Saturday, July 28, 2007



The Fifth chapter of John is concerned almost entirely with the question of how a person can know that Jesus is God!. We live in an age today where news is being reported right as it happens. Instead of having to tune into the evening news to find out what happened in the world today, we can turn on the news at any time of day or night and find out, in many cases, just what’s going on right now. Areas of our society that for years have been off-limits to the television news crews are now appearing in our living rooms with increasing regularity. One of these areas has been the courtroom. In days past, we saw sketches by courtroom artists, but today we’re often looking at the plaintiffs and defendants themselves. This last week we have witnessed something a little different. We have not even gotten to court yet, and the terrorist charges laid against the Queensland Dr, detained terror suspect Mohamed Haneef have already been laid out to the world. There have been claims and counter claims against the Australian Federal Police in their manner of gathering evidence. At least, when its done in court, you know you are going to get most of the evidence laid out, and not just one side of the arguments.
I was struck by the thought, actually wondering, is everyone hearing the evidence concerning the claims that Jesus has made? After all, in John 5 alone, Jesus has claimed to be equal with God (verse 18), to be the giver of eternal life (verse 24), to be the source of life (verse 26), and to be the one who judges sin (verse 27); all claims showing that He truly is the Son of God. If Jesus’ claims had to be heard in the televised courtroom of today, what evidence would He present? What witnesses would He call to testify on His behalf? I think our passage today shows us what His reaction would be … because throughout John 5, Jesus is dealing with His accusers, the Jewish religious leaders, in the open-air public arena — the 1st Century equivalent of today’s televised courtroom. And so we start by seeing the first witness Jesus calls in the defense of His claims is …
A. Truth As Testimony Consider the failure of the scientific method in the study of history. The war between modernism and post modernism. The solution is understanding history as testimony.
Reliability is dependant upon Authority, authenticity, and sincerity.
The issue is great because of Jesus’ claims about Himself. Here in John 5 Jesus claims:
THAT HE IS EQUAL WITH GOD John 5:19 Then Jesus replied, “• I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed. THEY’RE BOTH ONE SUBSTANCE This is one of the great truths of the faith. Many of the early church fathers were persecuted, exiled, and even killed over this claim. One of the great theological debase of the early church was over whether Jesus was the same substance (homoousias) with the Father or only a similar substance (homoiousias) with the Father. If Jesus was not one substance with the Father than He couldn’t be fully God and He couldn’t have taken the punishment for our sins on the cross. The only difference between these words is one letter “i”, the Greek letter iota. So the next time you hear the phrase “it doesn’t matter one iota,” remember that it does matter, for Jesus is one substance with the Father And if all of that wasn’t enough to send the legalists over the edge, Jesus wraps up talking about His relationship with the Father by saying …
THAT HE IS THE LIFEGIVER John 5:21 And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself.
THAT HE IS THE FINAL JUDGE John 5:22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. THEREFORE THEY’RE BOTH TO BE HONOURED. Therefore, to honor the Son is to honor the Father. As the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:10-11,“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
THAT HE DETERMINES EVERYONE’S DESTINY 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. THEREFORE THEY’RE BOTH TO BE BELIEVED. Notice in verse 24 that Jesus doesn’t say, “whoever hears My Word and believes it.” Nor does He say, “whoever hears the Word of God and believes it.” But rather He says, “whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life.” The Father and the Son are so much a unity that Jesus speaks of hearing what He says and believing the Father. In other words, what He says is what the Father says. He’s talking about believing what God says, really believing it, with all our hearts and all our minds.
THAT HE WILL RAISE THE DEAD 25 “I assure 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 just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment. Now these are pretty big orders. If someone walked up to you in the street and said, I am the Son of God, obey me from now on implicitly and worship me now as God” we would run away from Him. But this is what Jesus is saying! And we would want to know what the proof is for His claims. They wanted to know then, and we want to know now! “If Jesus Christ be God, and He died for me, then no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him”
Now the Lord Jesus lays it out for us how we are to know that He is God.
1. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of v. 31-35: JOHN THE BAPTIST — THE 1 ST WITNESS 1
As He starts, Jesus knows that the Old Testament Law requires that there always be two or three witness to establish the truth. Deuteronomy 19:15, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.”
Funny enough were it not written so, then our view of history could be very shakey.
And so Jesus calls as His first witness John the Baptist. He tells the Pharisees in verse 33 that “You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.” Jesus is reminding them that the testimony they heard from John the Baptist was, first of all, given at their own initiative. If you remember back to chapter one it was the Pharisees themselves who went to John to question him. John the Baptist was a witness who had been called to the stand by the other side and He was still faithfully testifying to the truth about Jesus Christ. Jesus is telling the Pharisees, “If you won’t believe me, at least believe John, whom you questioned.” And remember, John testified publicly, look at John 1:29 where it says, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” And then John said, John 1:34, “And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Jesus then goes on to remind the Pharisees that it isn’t Him who needs John’s testimony, but rather it is they who need to hear from John. 34, “Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.” He doesn’t need to accept any man’s testimony, but they sure do. They’re not only able to hear and understand what John said, but they also should accept and believe what he said, for it will lead them to salvation. Jesus says, “I say these things so that you may be saved.” What he was saying f was for their benefit!
If the Pharisees really been paying attention and listened to what John had said, then they would have been able to appreciate the truth and they would have started in the right way. That had, in fact, happened to some of the disciples. They’d been among the followers of John the Baptist and had obeyed him when he told them to follow Jesus. Now Jesus is questioning why these religious leaders hadn’t done the same.
Isa 40:2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of servitude is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. 4 Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity will see [it] together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Malachi 4:2 But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings,
5Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes.
2. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of v. 36:CHRIST’S OWN WORKS— THE 2 ND WITNESS
And here we see that the testimony of Christ’s own works is even greater than that of John the Baptist. What Christ does speaks volumes. And we know from Matthew 11 that it was this testimony that strengthened and encouraged John the Baptist when he was awaiting execution in prison. John was suffering in prison and so he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to verify that He was indeed the Messiah. Christ answered John’s concerns by testifying to His works. Matthew 11:4-6,“And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me."
After all, the work that Jesus is doing has been given to Him by God the Father, and, as verse 36 says, “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.”
Jesus says that He does only what He sees the Father doing. He does nothing by Himself, but works together with the Father. By His works, both His supernatural miracles and His ordinary actions, Jesus is proving to all those around Him that He is the One who has been sent by God. But the Jewish leaders don’t accept this now … and they won’t accept it later. In John 10, Jesus will get questioned again and, John 10:25, “Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name bear witness about Me.” The miracles.. funny enough, they don’t seem to do the job in causing conversion. In John 5 a healed man walks away from the Lord. In John 6 a whole crowd fed miraculously on 5 loaves and 2 fishes 5000, turn away! Miracles vindicate who Jesus was. He did the things none else could do. He fulfilled prophecies about Himself by doing these miracles. Isa 35: 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
3. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of Scripture v. 37-38: GOD THE FATHER — THE 3RD WITNESS He says that not only is He sent by God the Father, but that, verse 37, “the Father who sent Me has Himself borne witness about Me.” He then gives the Pharisees three challenges, all alluding to the Old Testament, which they would have known so well. In the first challenge, He says, ““His voice you have never heard.” He’s referring here to Moses, who heard God’s voice in Exodus 33. And Jesus is saying that while they haven’t heard God’s voice like Moses did, they have had the opportunity since then, as John 3:34says, “For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure.” Jesus Himself is speaking the very words of God, but they’re not listening.
In the second challenge, Jesus says, “His form you have never seen.” He’s referring here to Jacob, who saw God’s form in Genesis 32. Jesus is saying that while they haven’t seen God’s form like Jacob did, they have had the opportunity since then, as John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known.” Jesus Himself is the very manifestation of God in Human form.
And in the third challenge Jesus says, verse 38, “and you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe the One whom He has sent.” Here He’s probably referring to Joshua in Joshua 1 or possibly the Psalmist in Psalm 119, who both hid God’s Word in their hearts, meditating on it, learning not to sin against God, understanding that God’s blessing in their lives was dependent on the indwelling of God’s Word in their lives. Jesus is saying that they don’t have the Word of God in their hearts like Joshua or the Psalmist did, but they’ve had the opportunity since then, as Jesus Himself is the very Word of God, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” They, the Pharisees, who are acting as the prosecution, have just received a triple indictment from Jesus, who is the defendant. He’s letting them know that God the Father has given them ample evidence, but they haven’t heard God, they haven’t seen God, and they don’t have God’s Word because they don’t believe in Christ. Jesus is clearly challenging them that … You can’t believe and obey the
Jesus calls as His next witness the Scriptures themselves. He says to the Pharisees in verses 39-40, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me, 40yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” You study the Scriptures, you read them, you know them— And they testify about Christ. Still you refuse to come to Christ to receive that eternal life.
Romans 3:21-22,“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
Luke 24: 44 Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The Pharisees boast of how well they know the teachings of Scripture but they’re missing the Messiah to whom the Scriptures point.
5. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of v. 45-47:MOSES— THE 5 TH WITNESS
Jesus has now turned the tables on the Pharisees. He has gone from being what He is not —the Defendant —to being what He really is — the Judge. And the Pharisees are no longer the prosecution, but they have become the defendants. Jesus tells them, starting in verse 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. 46If 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?”
Jesus is telling them that they don’t have to worry about Jesus accusing them … because Moses, whose words they profess, will be their accuser. They should have believed Christ because Moses was writing about Christ. Moses was pointing to the Messiah. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, you can’t believe what I say. You don’t believe Moses; therefore, you don’t believe Christ.
And as John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” Unbelief inevitably leads to condemnation.
CONCLUSION: The Lord, the prosecutor stands and says, well here is the evidence that confirms the truth. The truth is Jesus is God and you should worship Him, but the truth is, you cannot handle the truth. You can’t cope with it! You are not big enough to respond to the truth. Its like that prosecutor in the movie: You can’t handle the truth!
The truth is God became a man and stepped into our world to save us, and to judge the world!
This same Jesus calls you today to believe in Him! The testimonies are in. he had made His claims! What are you going to do about it?
These Truths are propositional truths. They are true truths. They happened in history and they are unalterable. God became a man to die for our sins! Here are clear unequivocal truths. But if its so clear why don’t people become Christians? Its not intellectual problems that keep people from Christ, its moral problems.
These truths are truths to be personally received. But we don’t want to do that.
Our self will says no! john 5:40 And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Our pride says no! “I do not accept glory from men, 42 but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, yet you don’t accept Me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God.
Our self love says no! We don’t want to handle the truth, BUT WE MUST!
Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall— Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all:
Hearken! What meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?
Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?
Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny? Or will you scorn from His foes to fly?
Daring for Jesus to live or die? What will you do with Jesus?
"Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,
Gladly obeying Thee!" will you say: "This will I do with Jesus!"
Refrain: What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking, "What will He do with me?"

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