Jesus and Abundant Life
A Bible Study of the Gospel of John
“Do you want to be made well?” – John 5
In John 2 Jesus did His first sign at a wedding in Cana which showed like God, He can turn the water of the word into the wine of redemption and like God He saves the best for last. In John 4 Jesus did His second sign of healing the nobleman’s son with a mere spoken word; a feat showing that like God His word is powerful. In John 5 Jesus will perform the third of seven signs and in the process further clarify His identity as being “equal with God.”
After this there was a feast of the Jews,
We are not told the specific “feast of the Jews” is being referred to here. Most commentators believe the feast referred to here is Passover. In some manuscripts an article is inserted to make it “the Feast” which would indicate Passover the most prominent of the Jewish feasts. There are some who believe this is the Feast of Purim, others that it is the Feast of Tabernacles.
Still others believe this feast to be Pentecost. In John 7:2 the Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned which follows Pentecost on the calendar in September. In John 10:22 the Feast of Dedication which occurs in November is mentioned. Based on this chronology Pentecost is chosen as the feast referred to here.
Of the four gospels John is the only gospel to refer to the feast of Passover. John references the feast of Passover first in 2:13, third in 6:4, fourth in 13:1, and very possibly the second Passover feast is here in 5:1. If John 4:35 is a reference to the feast of Pentecost or harvest four months away by Jesus, then it would appear that the most likely feast that led to Jesus going up to Jerusalem here in John 5 was the feast of Passover.  We can’t be dogmatic about this but Passover seems to have the most supporting evidence.
and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
No matter what direction a person approached Jerusalem from, it was always said that you were going “up to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was a holy city looked up to be all Jews.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate
The Sheep Gate (also known as “Stephen’s Gate” as it was where Stephen was stoned to death – Acts 7) was the gate through which the sacrifice lambs would be brought to the Temple for sacrificing. It was located in the wall of Jerusalem northeast of the Temple.
The word for “pool” (kolumbethra) here in Greek is very descriptive and means a pool deep enough to dive into; a deep pool from underneath that comes bubbling. This was a double pool
which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda,
There was a time when critics of the Bible denied the existence of this Pool. “Bethesda” means house of mercy. There were actually two pools closely situated next to each other.
If you visit the Pool of Bethesda today just adjacent to it is St. Ann’s church, and incredible Crusader built church with wonderful acoustics. It’s a favorite place for tourists.
having five porches.
These porches were covered decks using arches. It’s believed by some that five is a number that speaks of symbolically of the Pentateuch. The arches would help to make an image of the Tablets of the Law brought by Moses from Sinai.
3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed,
This was a place where people in need of physical healing gathered. But it is also a picture of people who need spiritual healing for without the Spirit within a person is blind, spiritually immobile, and stuck in space and time as if paralyzed in sin.
waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water;
Did angels actually stir the water so that whoever stepped in first would be healed of whatever disease they had? This was the thinking of the day. There was “a great multitude of sick people” assembled at the Pool because of this thinking. The Greek language does not use quotation marks so it is possible that the idea of angels coming to stir the waters was something we might liken to an old wives tale today. It’s possible that angels did stir the waters and healing occurred, but it’s also possible this was only a tale.
then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
Isn’t that what human tradition or the law speaks of, being “first,” or earning your healing? “Try harder. Fight your way out of it. Fight to the top. God helps those who help themselves” These are all expressions of human tradition and legalism.
While there is a consequence to sin (Gal. 6:7-9), it is also true that God blesses by grace to lead us and draw us to Himself (e.g. Rom. 2:4). Grace is undeserved or unmerited favor of God. God sent Jesus “while we were yet sinners” (Rom. 5:8). We’ve already seen how Jesus said God loves the world (John 3:16). The truth of the matter is you can’t make God love you more than He already does. All you can do is receive that love through faith in Christ.
5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.
Think of it, thirty-eight years trying his best to position himself to be the first to step in the pool and be healed. Thirty-eight years and still an invalid! What must this man have thought about the mercy and grace of God? Not very much after seeking God’s help mercilessly in his own strength with no good result.
6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
Notice, Jesus looked at “a certain man.” Jesus focused on one man; one individual. That’s the way Jesus looks at us; as though we were the only person in the world. Think about that. If you were the only human being on planet earth Jesus would still have come and died on the cross for you! Incredible!
Think too of the situation this “certain man” was in. He was never, not even in thirty-eight years, able to maneuver himself close to the pool side to step in. He was always last. He wasn’t mobile, agile, or powerful. He was far away; removed. He was, after thirty-eight years, in a pretty hopeless situation. When Jesus looked at him He could see and “knew that he already had been in that condition a long time.” The marks of futility, frustration, depression, discouragement, despair, and being in a dead end were written all over his face. Jesus saw that. He sees that in us when we are in a similar state of being.
So what did Jesus do? Jesus went straight for the man’s heart. “Do you want to be made well?” It was an obvious rhetorical question. But it flew like an arrow to the mark of this man’s heart.
But wasn’t it obvious that this man did want to be healed? Jesus could see he “had been in that condition a long time.” He had been like this for thirty-eight years! So why would Jesus ask him, “Do you want to be made well?” I think Jesus asked the man this question because sometimes people get used to their condition of lameness in whatever form; it becomes a way of life. They may use their condition to manipulate others. For most, I would venture to say, who are in such a condition for such a prolonged period of time, such a thought would be offensive. But for others, it is something to consider.
There are some with lame conditions who learn to survive through fostering pity in others through their condition. Maybe they lose all hope of repair and are forced to rely on such survival tactics. Maybe they become so adept at using their condition it really does become a situation where they need to ask, “Do I really want to be made well?” Jesus simply asks the question. He gives the lame man a choice; a decision to make. The psychology of physical pain and brokenness is complicated. Jesus is the answer to those complications. He comes and offers healing.
7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
How sad it is when people go round and around in a circle of circumstances that only move them deeper and deeper down in their darkness. This man could only respond to Jesus with a hopeless explanation of his plight.
Think of how alone and lonely this man was. “I have no man to put me into the pool.” This man had NO ONE. He was alone. Ever feel alone? Ever feel like no one cares for you? Jesus had a word for this man. Jesus has a word for you.
Feel hopeless? Feel like you’re in a dead end; like you’re fruitlessly doing the same ineffective and failing things over and over again? Feel locked in with no way out with no one to help you? Jesus has a word for you.
8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
“Rise, take up your bed and walk”! A simple word from Jesus solved this man’s life problem and answered every doubt he ever had. God had heard him. And God was now answering him. Think of what these words describe. Think of the incredible liberation. Think of the stupendous eye-opening powerful effect of the simple words of Jesus. Isn’t Jesus wonderful? Yes He is!
But what might this man have thought at these words? “What? But I can’t walk!” We too might think “What? But I can’t . . .” when Jesus tells us to “Rise, take up your bed and walk” in various life situations. But in Jesus words there was an empowerment.
Someone has said, “God’s commandments are God’s enablements.” That’s what we see here. Jesus spoke to the lame man telling him to “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And that word was infused with power to do what was asked to do. God will never ask you to do something He doesn’t enable you to do. Remember that.
Notice too that Jesus in saying to the man, “take up your bed” was really asking him to make no provision for failure. Jesus didn’t want him to leave his bed where it was so he could return to it “if it didn’t work out.” This was a “Rise, take up your bed and walk” and you will never go back, never be the same again call of Jesus to this man.
We can learn something very important from this. When we struggle with an addiction or bad habit and turn it over to Jesus, then that means throwing away everything and burning the bridges that would tempt us to return to the sin. Burn the dirty books, the little black books or your phone contacts with phone numbers of past loves, block the filthy websites from your computor, throw the computor away if you need to. Don’t hide the Oreos or candy where you can find them later when you might crave them. Clean the house. Make a clean and total break.
One last thing here; Jesus said to this lame man, “Walk.” You have to take action. No one is going to do the work for you. There is a time when you have to take a step of faith. Jon Courson comments:
No one will carry you. When will Christians learn this lesson? Like the lame man, we think we need help from man—from a counselor, a psychologist, or a Christian therapist. “Where is someone to disciple me, pray for me, study with me?” we cry. The lame man had a choice to make. He could either obey the word of Christ, or argue that it wouldn’t work for him. So can we. But when we finally realize no man is going to carry us, we will find Jesus is all we needed all along. Corrie Ten Boom was right: You will never discover Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have.
“Well,” you say, “if Jesus was here in the flesh as He was with the lame man, I too would walk. But He’s no longer in the midst of us. We can no longer hear from Him directly.”
Really? Jesus says, “Lo I come in the volume of the book” (see Hebrews 10:7). He is here, gang—not only through His Spirit residing in you, but in the Bible open before you. Read your Bible—and you will hear words that will speak to you personally and specifically.
People are no longer reading the Scriptures. They’re too busy saying, “What man is going to help me? What clinic is going to assist me? What pastor is going to solve the problem for me?”
Read your Bible. Peter says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in this world through lust” (see 2 Peter 1:4). Everything we need to escape the sickness and sadness of this world is found in the exceedingly great and precious promises of the Bible. Yet people don’t read their Bibles. They’ll drive fifty minutes to go to a thirty-minute counseling appointment but won’t spend fifteen minutes in the Word. It’s a tragedy. God has clearly said that the one who is meditating in the Word will bring forth fruit, will never shrivel up, and will prosper in all he does (Psalm 1). Yet the top-rated religious broadcasters are no longer Bible teachers. They’re psychologists. People flock to the seminars, videos, and books of those who say, “The key is psychology and human understanding. Yes, we’re Christians. But Scripture is not totally sufficient. We need to talk to you about how to raise your kids, how to communicate, how to be successful based upon psychology.”
Can those things be helpful? Perhaps. Are they necessary? No. The Scriptures are all-sufficient, for they speak of Christ, point to Christ, and bring us to Christ. Stay in the Scriptures, gang. Read your Bible! 
Jesus is able. He is able to make you completely whole. For example, in the book of Acts Peter and John went up to the Temple to pray around three o’clock in the afternoon (Acts 3). On their way into the Temple through the Beautiful Gate on the eastern side of the Temple, they met a man who was lame. The Beautiful Gate was just outside the Temple court and as close as a lame person could come to the Temple. He sat as close to the Temple as he could. The Temple was the place where God made His presence known to the nation and its people.
This man sitting at the Beautiful Gate was born lame and unable to walk. We’re all lame from birth with our sinful nature. This man however, was physically lame from birth as well. He was unable to get any closer because of his physical condition. Similarly, our sin and sinful nature keep us distant from God (cf. Isaiah 59:1-2).
This lame man would get his friends to carry him and place hi at the Gate to beg alms or for money. The closer you got to the Temple itself the holier it was and it was more likely people convicted of their sin as they came to the Temple would want to contribute to a beggar and maybe work off some of their sin.
When Peter and John passed near this lame man the man begged them for a donation. Peter and John stopped, Peter said, “Look at us,” and got the man’s attention. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Then Peter took the man by the hand and lifted him up and it says, “Immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up , stood and walked, leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:7-8). Now the point I want to make is that this man wasn’t leaping and praising God just because of a physical healing. That would have been enough. But in Jesus’ name God goes beyond that. Physical healing is good for this life. This life is temporal. In Jesus’ name God wants to heal us with an eternal life healing. And that is exactly what He did to this once lame man.
Later when Peter explains what happens to the crowd of onlookers he states, “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16). The word “strong” (Greek stereoo) means to receive strength, make strong, confirm, solidify. This man was given strength in the name of Jesus. But Peter adds he also received “perfect soundness” (Greek holokleria) which means physical wholeness, good health, soundness or wholeness in all parts. This is an all-encompassing word. It means whatever needed healing in this man was healed. That would include emotional scars associated with his physically lame condition and it would also include spiritual healing or the healing of his soul; salvation. That is really what led to the jumping praise of God by the man. All in one fell swoop when Peter in the name of Jesus told him to rise and then took him and lifted him up this man was physically, emotionally and spiritually healed. No wonder he jumped for joy!
That is what Jesus wants to do for you. He wants to heal you. There are times when He prioritizes what is healed in us. His prime concern is our healing with salvation and eternal life. There are times when he allows our physical ailment or condition to continue. We don’t always know why this is the case. But Jesus is able to heal us completely in all areas of our life. And that eternal life salvation healing is always available for, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). If Jesus chooses to have you remain in a physically ill or hurting condition He promises to provide sufficient grace to get you through (2 Cor. 12:9-10). But you can be eternally healed right now! Of that there is no doubt.
This life is short. It does not compare with eternity. If God has a greater eternal plan that includes using your physically hurting condition, if He can use that for His glory, then praise Him for it too! God can use healing and non-healing to glorify Himself. Healing shows the presence and power of God. Non-healing shows the presence and sufficiency of His grace to get us through. The saint that has a physical challenge or terminal illness and is still joyful, is a testimony to the power and presence of God. That glorifies Him. Be content in even this (Phil. 4). In both instances God works His will for His glory. To that we must surrender.
As we get further into these verses we will see that the word of Jesus is sufficient for what we need. His grace is poured out sufficiently in and through His word.
And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” 11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
When you’re caught up in the law or human traditions, you miss the blessing of God. When you’re steeped in tradition and law, you can’t understand the signs God gives of His presence and glory. Traditions clog up the stream of God’s blessings and what He desires to do. When you’re relying on human tradition and law, you’re dead to what God is doing. Jesus had just done an incredible miraculous healing and these religious people were focused more on the healed man carrying his bed on the Sabbath than that he was walking for the first time in thirty-eight years! That’s as astoundingly sad as it is spiritually superficial. Don’t let human tradition and human wisdom get in the way of what God wants to do.
But we don’t do that do we? Do we? What do we do when Jesus works in ways we hadn’t planned for Him to work? What happens when Jesus doesn’t fulfill our expectations? Our expectations can curtail and be a cloud that blocks out the sun of God’s blessing. “Lord, You didn’t come through for me!” We fasted and prayed, we spoke the word and we really, really believed, and then, He chooses to do something different than what we wanted or expected; He changed things up. Maybe, just maybe Jesus wants to do something more than what we expected. And maybe He wants to do things differently from what you expected or desired. How often do we focus on the Sabbath of our expectations and desires and miss the blessing of God’s exceedingly more abundant answer? (cf. Eph. 3:19-21). Don’t let your expectations get in the way of what God wants to do.
12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.
This is interesting; the man “did not know who it was” that had healed him. Sometimes we put a lot of qualifications and rules on healing. We use the name of Jesus magically to get what we want. This man simply believed Jesus and obeyed when Jesus said “Take up your bed and walk.” The focus of healing is Jesus. We simply have to receive His will in faith.
And this also tells us something important about Jesus. If you or I would have healed this man we probably would have made sure the man and as many others as possible knew exactly who had done the healing. Not Jesus. Jesus didn’t pose for any action photos of the healing. He didn’t seek the limelight. Jesus simply withdrew into the multitude of people. Jesus is not self-seeking in ministry. We shouldn’t be either.
14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple,
Evidently the man went to the temple to worship God for his healing. How often we forget to thank and worship God for answers to our prayers and signs of His hand in our lives. But this is evidence that the healing this man received was not merely physical but spiritual as well. Before he was healed he had to depend on others to bring him to the temple. And actually, a lame man would not be permitted in the temple area. But now, healed by Jesus, he could go to the temple to worship the Lord as often as he was led by the Spirit to do so. Isn’t that wonderful? When Jesus heals us it reveals to us the truth about worship as well as frees us to worship. Wonderful!
Jesus met the man at the place of worship. Remember what Jesus said in John 4; God is looking and searching for those who worship Him (John 4:23-24). Jesus found the man when he was worshipping. When we worship, Jesus has a way of showing up. Remember that.
If you’re feeling distant from God, just go to the house of God, to the word, pray, worship, and Jesus will show up.
and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”
It’s possible this man’s lame condition was the consequence of a sexually transmitted disease. Maybe he was an alcoholic or smoker; a glutton; some practice that was unhealthy and a sinful disregard for the Maker’s creation; our body (cf. also 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Some commentators believe that. But Jesus didn’t dwell on the cause. He simply recognized that this man had been made well. And then very practically Jesus said, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” Whatever had caused this man’s lame state, Jesus instruction was to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” If you’ve been mercifully forgiven and healed by God, don’t take it lightly. God is gracious and merciful and forgiving, but a day will come if you persist in sin that you will become so deadened and desensitized to the voice of the Spirit that you will be beyond conviction and lost forever (cf. John 12:39). That indeed would be something far, far worse.
15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
As soon as the man learned who had healed him, he bore testimony and gave credit to Jesus.
16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
They persecuted Jesus because He didn’t work according to their human traditions and expectations. Historically it is the religious who persecute and seek to kill the children of God. There is hope for the religious. Saul was a religious persecutor and killer until the day Jesus knocked him off his high horse and saved his soul (cf. Acts 9). Are you ready to fall on your knees before Jesus?
But there is an issue here of the meaning of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day of rest. But such rest in its context is not merely inactivity, but it is rest after work has been done satisfactorily. Jon Courson makes this point clearly when he comments:
The Jews sought to slay Jesus for desecrating the Sabbath, when, in actuality, they themselves were guilty of distorting the Sabbath. You see, the true Sabbath is not based upon inaction, but upon satisfaction; not upon simply refraining from work, but upon rejoicing in work well done. When God the Father took a Sabbath break after six days of activity, He looked at all He had made and saw it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Thus, because He was satisfied with His work, He rested from His work. This allowed us the glorious freedom to follow His lead and say, “Lord, through Your grace, You’ve blessed. And now I am going to rest.”
The Jews had missed the essence of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not so much about us not working as it is God’s completed work in and through us and our rejoicing in His work.
17 But Jesus answered them,
Jesus stands in stark contrast to the sour Sabbath police. Jesus was light to their darkness. Jesus was joyful and a joy producer to their quenching spirit and contrariness and closed calloused hearts to the will of God. But why was Jesus different? What made Him different? I’m not looking for a simple, “Well He is God!” exclamation. There’s something else here; something we can apply very practically to our lives. One commentator expresses what made Jesus different in the following way:
At this point, as tension is heightened and the war is at hand, Jesus gives an incredible, insightful, and important defense of why He could blow apart Jewish traditions, of why He was not bound by religious systems, of why He did what He did. Jesus lived the most attractive, powerful, beautiful, joyful, wonderful life ever lived. There was a quality about Him, a joy emanating from Him, a peace within Him, a love flowing through Him that attracted the common people to Him like moths to a flame (Mark 12:37). When He said He had come that they might have life abundantly (John 10:10), no one challenged him, saying, “Why don’t we see abundant life in You?” No, so abundant was Jesus’ life that people left everything to be near Him.
Hebrews goes on to say Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness “more than any of His fellows” (1:9). That is, He had a gladness about Him unparalleled in any other person. Truly, whoever looks at the Lord cannot help but be impressed with Him. One would think the secret to such attractiveness, effectiveness, and joy would be very complex. One would think that Jesus must have understood esoteric mysteries and implemented difficult methodology. But such is not the case, for in the remainder of the chapter, we see the simplicity of the secret Jesus understood that produced in Him the life that was so successful and so beautiful. What was this secret? In the following defense, we see not only why Jesus healed on the Sabbath, but the very foundational principle that governed His entire life: His relationship with His Father.
Isn’t that the kind of “abundant life” you want in you? It is for me. I want that joy-full abundant life of Jesus. And that life is possible through our faith relationship with the Father. We might define ourselves and find joy in what others think of us or our accomplishments by the standards and values of this world, but not Jesus. Jesus was a joy-full perfect Man because His eyes were set on the Father. If He pleased His Father, everything else fell into place. What was Jesus’ relationship with the Father like?
“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
Jesus followed in the steps of His Father. Jesus Father works on the Sabbath and therefore so would He. The Father keeps the universe in order and sustains life even on the Sabbath. So Jesus would minister on the Sabbath too. It’s very possible that Adam and Eve were tempted and sinned on the Sabbath. And in response to their sin the Father intervened on the Sabbath (Gen. 3:8). The Father ministered to fallen sinners on the Sabbath, therefore, Jesus would do and did the same. All that mattered to Jesus was whether or not His Father did something. Jesus reflected and followed in the steps of His Father. And if Jesus did what His Father did He knew He was doing the right thing. And that gave Him great joy.
In his first epistle John instructs us to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). If we do that, we are free of sin and guilt, and our joyfulness will be facilitated. That is a key to joy. Jesus’ life was not cluttered with the complexities of human tradition or worldly standards and expectations of people. Jesus only had eyes for pleasing His Father. And so, He was a Man filled with joy; the model Man of joy for us.
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
The phrase, “making Himself equal with God” uses the Greek Present Tense (Present tense of the verb poieo) which carries the meaning of an ongoing action. Therefore we need to understand that Jesus was continually “making Himself equal with God.” The term “equal” (Greek isos ) means equal, alike, consistent, the same in quantity or quality; of equal value; of equal mathematical quantity. There’s no getting around the fact that Jesus was constantly equating Himself with the Father. Jesus is God! Cults may claim that Jesus never said He was equal with God but such a claim is false and refuted by scripture.
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
Jesus kept in touch with the Father. Jesus lived in constant contact with His Father. He lived in the presence of His Father. Everything He did was in response to and an outflow of His contact with the Father. Truly, as Jesus will say later in John’s gospel, He and the Father were One (John 10:30; 17:22). The key to Jesus’ joy was His close contact with the Father.
Jesus chose to limit Himself of divine power so that He could step down into our human world and show us the power of a Man totally connected to God (Phil. 2). What we see Jesus doing in terms of signs is not something He does because He is God. What we see Jesus do is what can be done by any person who connects to God and lives for His will to be done (cf. John 4:34).
When humanity in Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were infected with the thought that they knew good from evil; that they didn’t need to consult the Father; didn’t need God. Pride is what we call it. Jesus came to counter that. Jesus consulted His Father in all He did. That’s what made Him powerful to do all He did.
How do we keep in touch with God? First we get in touch with God by turning from our sins to God and ask His forgiveness through faith in Jesus as our Savior. Jesus is the only just basis for our forgiveness. Not our good works or efforts. Sin incurs a death penalty. Jesus took our place on the cross and died for us. When we receive God’s forgiveness according to the gospel by faith, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual life. Then with the life of the Spirit within, we live with Jesus as Lord; we live as disciples or those who follow and grow in their faith and walk with God in Christ. We can only come close to God through the blood of Jesus (Heb. Hebrews 4:14-16). We are not saved to sit in a pew. We are saved to serve the Lord and walk in a vital growing relationship with Him. Salvation leads to an abundant life of adventure with the Lord.
The church I pastor lives by unchangeable vision principles. These principles which give us meaning and purpose; they represent who we are as a church. The one overriding core of core principles is to glorify God in all we do (e.g. Mat. 5:16; 1 Cor. 10:31). Then we have five core principles which flow out of our primary core life principle. They are defined by the acronym P.O.W.E.R. They stand for we proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord; we obey God’s word as our primary authority; we worship God in Spirit and truth; we are eternally grateful to God and show it by loving Him supremely and others sacrificially; and we are reproducing disciples. These principles are what guide all we do as a church and as individuals who are a part of this church. These are five life core principles that if we rely on the Spirit to help us live by them. They will unleash God’s power in our life. They will also help us to stay in touch with the Father.
20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
Jesus knew He was loved by the Father. Jesus was secure in the Father’s love. He did not find His security in what others thought of Him. It’s not as though He was dispassionate or aloof to emotion; far from it. But Jesus knew the Father and that His Father, loved Him. Jesus had a close intimate relationship with His Father; one where the Father showed Him and shared with Him what Jesus should do. Jesus found His way in the Father’s love. That’s the same way we should find our way. Jesus lived to please the Father who loved Him. His priority and what determined what He did was pleasing the Father who loved Him. In the end Jesus was able to say He had completed the work His Father gave Him and it glorified the Father (John 17:4).
It was the security found in the Father’s love that fueled Jesus joy. If the Father was for Him, who could be against Him? (compare Rom. 8:31-32). If the Father loved Him, then He could put up with the attacks and hatred of His opponents because He knew nothing would shake His Father’s love for Him and that all He did was in the Father’s love. Jesus’ awareness of His Father’s love steadied Him in every circumstance of life because the One who loves you only has your best interests at heart.
Do you know that God the Father loves you? He loved you and me and us even when we were living in the deep darkness of sin (Rom. 5:8). And do you know that the Father’s love is unconditional? It is. When the Father loves He loves completely; perfectly. That is agape love. And that means we can’t do anything to make the Father love us more than He already does. You don’t have to earn the Father’s love. He already loves you as much as is possible for Him to love you. That should make us feel very, very secure in His love.
So we should never question whether or not God loves us. Yes, He allows certain things like trials and afflictions into our lives. We don’t always understand why the Father does or allows certain things into our lives the way He does. But one thing we should never question or doubt is that the Father loves us.
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
Jesus applied power like the Father could and would. This is a clear claim to deity by Jesus. Jews viewed God as the Keeper of three keys: the key to the heaven’s in that He provided rain (Deut. 28:12); the key to the womb in that He granted life and birth (Gen. 30:2); and the key to bringing the dead back to life as with the dry bones coming to life in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezek. 37). By saying that He like the Father could raise the dead and give life was a clear claim to equality with the Father.
But there is something else here too. Jesus applied His power like the Father would. Jesus was one with the purposes of His Father. He didn’t use His power for His own purposes but His purposes were one with the Father’s purposes. “As the Father raises the dead” so Jesus would raise the dead and give “life to whom He will.” Jesus was one in purpose with His Father.
Jesus didn’t see Himself in competition with the Father but equal and in sync with Him. Sometimes we compete with God’s attention. We grow jealous of those close to us serving God. Rather than compete with the attention shown to the Father we ought to rejoice in such attention. This doesn’t mean we should neglect people to serve the Lord because that would not be in line with Jesus relationship with the Father here. But we should never compete with God. We can’t beat Him.
22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Jesus authority was based on His relationship with His Father. Jesus was in a position to judge as the Father had “committed” (Greek didomi) or entrusted, handed over, given to the authority to Jesus to judge. And because of that Jesus was in an honorable position. The same “honor” (Greek timeo) the same value, regard, respect, or honor that the Father was given was due to Jesus. Again Jesus equates Himself with the Father in the honor due Him. If you don’t honor or value Jesus as much as the Father, you dishonor the Father.
All authority is rooted in our connection with God. Every governmental authority is connected to God (cf. Rom. 13). And ministerial authority is rooted in our connection to God. We serve authoritatively in the name of Jesus or according to the Christlike way of leading. Jesus was a servant leader (Mark 10:45). Those in ministry call others to follow them as they follow Jesus. Paul called people to imitate him as He imitated Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1). His authority to lead was bound up and based on His Christlikeness.
We know how Jesus led and what God’s will is through God’s word which is an extension of Himself (cf. Psalm 138:2). So ministry authority is credible and powerful to the extent it is in line with the word of God (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17). The ministry speaks and lives authoritatively as long as he is in line with God and God’s word. Step over the borders of the parameters of God’s word and the minister loses all authority. The Pastor’s authority is based in Christlikeness as revealed in God’s word.
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life
For emphasis Jesus introduces His next words with the phrase, “Most assuredly.” “Most assuredly” is a translation of the Greek word amen written twice. Literally Jesus says, “Amen, amen.” Amen means surely, so let it be. This is a way for Jesus to announce, “Listen up, what follows is important.”
Here we see the importance of first hearing the word of Jesus. The word “hears” (Greek akouo) means to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, to attend to, consider what is or has been said, to understand, perceive the sense of what is said. God has given us by grace the capacity to hear His word. He enables us to hear, perceive and understand enough to come to the point of decision.
Jesus is calling His listeners to listen to what He is saying. Jesus spoke in a way that called for His listeners to make a decision. You couldn’t then and can’t now listen to the words of Jesus and be the same. If you reject His word you will become harder in heart and further dulled spiritually. But if you listen to what Jesus says, He promises you will find everlasting life. You can’t straddle the fence with what Jesus says or with Jesus Himself. Indecision is decision. A person is either for Him or against Him (cf. Mat. 12:30).
What decision does Jesus call for? The point of decision is the point where we act on the data God has helped us hear deciding whether or not to believe. The word “believes” (Greek pisteuo) means to have faith in, trust in, commit to. To believe is to entrust yourself in a life commitment. Here it means to entrust yourself in a life commitment to God. The idea is like a life commitment made in a wedding vow. When two people are married they don’t make a partial vow of commitment. For instance a marital vow consists of the following:
In the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit,
I, ____________________ take you, _________________
to be my wife/husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better for worse,
for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
until we are parted by death.
This is my solemn vow.
In the same way when we believe in God unto salvation we make a life commitment to Him. We
give our heart, our life to Him. It’s not an option to give God only part of us to Him anymore than it would for people being wed to make only a partial commitment to be married to one another. It’s really all or nothing.
And the gift of God to those who believe in Him and the One Jesus Who He sent is “everlasting life.” “Everlasting” (Greek aionios) means, perpetual, eternal, forever, everlasting. “Life” (Greek zoa) means a state of vitality or animation, full life. This is the abundant life we are studying in this gospel. Everlasting life is full, rich, blessed, never ending LIFE in its most favorable and wonderful way.
, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
The Bible says that everyone will appear before God’s judgment seat. Christians will stand before the “judgment seat of Christ” where they will not be judged regarding everlasting life. (That is settled when a person repents of their sin and receives forgiveness for their sins through faith in Christ – Romans 6:23; 8:1ff.; 2 Cor. 5:21). The Christian will face a judgment concerning how they spent their life. If they spent their life for eternal things they will be rewarded. If they spent their life for temporal earthly things they will receive little to no reward but they themselves will be saved (cf. 1 Cor. 3:12-15).
Christians “shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Christians do not stand in judgment to determine whether or not they have eternal life or if they will spend eternity in the presence of the Lord in heaven. That is a done deal through the gospel of Jesus Christ. To be born again is to receive spiritual “life” (John 3). But if you have not been born again, you remain spiritually dead.
The phrase “has passed” (Greek metabebeken) means to go across, or pass over. In Luke 16 Jesus speaks of a rich man and poor man named Lazarus. In life the rich man had everything and Lazarus had nothing. But in death the rich man was in a place of torment separated by an impassable chasm from an area of comforting where Lazarus was being ministered to by Abraham. Jesus is the only way for anyone to secure passage over that chasm. To pass over across that chasm of destiny one has to in this life trust in Jesus as Savior. The belief in Jesus now puts a person in righteous standing with God so that they pass over the abode of the tormented unrighteous and the impassable chasm into the presence of the Lord.
The unsaved, those who have not been born again through faith in Jesus Christ, they are judged initially at the point of death (Heb. 9:27). They are deemed unworthy of heaven and will go directly to a place of torment (Luke 16:19-31). They will remain there until their final sentencing hearing before God’s judgment seat known as the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). It will be at this point that the sentence of eternal damnation in hell will be carried out by the Lord against all the unrighteous: Satan and his demons, Antichrist, the false prophet (Rev. 13), and all those who did not accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
25 Most assuredly,
Again Jesus introduces His statement with a “Listen up” amen and amen!
I say to you, 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.
When Jesus speaks the Spirit convicts the world of sin, their lack of righteousness and the impending judgment (John 16:8-11). The gospel of Jesus Christ brings the spiritually dead to life (e.g. Eph. 2:1ff.).
A time is coming when we will be reunited with the DNA of our dead bodies. God will take that DNA and use it to sculpt a perfect eternal heavenly body. When a person dies now their spirit departs from their physical body. The physical body is only a shell. It is fallen because of the effects of planetary sin on creation. At age 25 our bodies cross the threshold where they have more cells dying than new cells produced to replace them. Physically, we begin dying around this age. And as we age we become more and more aware of this condition.
But a time is coming when God will take the DNA from our dead earthly bodies and sculpt an eternal heavenly body (cf. 1 Cor. 15). Oh what a day that will be! And this is the work of Jesus.
26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
Jesus has the power to raise the spiritually dead (5:24) as well as the physically dead as we will see later in the gospel (John 11:43). There’s something about the voice of Jesus that quickens those who receive what He says and deadens further those who reject His words.
27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Authority and truth as it pertains to everlasting life is bound up in the word of Jesus and belief in it. There is no getting around Jesus when it comes to passing God’s judgment and receiving eternal life. There is no salvation apart from Jesus (e.g. Acts 4:12). Jesus and the Father work in tandem.
Here we see again Jesus equating Himself with the Father. Jesus has life in Himself just like the Father does (5:26). Jesus has “authority” (Greek exousia), the authority to rule. In this case Jesus proclaims He has the rightful authority to determine execute judgment. Some would resist complying with the words of Jesus or disagree that Jesus is the only way to heaven. That opinion is not as important as the Person of Jesus and His authority. A person’s eternal destiny is in Jesus’ hands.
30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Jesus willfully submitted to the Father. Jesus joy was fueled further by a life submitted to the Father. There was “nothing” Jesus did that was not based on a consultation with the Father. Jesus didn’t see this as restricting. He saw it as liberating! Jesus said, “As I hear, I judge.” He listened to the Father; for His voice of direction. Jesus said, “I do not seek My own will be the will of the Father who sent Me.” Jesus joy is rooted in a life of complete submission to the Father’s will. And in His submission Jesus, as the Perfect representative Man perfectly models for us the joyful life of submission to God (e.g. Phil. 2).
Do you live in submission to the Father’s will? We might be quick to say “Yes.” But if we live prayerlessly how can we claim to be living in submission to the Father whom we haven’t even consulted for direction in our daily lives? And then, living prayerlessly in our own strength and will, when we are joyless, what right do we have to blame God for our God-forsaken joylessness? No. Joy comes from a life of constant ongoing prayerful dependence upon God who directs us and supports us as He leads us in life. Submission to the Father was a way of life for Jesus; it was a key to His joy.
31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.
It’s not enough for someone to make a claim about themselves. Watch out for the person who is always tooting their own horn, boasting about themselves, makes themselves the center of attention or conversation. That person is proud. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). That is not Christlike. That was not the way and is not the way of Jesus. Jesus is humble and lowly from His birth (Luke 2:4-7) to His death (Phil. 2:8). Jesus made Himself of no reputation (Phil. 2:7). He came to serve and give Himself a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.
Jesus had an assurance about who He was. Who He was, was simply a matter of the truth. He wasn’t falsely humble so that He denied or diminished who He was or the mission He had been called to.
33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
John the Baptist was a great man on a great mission. He bore witness to who Jesus was; “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
Jesus wasn’t saying what He was to make Himself famous. He wasn’t doing what He did for notariety or cheap attention. He was on a mission to save people. What mission are you on?
35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
Jesus said his opponents “for a time” rejoiced in John the Baptist’s light. As long as they found what John had to say palatable, they welcomed him and his message. But when he spoke of repentance and that God wanted a heart relationship and not just a religious identity, that they were sinners who needed to repent, and that Jesus was the Lamb of God they must behold in faith, that was not welcomed by them. They turned away from John, his message of repentance that would require change and a Savior that would require their submission; that was too much for them.
Jesus said his opponents “for a time” rejoiced in John the Baptist’s light. As long as they found what John had to say palatable, they welcomed him and his message. But when he spoke of repentance and that God wanted a heart relationship and not just a religious identity, that they were sinners who needed to repent, and that Jesus was the Lamb of God they must behold in faith, that was not welcomed by them. They turned away from John, his message of repentance that would require change and a Savior that would require their submission; that was too much for them.
It’s interesting how some people will be your “best friend” or express their support to your mission or leadership as long as you agree with them but as soon as they disagree or correct them their friendship and support is withdrawn. Paul wrote the Galatians, “Have I therefore become your enemies because I tell you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). We ought to welcome correction from a friend – “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be excellent oil; let my head not refuse it” (Psalm 141:5). But we often don’t. Why? Because of pride we don’t receive correction (Proverbs 9:8-9). The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov. 27:6). We should welcome the truth spoken to us in love (Eph. 4:15).
It should also be said that when correction is given it should be given in humility. Paul advised those who find one in a trespass to gently correct that person with an eye to restoration and in the process do so watching out for the temptation to be proud about it (Gal. 6:1). When we correct others it should always be in Christlike love. When a woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus she deserved condemnation but Jesus did not condemn her. Instead He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). We speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). We should never see ourselves as better than the one being corrected. We are simply God’s instrument being used in the life of that person at the time. We are who we are by God’s grace and if it weren’t for God’s grace we would all be lost (1 Cor. 15:10). We all have planks to be taken care of before we point out the speck’s in the eye of others (Mat. 7:3-5). Remember that. If you adopt an adversarial position and take joy in the shortcomings of another, God is able to turn the tables pretty quick (Prov. 24:17-18). Be humble. Be loving. Look to restore and see others as better than yourself (Phil. 2:3). Have a proper appraisal of who you are in Christ (Rom. 12:3). Then follow the leading of the Spirit.
John the Baptist came proclaiming truth and introducing Jesus as the Savior and they rejected John and Jesus. The consequence was missing out on salvation. Do you welcome correction? Are you open to God’s truth, even if it hurts or goes against what you like? It’s wise to humbly welcome correction. It’s the only way to grow in the Lord (Prov. 17:10).
36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
Jesus got His credibility from the Father. Jesus was not proudly bearing witness to Himself (5:31). Even though John the Baptist bore witness to who Jesus was and even though John’s witness was true (5:32), Jesus didn’t depend on the comments or approval of others for His credibility. Jesus didn’t depend on people; not even the great John the Baptist, for His credibility and self-worth. Jesus was validated and credible because He knew His Father supported His ministry through the works He enabled Jesus to do. The fruit of His labors were a witness from the Father that Jesus was approved and credible in the Father’s ministry.
Jesus credibility was not based on a worldly standard of numbers or influence. Jesus didn’t pastor a mega church nor did He hobnob with politicians. Jesus’ depended on the Father’s anointing and fulfilling the Father’s plan in the Father’s power. All that mattered to Jesus is “that the Father has sent Me.” That’s all that should matter to us as well. All Jesus really needed to hear was the voice of His Father saying, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17).
This is so very important in life. You’ll never be joyful is you depend on the validation of others. If you are constantly looking for others to pat you on the back or give a word of encouragement, it will never be enough because it isn’t what you really need. We are human and it is good to have a word of encouragement or pat on the back. But the most important and most fulfilling validation is that which comes from Jesus and the Father. One commentator puts it like this:
Jesus’ validation came not from John the Baptist, nor even from His own works. It came directly from the Father. Is your validation coming from your own accomplishments, or from others patting you on the back? It’ll never be enough. You’ll always be one pat shy of satisfaction. Validation for your life will not come from someone pointing out how good you are. Nor will it come from your own achievements. True validation comes when you hear the voice of the Father in your heart, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” That’s the only validation that brings security, satisfaction, and stability. That’s the only validation that will make your life attractive, fruitful, and effective.
One word from God’s still small voice to your heart is enough to lift any fog or smog of despair or self-doubt. Stay close to the Lord. Seek Him and His approval. Seek Him in His word and stay in His presence through prayer, worship and the study of His word. Then your joy will be complete.
Verse thirty-six tells us the purpose of the works or signs Jesus did. He said, “the works that I do – bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.” The works Jesus did are proof that He is not self-sent but has been sent by the Father; that He indeed is the Messiah; the Savior of the world. The signs are the undeniable fingerprint of God on Jesus. They are the imprimatur of Almighty God on all He is and does.
37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
At His baptism the Father from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Mat. 3:17; 2 Peter 1:17). When the Father speaks people should listen. The Father spoke but the people did not listen.
And Jesus is the “form” (Greek eidos), the shape, outward appearance, embodiment of God; the incarnation (John 1). In Hebrews it states of Jesus that He is, “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3a). When you see Jesus you See God in the flesh! How could the people who saw Jesus in the flesh not believe Him and His works? They chose not to.
Neither the voice or manifestation of God in the flesh was received by the opponents of Jesus. How about you, have you received Jesus in light of God’s word? The evidence is overwhelming!
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.
You may claim to know and abide in the scriptures, but if you don’t receive Jesus as Messiah and Savior, “you do not have His word abiding in you.” It’s as simple as that. That is the just response to every alternative religion, cult and false religion.
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
God the Father Himself bore witness to who Jesus is (5:37a). But the Jewish leaders did not only not hear Jesus, they didn’t hear the Father or see His “form,” or anything of the hand of God in the ministry of Jesus (5:37b). They didn’t have God’s word “abiding in” them either (5:38a). That was evident by their rejection of Jesus (5:38b).
Do you know it’s possible to “search the scriptures” and miss the entire point of them? The scriptures “testify” of Jesus. The scriptures speak about Jesus. The volume of God’s Book speaks and points to Jesus (e.g. Heb. 10:7).
The word “search” (Greek ereunao) means to search diligently. The origins of the word come from the idea of an animal following the scent of prey. When you search the scriptures, follow the scent of blood. The blood of the Old Testament sacrifices will lead you to the cross of Christ where Jesus shed His blood for our redemption (e.g. Gal. 3:24). Jesus leaves His scent throughout the word of God. If your focus in studying God’s word is on something or someone other than Jesus, you’re searching in vain.
40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
This really is the reason people go unsaved. They “are not willing to come to Me [Jesus] that you may have life. The issue is not one of lack of evidence. The Father literally spoke and did miracles as a sign of who Jesus was and is. And people still chose not to follow Jesus. The same is true in our day. It’s not a matter of a lack of evidence that keeps people from repenting of their sin and following Jesus as Savior. It is a matter of making a willful choice to remain in sin, sinful lifestyles, rather than follow Jesus. It is a matter of willful ignorance and willful rebellious refusal to surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord. No one will go to hell because God did not give ample opportunity to avoid that destiny. Everyone in hell eternally will be there as a matter of choice. And that sinful decision, that sinful choice of their dark destiny will be a source of eternal regret for them.
Sometimes people are “unwilling to come to” Jesus. They close their mind and heart to Jesus. Sometimes those who study God’s word do that. And that is very sad. They belittle Jesus and demythologize the Word that speaks of Him. And in the process they turn away from the scent of His blood and the light of His revelation. They end up lost forever. Always ask when you go to the word, “What does this tell me about Jesus? How does this bring me closer to Him?” Those questions are at the heart of all meaningful and successful Bible study.
41 “I do not receive honor from men.
Jesus did not seek the approval or attention of people. His prime directive, His sole priority was what His Father thought about what He was doing. And later Jesus will be able to testify in prayer to the Father that His life completed the mission the Father had given Him and brought glory to the Father (John 17:4).
42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
Love believes all things and hopes all things. Love gives people a fair hearing (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4-8). But Jesus’ accusers were envious of Him and looked to find fault with Him in order to keep Him from supplanting their positions of influence.
43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
Jesus came in His Father’s name; walking as the Father would walk in righteousness. They rejected Jesus though He lived holy before them. They were only interested in people who come in their “own name.” If you reject Jesus, you make yourself vulnerable to charlatans and false teachers. The ultimate example of this would be Antichrist (cf. 2 Thess. 2).
44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
Jesus lived to point people to the Father and to honor Him. Those who were criticizing Jesus were more concerned with the approval they received from each other than being honoring to “the only God.” They had lost touch with God. They were living as though God didn’t exist or didn’t care. They may have spoken of God, but they didn’t live in His presence. If they did they would have recognized Jesus (5:42).
Jesus came as a manifestation of the love of God (John 13:1; Rom. 5:8). These religious leaders did “not have the love of God in” them (5:42).
Do you live to honor the Father? That was the key to Jesus joy. One commentary provides a suggestion on how to answer that question and the value of addressing it when it states:
Here’s a simple experiment: Go through the next twenty-four hours saying, “I want to be a reflection of the Father in every conversation, in every encounter. I’m going to depend on the Father, making no decisions without prayer. My security is in the Father. I’m going to believe He loves me because He proved it on Calvary. I’m going to be in harmony with the Father, just doing what I see Him do. I will be submitted to the Father, doing nothing on the basis of my own will. My validation will come only from the Father. I won’t be fishing for compliments, or looking for approval from men. My only concern will be about the Father—not what the world says about me, not what my friends think of me, but only how the Father sees me. I will be silent before the Father, resting in the sufficiency and potency of His Word.”
Fellow adventurers on this spiritual pilgrimage, if you try this tomorrow, you will find tomorrow to be the most successful, wonderful, powerful, fruitful day of your life. My prayer is that some of us might make such a discovery and be set free from agendas, vision, and even ministry—to live for the Father and for Him only.
45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
There are some who teach that Jews do not have to accept the message of the gospel of Christ in order to get into heaven. They say there is a separate way for the Jew as opposed to the Christian. But there is only one way to get into heaven and in heaven there will be only one group not separate groups. Jesus is that way. And it is those who bow the knee and confess with tongue Jesus as Lord who will be in heaven (cf. Phil. 2). He will point this out over and over again. Jesus brings Jew and Gentile together in His gospel (cf. Eph. 2:11ff.). This is the “mystery” revealed in the New Testament; Jew and Gentile united in Christ in His church (cf. Eph. 3).
Moses is the most revered figure in Judaism. Therefore Jesus goes right to the root of his opponent’s basis for rejecting Him as Messiah. Jesus says it isn’t Him who accuses the Jews it is the very one, Moses, “in whom you trust” (5:45). Jesus clearly states, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (5:46). By saying this Jesus is pointing to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible as a source of evidence in support of Himself as Messiah.
In Hebrews it states that the “volume of the book,” the Bible, is all about Jesus (Heb. 10:7). There is a singular salvation thread from Genesis to Revelation and Jesus is at the heart of that revelation. The Old Testament points to Jesus in so many ways: In the sacrificial system (cf. Exodus and Leviticus as explained in Hebrews) and in Old Testament prophecy (e.g. Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:24-27). But Jesus mentions specifically Moses; the most revered figure in Judaism, as a prime source that identifies who He is (5:46).
Where specifically does Moses speak of Jesus? Here are some examples of references to Jesus in the Pentateuch:
1. Jesus is the "Seed" that crushes the serpent's head. This is the first allusion to the good news of the gospel in the Bible and is referred to as the proto-evangelium (Ge. 3:15).
2. The sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham illustrates the Fathers sacrifice of Jesus (Gen. 22; Rom. 8:32; Heb. 11:17-19).
3. Jesus was unjustly treated by His brothers just as Joseph was and just like Joseph Jesus is our Deliverer (Gen. 37-50 and Romans 11).
4. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (cf. Genesis 49:8ff as interpreted by Revelation 5:5).
5. Jesus is, the Passover Lamb who is the reason God could Passover the sins of Old Testament saints until He actually paid off the penalty for sin on the cross (Exodus 12 and Rom. 3:25; Gal. 3:10-13).
6. Jesus is the Lamb of God that came to take away the sins of the world just as foretold by the Old Testament sacrificial lambs on the Day of Atonement (John 1:29 and Lev. 16).
7. Jesus shed blood cleanses us from sin as foretold in the Old Testament that states without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22 and 1 Peter 1:18-19). “Blood” is mentioned 157 times in the Pentateuch.
8. Jesus is the Bread from heaven as foretold in the manna God provided His people in the wilderness (John 6:51 and Exodus 16).
9. Jesus is the living water that quenches our spiritual thirst like the water that came from the rock struck by Moses (Ex. 17:1-7 and Num.20:1-12; John 7:37; 1 Cor. 10:1-13).
10. Jesus died “once for all” on the cross just as the rock needed to be struck only once by Moses for water to come from it. And Moses, when he struck the rock more than once, was severely punished for ruining this type of Christ (Ex. 17:1-7 and Num. 20:1-12; Heb. 7:27; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18)
11. Jesus, like the snake in the wilderness, was lifted up that whoever looks on Him in faith would be delivered from the curse of sin and death (John 3:14-15; Num. 21:4-9).
12. Jesus is the One Moses said God would raise up as "a prophet like me" (Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus fulfills the role of “prophet” like Moses, while fulfilling the deeper fuller incarnation of God in the flesh (e.g. John 1). Jesus’ prophetic role is only one aspect of His mission.
There are more references to Jesus in the writings of Moses. But these are a good sample. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is about Jesus, our Redeemer and Deliverer; the One in whom we must trust for eternal life whether Jew of non-Jew.
Jesus and abundant life; that is what we are learning about in this study of John’s gospel, and as we study this gospel and the life of Jesus we see focus on the Father is integral to the abundant life.
Clarke, Adam: Clarke's Commentary: John. electronic ed. Albany, OR : Ages Software, 1999 (Logos Library System; Clarke's Commentaries), S. Jn 5:1
Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 478
Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 474
Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 474
Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 476
Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 477