Honor the Son, Honor the Father

John 5:21-23.

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.

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The Jewish leaders must have been enraged by Jesus’ words in this passage, in which He schools them about exactly Who He is.

First, Jesus uses the work of resurrection as an example of the shared work of the Father and the Son. The Pharisees didn’t want to acknowledge the power of Jesus in the miracle of healing, but instead focused on His breaking the sabbath. But the mighty power of Jesus had not yet been fully demonstrated. He said He had the same power as God to raise the dead, to “quicken” (bring to life) those who had died. That power is the ultimate demonstration of the sovereignty of God, Who has ultimate power over life and death. “So do I,” Jesus is saying here. The same power as the Father. It is also important to note that Jesus did not need to seek the Father’s permission to heal, or to receive the power to resurrect the dead. He already had it, as being equal with God.

in verse 22, Jesus states that God is not the judge of man because He has given that responsibility to Jesus. A division of power, if you will. On judgment day, mankind will stand before Jesus Christ to answer for their unbelief.

Even during His time on earth, Jesus was something of a judge of humanity. Simply being in His presence caused people to know, “I’m not like Him.” They came in multitudes just to hear Him teach. They asked Him for miracles, knowing and believing that He could give them their requests if He so chose. This was not just another Rabbi. He was different from all the other pseudo-messiahs that had appeared down through the ages.

The Father gave the power of judgment to the Son so that people would honor The Son as they did the Father. To fail to honor the Son is to fail to honor the Father Who sent Him.

I’ve been thinking about that verse this week in relation to my pastor’s sermon on taking God’s Name in vain. We have made the mention of Jesus Christ a politically incorrect behavior. We use His Name (I’m speaking of American culture in general here; not all of us are guilty!) in jokes, we use it with utter disregard that when we disdain the Name of Jesus, we are disdaining God Himself. To disrespect the Name of Jesus is to disrespect God.

We really need to get our thinking straight, get our hearts straight, and never, as self-proclaimed Christians, use the Name of Jesus in a dishonorable way.

The Father Loveth the Son

John 5: 19-20

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

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In these next few verses, scholars tell us that the language Jesus used was completely Rabbinic: That is, He took the stance and attitude of a Master, a religious authority, as He lectured His accusers, explaining to them His relationship with the Father as the Son of God,

The Son can do nothing of HImself: This statement speaks of the complete submission of Jesus to His Father. His submission was not coerced or forced upon Him against His will. It was completely His choice, out of love for the Father, to submit Himself to the Father. Therefore, His healing of the lame man on the sabbath was the will of the Father.

Jesus continues, in v. 19, to explain that His work was a perfect reflection of the work and will of God the Father. Jesus showed us exactly what the work and will of God is. His meaning is clear that He and the Father are in complete accord; that when Jesus came to earth, He did not cease to be God. The personality of Jesus Christ was the personality of God the Father.

Too often, we tend to separate the two. We see the God of the old Testament as judging, righteous, a God of war. Jesus, in the New Testament, was loving and willing to sacrifice Himself for man. However, this is wrong thinking. God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son are one and the same. We should not fail to see the immense love of God, His grace and His faithfulness, in the Old Testament. He was incredibly patient in His dealings with the Jews, warning them time after time, giving them every chance to repent of their sin and return to Him. And after they had been disciplined, He restored them over and over again. Jesus was a reflection of the Father; the Father was reflected by the Son.

The Father loves the Son: The verb tense denotes a continuing habitual love; the Father never ceases to love the Son.

He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel: It is quite tempting here to use a grammatically incorrect American idiom –“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” The Jewish leaders were shocked at the sabbath healing; even more appalled at Jesus’ command to the healed man to do WORK on the sabbath!

Jesus said to them that there were even greater things coming that God would reveal to them through the Son.

A Day of Rest

I’m so interested in what we’re studying in the book of John right now that I hesitate to leave it even for a day, never mind two! But I’ve had a rough couple of days, physically, and my body is aching and weary. I think I’m going back to bed in a little while, and that’s probably where I’ll spend most of my day.

Getting older comes with a whole host of physical challenges that I never even thought about before.

I hope you, also, are enjoying this study in John. I’ve read the book many times, but never to teach it on a verse-by-verse scale. It’s a huge blessing to me. Every word that Jesus speaks is purposeful and profound.

This is a challenge: Every word! So many of the words we speak are anything BUT purposeful and profound.

Now I realize that God does not expect us to go around with folded hands and long, sad faces. There is nothing wrong with laughter. After all, a merry heart does good like a medicine ( Prov. 17:22). We just need to make sure the things we’re laughing at are not inappropriate, and not hurtful to others.

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6). This is certainly a challenge for me. I have a very fast mouth. That’s nothing to be proud of. When one has a fast mouth, things come pouring out that really ought not, need not, be said at all. Has it improved over time? Yes, I think so. I hope so. I’ll be so glad when I get to heaven and God gives me a new body, including a sanctified mind and mouth!

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Well, this has turned into a ramble that I wasn’t planning to write–but that’s okay. Sometimes I just have to start typing, and let God take over.

My Father Works

John 5:17-18.

But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

¶Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

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It is important to clarify that not all the Jews were looking for an excuse to kill Jesus. It was the Jews in religious leadership who wanted Him gone.

Perhaps you will remember from yesterday’s post that the Jewish religious leaders had confronted Jesus for doing work on the sabbath, first in healing the lame man, and then in telling him to take up his bed and walk, thereby causing him to break the sabbath, as well.

This time, Jesus faced His accusers. I believe He was calm, reserved, and polite. What He said, however, raised their blood pressure!

He said, “My Father continues to work, and therefore I, also, continue to work.”

Remember that God’s admonition to keep the sabbath holy, to rest as God rested on one day out of the seven days of Creation, is instructed in Exodus 20. God “rested” on the seventh day, in that His works of creation were complete. However, He did not rest from supervising and watching over His creation, leaving the universe to its own devices every seventh day.

The lengths to which the Pharisees and other leaders took the ban on working resulted in some rather strange rules.

For instance, in Deuteronomy 23:12-14 God tells Israel to practice good sanitation when their armies are camped. Ancient rabbis applied the same principle to the city of Jerusalem, which they regarded as “the camp of the Lord.” When this was combined with Sabbath travel restrictions, it resulted in a prohibition against going to the bathroom on the Sabbath.

I wonder how that worked out for them.

The Jewish leaders weren’t thinking about such mundane things at this moment, though. What really caught their attention, and set them on fire, was Jesus’ clear identification of Himself as the Son of God, the Father. Everything else went out of their heads for a while as they furiously turned on Him for making such a blasphemous, heretical claim.

He made Himself equal to, the same as, God!

Sin No More

John 5: 14-16.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

¶The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

¶And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day.

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Afterward. . . .we don’t know if it was later that same day, or later in the week. We do know that the healed man was at the temple, and Jesus knew that. Jesus wanted to admonish the man to go about his business, and to avoid sin in order to avoid more trouble in his body.

Some believe that Jesus’ words here indicate that the man’s illness was brought on by his dissipation. Perhaps, but I’m wary of assuming that is always the case. If it were so, we would all be lame, diseased, crippled, blind–for no one is without sin.

Jesus told the man to “sin no more.” Does that mean it is possible to live a sinless life? No. Believing we can do that on our own power leads to all kinds of self-righteousness, which is also sin. What Jesus was telling him was that he should stay away from whatever he was doing that brought him to such straits in the first place, because if he went back to it he would reap much worse consequences than he already had.

It’s possible, although this is only my opinion, that the man struggled with being tempted back into whatever he had been doing before. Don’t we all have those sometimes not-so-secret sins that we have to guard against all the time? In Proverbs 20:27 we read, “The spirit (conscience) of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”

The first time I really saw this verse, it had such an impact on my life! That nagging sense of wrongdoing is God shining a light on the hidden corners of the heart, revealing to us where sin is waiting in the darkness for its opportunity to creep out like a snake out of its den, seeking to pull us into doing what we know can destroy us.

The man went to the Jewish leaders and told them, “It was Jesus who healed me!” Was he informing on Jesus? Ratting Him out, guilty of the same sin as Judas Iscariot? No, there is no indication in the scripture that his motives were evil. Remember, these leaders were respected and honored. I don’t believe the man had any idea of their real motives.

Jesus did, though, and He was ready for them.

How did they “persecute” Him? I don’t know. Perhaps the persecution was in the form of their accusations, and the threat of death (!) because He had healed on the sabbath. These types of men managed to show up wherever Jesus was, spying on Him, arguing with Him, accusing Him. Always looking for a valid reason to demand His death.

He was, most importantly, a threat to their authority and position of prestige among the Jewish people. He had to go!

Jesus Conveyed Himself Away

John 5:12-13.

Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?

And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place.

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There is, of course, no painting that can accurately picture Jesus as He “conveyed Himself away.” A reading of several texts and resources interpret this as that he simply removed Himself from the situation and melted into the crowd. I’m certainly not an expert in Greek, so I researched the meaning of the word according to Strong’s numbers, and here’s what I found:

ἐκνεύω: 1 aorist ἐξένευσα;
1. to bend to one side (τῇ κεφαλῇ, Xenophon, ven. 10, 12).
2. to take oneself away, withdrawJohn 5:13, where Chrysostom says that ἐξένευσε is equivalent to ἐξέκλινε; but others derive the form from ἐκνέω, which see (Sept. for סוּר, Judges 4:18 Alex.; פָּנָה, to turn oneself, Judges 18:26 Alex.; 2 Kings 2:242 Kings 23:16; [add 3 Macc. 3:22; Josephus, Antiquities 7, 4, 2]. In secular authors also transitively, to avoid a thing; as τὰ βέλη, Diodorus 15, 87; πληγήν, ibid. 17, 100.)

It seems in the simplest sense of the word, that He just disappeared among the crowd and slipped away.

Backing up a bit, the Pharisees had asked the healed man, “Who is that man that told you to pick up your bed and walk?” Oh, they could almost taste thevictory! They finally had something they had all observed, along with the “multitudes” of people who were there. Jesus had healed on the sabbath (Crime #1) and then commanded the healed man to do work on the sabbath (Crime #2). I can almost hear them thinking, “Gotcha!”

But they couldn’t find Him. He slipped away, took Himself away from the situation. Why? Why didn’t He stay and rebuke the Pharisees?

It wasn’t His time for that yet. There was still work to be done as He paved the way to Golgotha. Also, and I could be wrong here, there was a huge crowd that had witnessed the healing miracle, and maybe Jesus disappeared because it was not His intention to heal the whole multitude.

There is, very shortly after this event, a confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. We’ll take a look at the beginning of that situation tomorrow.