Lesson 42: Sermon on the Authority of the Son
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records This is lesson # 42. Welcome again! The text for this lesson comes from John 5:19-47. Jesus went to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. At a pool there called Bethesda, somewhere near the sheep market, Jesus healed a man that had an infirmity for 38 years. Our Lord simply told the man to take up his bed and walk. There's no indication the man had ANY expectation of being healed in this manner. V.13 said, "he that was healed wist not WHO it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away..." Almost immediately the healed man encountered Jews, no doubt Pharisees, who were up-set because this man carried his bed on the sabbath day. Whether these were the same Jews or wether there is any connection to the Pharisees in Galilee who were disgruntled over the sabbath doctrine about healing and picking grain on the sabbath and had made threats on Jesus, we don't know; but, very likely THERE WAS a connection since they would have been at the feast also. The Lord had told them, it WAS lawful to do good on the sabbath day. And He told them, "the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." (Mark 2:28). Not only did Jesus indicate the same thing at Jerusalem; but, the Jews became even more up-set (v.18 here in John ch. 5) and sought to kill Jesus because they said: "he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." Jesus answered their accusation, relating to His authority in this sermon, John 5:19-47. Let's read that sermon now Beginning in v.19, "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 showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these,that ye may marvel. 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 honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he give to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honor from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
The theme of this sermon breaks down very simply to this: Jesus, Who are you? What proof do we have that you are God's Son? Have you ever thought about that question? You see, Jesus recognized that his up-set Jewish brethren there needed to consider that question. First of all, observe this: Jesus did NOT back-off from the charge that He made himself equal with God. Rather, Jesus established that he is God. Yet, Jesus said this in such a way as to show the utmost respect to the Heavenly Father. He honored the Heavenly Father in every sentence. V.19-47, that we just read, of course is one connected speech; but, did you find any natural divisions in this sermon? How many proofs did Jesus give? In other words, what are the credentials of Christ? I suggest you turn the tape player off and re-read this again. Let's divide the sermon into two main parts. (#1) Begins in v.19 with the thought, "The Son can do nothing of himself..." From there Jesus stated and showed, first of all, his rightful relationship to the Heavenly Father. Then, following that; Jesus proceeded to set forth his relationship to man, the human family. (#2) The second main division begins in v.30 with the same identical thought as division one, "I can of mine own self do nothing." In the second division, Jesus gave five proofs that he was (and is) the messiah. We'll get to those; but, right now, put your eyes on v.19. What is Jesus' relationship to the Heavenly Father? First He gave a theorem, or principle, or formula: "The Son can do nothing of himself..." Then from there, Jesus pushed the Father-Son analogy to its limit. It is in truth a Father-Son relationship, for...for...for. In v. 19-20-21-22 Jesus listed four reasons. Each reasons began with the word "for", F-O-R. (#1) The first reason is in v.19, "for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise," i.e. the Father and the Son are ONE in purpose. Their goals are one-and-the-same. They ARE NOT competitive in mission as the Jews implied in their accusation at the end of v.18. O.K. reason (#2) For! (v.20), "For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things..." The point is THIS: NOT only are their goals and purpose the same; their efforts are inseparably coordinated together. So, v.19, "the Son can do nothing of himself." Then at the end of verse 20, in a round about way, Jesus called their attention to the great miracle that had been done in healing the impotent man, which these Jews had completely ignored. Jesus said, the Heavenly Father "will show...greater works than these, that ye may marvel." This of course had reference to Jesus' resurrection form the dead. If our assumption is correct that this was the passover of AD 31, then that occasion was exactly two years before Jesus arose from the dead. They would marvel then! O.K. reason (#3) For! (v.21) "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." The word quickeneth simply means to make alive or to re-sensitize. So, the point is that the powers of the Heavenly Father ARE ALSO exercised by the Son. You immediately think of the widow's son at Nain. But, there may be a kind of double play on words here; just as the Heavenly Father will raise the physically dead at the resurrection; Jesus is now bringing to spiritual life to those that are dead in sin. Now, reason (#4), FOR! (v.22), "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son..." And, this of course, connects back to v.19, "the Son can do nothing of himself." Thus, we can see that Jesus will not exercise judgment in an isolated way. But, those Jews and the world in general should be aware that Jesus will be active in the judgment process; just as he is active in the resurrection process. A very sobering thought. Have you ever wondered about the judgment? Take the time to associate this with the kingdom idea that Jesus emphasized in the sermon on the mount. I recall having a brief conversation with a black lady of a prominent denomination one day. In the course of our conversation, I said, "Yes, but what would Jesus think about so-and-so?" She said, "it doesn't make any difference what Jesus thinks, he's not going to be the judge!" I told her that the Bible teaches that Christ will be the judge. She ridiculed and scoffed at the idea that Jesus would be the judge. Her concept was that Jesus would have NOTHING to do with judgment. But, my friend, if this verse teaches anything; it teaches that Jesus Christ will be the Judge on judgment day. Jesus SAID IT HIMSELF. Jesus' relationship to the Heavenly Father is clearly established in these verses.
Then, using this as a springboard, Jesus launched into showing what this means to mankind (v.23). You CANNOT honor the Heavenly Father without honoring the Son; they are inseparably associated. "He that honoreth NOT the Son honoreth NOT the Father..." That's the last sentence in v.23. Then, just as critical to our understanding as this point: Jesus stated another principle in v.24; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life...", (that is) understanding this relationship and believing THIS relationship is critical to our salvation. It's everlasting life -vs- condemnation. This understanding, (that is) faith in this fact, is critical to passing from spiritual death unto spiritual life. That's the last point in v.24. Do you remember John 1:12? This understanding gives us the power-to-become a citizen in the kingdom of heaven. If I may deviate a moment, some of my denominational friends and neighbors are going to challenge my statements here and say that FAITH is ALL that is required in these verses to become a child of God, (that is) to enter the kingdom. And, they are right, in that, the emphasis HERE is on faith IN God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But, don't you ever lose sight of what Jesus told Satan in Matthew 4:4, "Man shall not LIVE by bread alone..." Now, John 5:24 is talking about LIVING, passing from death unto LIFE. What did Jesus say? "but by EVER WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." And, NOT ALL of God's words are spoken in John 5:24 or John 1:12. So, don't try to make these verses all of it! Because, it's NOT AIL of it! Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom..." Remember, those words proceeded out of the mouth of God, also. One is just as inspired as the other. We can't take what we like and disregard what we don't like. That would be a fatal mistake.
Now, review briefly! Jesus has been charged by the Jews up in v.18 as breaking the sabbath AND making himself equal with God. How did Jesus answer? "The Son can do nothing of himself...what things soever [the Father] doeth...also doeth the Son likewise." And Jesus gave four reasons why that was so. The conclusion was that the Father and the Son are inseparably associated. You can't honor one without the other. A very vital point to our understanding. Then in v.24, Jesus said this understanding is vital to passing from death to everlasting life. It is NECESSARY to being quickened or revitalized as a citizen in that coming kingdom. You see, Jesus was teaching, the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 4:17). That was Matthew's summary statement. It's two ways of saying the same thing.
Then, v.25 down through v.29 is a strong WARNING as to the result of our actions in relation to what Jesus has just said. "Verily, verily, I say unto you..." Did you ever hear that statement before? Do you remember the sermon on the mount? It hath been said thus-and-so in the old law; but, Isay unto you. Do you remember that? Look up in v.19 at the beginning of this sermon, "Verily, verily, I say unto you...", V.24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you..." and then v.25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you..." You see, it's Jesus' doctrine. It's Jesus' rules! It Jesus' law. What's the warning in v.25? "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." The kingdom of God is at hand! The hour is coming, you see. What'll
happen? "they that hear shall live.", (that is) they that OBEY Jesus shall live. Thus, the "dead" in v.25 has reference to the spiritually dead, you see. If they will hear the voice of Jesus, the Son of God, they shall live, (that is) enter the kingdom of life that was at hand. John taught it! Jesus taught it! The Bible teaches it! Where does that life come from? Look at v.26! AS, the Father hath LIFE in himself; SO HATH he given to the Son to have life in himself. Spiritual life is extend through Jesus. It goes back to the original theorem in v.19. Whatsoever the Father doeth; the Son doeth likewise. V.26 and 27 are one compound sentence. Two statements joined by "and", A-N-D. The first statement says, God gave Jesus to have spiritual life in himself, AND, the second statement says (v.27) AND "hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." (#1) Spiritual life comes through Jesus, "the Son quickeneth whom he will." (v.21). Then (#2) Jesus has authority to execute Judgment, "the Father...hath committed all judgment to the Son..." (v.22). You see, this summarized what had already been said. Now, v.28! DON'T BE DISMAYED! But, this spiritual life shall reach even beyond the grave.
Yea, our actions of obedience now, shall determine our destiny beyond the grave. Just as Jesus can quicken us into his spiritual kingdom here; He has the authority to execute judgment and quicken us into that heavenly realm at the judgment beyond the grave. How will it be? "They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; AND they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Pretty straight talk. A very pointed statement. Some will hear Jesus' voice and obey his commands and ultimately be? raised unto the resurrection of life, (that is) heaven. Some will do evil, (that is) they will NOT obey Jesus' voice; and, they will ultimately be resurrected also; but, they shall be resurrected to damnation (v.29). That's what Jesus said! He taught heaven for the righteous. He taught hell for the wicked. Jesus said He would be the Judge. And, Jesus said he had been give authority to execute judgment in v.27. Thus, in this sermon, Jesus described (#1) his relationship to the Heavenly Father, and (#2) He described our relationship to himself. We'll discuss the second division of Jesus' sermon in our next lesson. Until then, have a good day.