, but rather dependent on the Father and works in tandem with His Father. They are inseparable. The Son speaks the Father’s words and declares the Father’s judgments. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternally equal in Person in one Godhead in three persons. The Son obeys the Father and listens to the Spirit to fulfill God’s plan. This is why Jesus came to show us how to live in dependence upon the Father. This why He sent the Holy Spirit, another who is Comforter, Advocate and Teacher. To help us understand the things God has freely given us.
Jesus says I have three witnesses: John the Baptist’s testimony; the miracles, signs, which even Nicodemus said, we know you are a teacher sent from God , because no one could do the miraculous signs you are doing. And Jesus told them, you have the Scriptures which testify of me. Remember when Jesus was resurrected, he told Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus and his disciples how Moses and the prophets and Psalms spoke of Him. Jesus said to these legalistic, self-righteous Pharisees, the reason you do not hear the Father’s voice concerning me, is the word does not dwell in you.
This phrase, the word dwelling in you, is important to understand. This is at the very heart of what it means to be a disciple. In John 8, Jesus said: “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. “ If you abide (dwell) in me and my word abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it will be given to you.” (John 15) The abiding life is the theme of John 15, the vine and the branch. “ Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in you and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts. “ (Col. 3: 16)
What does it mean to have the word of Christ dwell in you? It means to internalize its truths so it guides our whole life. We embrace it and put it into practice. These Jews did not have the word of God dwelling their hearts, it was in their minds. The Word of God is alive and powerful. It is life giving, life transforming, and life sustaining. The mind is where knowledge dwells. The heart is where love dwells. Jesus said to these Jews, ‘you do not have the love of God in your heart.’ (vs. 42) Romans 5 tells us the ‘love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit.’
APPLICATION FOR DISCIPLES
Jesus said: Follow me. So let’s follow his example, his lifestyle and how he lived day-by-day. Mark 1 said Jesus got up early in the morning, to spend time with his Father. He has told us we can do what He was doing and even do greater things, because He is now in heaven and has sent the third person of the Godhead, another, who will indwell us and seal us and never leave us. The Spirit is from God so that we may understand the things God has freely given us. Words taught us not by human wisdom, but in words taught us by the Spirit expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
So here is what Jesus has shown us:
- Jesus is equal with the Father, but voluntarily subjects himself to the Father. So must we.
- Jesus listens to the Father, and then does what the Father is doing. This is our example how we listen and obey. Not hearers only, like the Pharisees, but doers of the word.
- Eternal life begins now for those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus. Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. How do we glorify Him? By bearing fruit.
- In Him is life, there is no other source- not religion nor works. Those are works of flesh, not fruit of the Spirit which the branch bears only when it abides in the Vine.
- Like Jesus, our example, we are to live utterly dependent upon the Father; we are not function independently. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
At the empty tomb, Mary has encounter with the risen Lord and did not know it was the Lord. She supposed him to be the gardener. She asked him if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away. Jesus said to her “Mary!” And she turned to Him and said Rabboni! (Which is teacher). Jesus said to her, “ Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “ I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.” (John 20) He is my Father, He is my God.
We have been adopted. We can pray to our heavenly Father and He can show us where He is working and we can join Him there. He will do this as He did for Jesus, because He loves us.
Jesus says to us, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. “(John 14)
We have a threefold enemy, the world culture which wants to conform us. Our flesh, our old sinful nature in which dwells no good things. And the devil who is a relentless foe who goes about like a roaring lion. He wants us to doubt the Word of God and His promises. We have an external source of temptation, the world which is under the control of the evil one. An internal enemy, our old nature, who is always present when we want to do good. And an enemy who wants to destroy us. But greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.
I believe the enemy is filled with fury, because he knows his days are short. (Rev. 12) As he grows even bolder, so must we.
The signs are becoming clearer. The battle has intensified. Be on guard. Watch and pray. Things are not what they seem. The things which are seen are temporal, and the things which are not seen are eternal. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of My God stands forever, unchanging, for My God and My Father does not change.
Is He your Father? Have you been born again? If you have- you now possess eternal life. You are partakers of His divine nature.
You can call Him anytime- He loves to hear from you. After all He is Your Father and Your God.