John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Week Six: Discourse—Does Jesus Himself Claim to Be Divine? (Link to John 5:18-47)
Main Point: 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.
A Dramatic Scene
A GRAND miracle has just been performed—Jesus suddenly and completely heals a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. The man picks up his sick-bed mat and carries it off.
“Wow!! Awesome!! Praise God!! We’ve never seen or heard anything like this in our whole lives!! Who is this man who did this healing?”
Wrong!—The religious leaders said, “You both picked the wrong day of the week for your dramatic little display. We are the keepers of the law, and it is against our law for anyone to heal, lift, and carry on the Sabbath. You are both sinners.”
Jesus: “Ah, but you are wrong. My Father and I are One, and we hold ultimate authority over the Sabbath. We created the Sabbath, not as a set of picayune laws to trip people up, but as a day of rest to help people weary from their labors.
“I want to help you to understand and believe, so listen to me.”
Part One: If it quacks like a duck…
ESV John 5:18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly, truly, I say to 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 as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
It is possible for a son or daughter to share many physical and personality traits with their parent. This is because they share one-half of a complete set of genes. That’s a lot of genes for two people to have in common!
Nevertheless, parent and child are independent of each other in many ways, especially their thought life, their speech, and most importantly, their will (their center of volition, their driving force.)
When Jesus states in verse 19, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord,” he is not describing a shortcoming in himself. Rather, he is saying that there is nothing in the Son that is independent of the Father. They share everything, even their will. Christ is purely, exactly like his Father. And because this is so, they are One.
Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Three strands of thought intertwine in Jesus’ discourse above.
1. The Son possesses all the Father possesses and does not possess any trait or quality, apart from his human nature, which the Father does not also possess. This indicates that Father and Son are identical (vss 18-20).
A limited analogy might be human fathers and sons, in which the father openly shows the son all he does—his garage and office, his hobbies, his work, his philosophies and ethic, and so on. As the son grows and matures, he displays his identity as his father’s son by taking on for himself many characteristics of his father.
2. Just as God has life in himself and the power of life over death, so the Son has life in himself and power of life over death (vss 21, 25-26). And, as the Father makes sovereign choices in matters of life versus death, so does the Son (vss 21, 24-26, 28-29).
3. God has given the final judgment to his Son (vss 22, 24, 27-30).
Part Two: The Witnesses
John 5:31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.
32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.
35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
36 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.
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
41 I do not receive glory from people.
42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
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.
46 For if 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 Presents His Five Witnesses
1. Jesus Himself (vs 31).
I know that my testimony is true, because I know who my Father is and where I come from. Nevertheless, if I were the only witness to myself, you might not believe me. Therefore…
2. God the Father (vss 32, 36-38)
- He sent me (John 3:2).
- His voice, which you have not heard, has identified me (John 1:33-34; Mark 1:10-11).
- He commissioned me for these works as his ambassador (John 3:2).
- He sent the prophets and gave them the Scripture (Luke 24:26-27).
3. John the Baptist (vss 33-35)
I don’t need John’s testimony, as I have plenty of divine testimony, which is far stronger. John the Baptist was sent for you, as a herald to announce my coming and to prepare the soil for the good seed. As regards John the Baptist, you are like the seed that fell on stony ground (Luke 8:5-6).
4. Jesus’ Signs and Miracles (vs 36)
These were given to me by God my Father, and none could perform these miracles without his endorsement (John 3:2).
5. Scripture and the Prophets (39-40, 45-46)
The Scripture and prophets all speak of me, especially Moses, whom you adore and on whom you place your trust. I don’t need to condemn you at the final judgment—Moses will condemn you by the words he spoke about me, which you neither believed nor received (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Jesus Accuses His Accusers (37-47)
1. They do not know the Father (vs 37).
2. God’s Word does not abide in them (vs 38, 43).
3. They do not believe the One whom God sent (vs 38).
4. Their hearts are hard (vs 40).
5. The love of God is not in them (vs 42).
6. They refuse to receive the One God sent (# 3 above, vss 38, 43), yet they will receive another who comes in his own name (promoting his own glory and not having endorsement from God).
7. They seek and receive glory from the wrong places (vs 44).
8. They neither understand nor believe their hero, Moses (vss 45-46).
9. They misunderstand the basics (vs 47).
Link to Outline: Gospel of John