John 5:15-47

 

“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.  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.  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.  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.  Verily, virily, 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 given 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 [cf. 1 Corinthians 15:49-56] and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” [Greek: krisis, more accurately translated, decision.  So this resurrection is a resurrection to decision, not damnation, which is a very poor translation.]  [Comment:  Verses 28-29, starting with the word “Marvel” is one of the two standard Bible proofs that there are only two major resurrections back to life prophecied in the Bible.  This one is a direct quote from Jesus. The other is found in Daniel 12:1-3.]  “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.  Ye sent unto to John, and he bore 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.  [Comment: The Israelites heard the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, on Mount Sinai, and both Moses and Elijah saw his shape.  So guess who Jesus is?  You saw in John 1:1-13.  Now he will reveal himself further as we go through John’s Gospel.]  And ye have not his word abiding 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 honour 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 honour one of another, and seek not the honour 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?”  (John 5:15-47)

 

Who is this Jesus, anyway?  Some say he was just a good man, a good teacher

 

“We are in John chapter 5, so if you can turn in your Bibles to John chapter 5.  If you are visiting this morning for the first time, it’s a real privilege to have you here with us.  And in some cases there are seats before you where there are little cards….but if you’d like to fill out one of those cards, just give us some information about yourself, that would be great, we won’t harass you, we won’t send you solicitations and things like that in the mail….[or if you’re here today reading this transcript, be sure to sign the Guestbook].  So if you’d like, it’s there for you, to do that.  John chapter 5, we left off with verse 16 last week as we’ve been going through the Gospel of John.  I’ve shared this story before, but when I was at Caterpillar as a engineer in San Diego before I moved here, I challenged some of the other engineers I worked with to test the Bible, and to see in fact if it was the Word of God.  Some of them were checking out different religions and I would challenge them, ‘Check out the Word of God, check out Jesus Christ. Test the Scriptures.’  At times some of the guys, we’d sit down and have Bible studies, and we’d go through the book of John, and we would ask the question, I’d challenge them to ask the question, ‘Is there any question that you have as we study this?  And let’s see if we can come up with some answers as we study the Word.’  And I would ask that and challenge them to ask any questions, because I believe this is the Word of God, and I believe it stands the test.  You can ask any question.  Certainly there are mysteries with God [and certainly, concerning secondary teachings within the Word of God, there are misunderstandings, or differing interpretations which the various denominations have, which in no way hinder one’s salvation for belief one way or the other.  These differing secondary belief interpretations will be cleared up after the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.]  But this is real, it stands the test.  So let’s dig in, as I would challenge the engineers.  And with that, if it’s real, they began to see ‘Yes, this is real and it stands the test’, then of course you’re responsible for the message.  And I would see at times some folks, some engineers make decisions for Christ.  So the Word of God, we get the opportunity to study it, because it is real, and to test it this morning.  Maybe you come this morning as a skeptic.  But I challenge you to be open and to test it.  And maybe there are other arguments you have heard, other supposed experts, but look at it all, and check all the information, you’ll be amazed to see how this stands the test and indeed is the Word of God.  That’s not true of other writings that are part of other religious systems, that’s not true.  A lot of them you really have to put your blinders on.  A lot of them you can’t test, because there’s really nothing to test, just philosophical.  That’s certainly not true of other writings, such as the Book of Mormon, in the religion of Mormonism.  I don’t want to point the finger at anybody, but just as an example.  I’m going to quote to you about the Book of Mormon, I’m going to quote to you from Walter Martin from his book “Kingdom of the Cults” as he writes or includes a letter, part of a letter written from the anthropology department at Columbia University about the Book of Mormons.  There was an inquiry made by a Rev. Brown of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  He asked about the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and this is the response that he gets from Columbia University.  “Dear Sir, pardon my delay in answering your letter of January 14th, 1957” (this is a little while ago).  “The question which you asked concerning the Book of Mormon is one that comes up quite frequently.  However, I may say that I do not believe that there’s a single thing of value concerning the pre-history of the American Indian in the Book of Mormon, and I believe that the great majority of American archeologists would agree with me.  The book is untrue Biblically, historically, and scientifically.”  So you can test the Book of Mormon, and when you do you find that there’s a lot of inaccuracies, a lot of, historically it just doesn’t stand the test.  There are many other organizations that would stand up and say the same, including the Smithsonian Institute in DC, just refuting that this is not a historical document.  It claims to be, but there’s absolutely zero evidence of these great civilizations that supposedly once existed here in North America and in Central America. [The early Church had a lot of trouble with “other writings of other religious systems” that were trying to infiltrate the early Church, even near the end of John’s life, when this Gospel was written.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html.] But that’s not true of the Bible, there have been people that have criticized it historically, and in time the archeological spade proves that what was said in the Bible that’s claimed to be history is indeed true.  Even the last thing we studied in the beginning of chapter 5, with this pool at Bethesda I mentioned last week.  Back in 1888 Schick discovered these twin pools north of the temple mount near the Fortress Antonio, and one of them is believed, and it certainly fits the description of what we have here in the beginning of John chapter 5, this pool at Bethesda.  But for a time there, there were some that would say ‘Hey, the Bible isn’t accurate, this pool, we’ve never found it.  Where does it exist?’  The city of Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, and yet there was enough ruins there to prove that this pool indeed existed.  So, this morning, like the engineers at Caterpillar, we have a privilege of studying, considering the claims of the Bible here in the Gospel of John.  And what exactly are these claims, and what does John seek to prove anyway?  Let’s remember John chapter 20, verse 31, we talked about this before, but he says this is his purpose in writing [the Gospel of John].  “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  This is why he writes, that we would believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that we would believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he’s God the Son, he’s God-man.  But also, the result of believing is that we all would experience life.  So as John is compiling and quoting  about Jesus in things that he has said, he has this purpose in mind.  And as he does this, as Jesus even states things himself, he proves, seeks to prove, of course he proves it very clearly, the claims of Jesus himself, that Jesus is the Son of God.  And the evidence that he gives first of all, is the evidence of what Jesus presently does, back in this time, but also even now.  The evidence that he gives is also evidence of what Jesus will some day do in the future.  And then, thirdly, he gives four different significant sources, witnesses, that give clear evidence that Jesus, he claimed to be the Son of God, therefore he is the Son of God.  And these significant sources that he refers to is John the Baptist, then the works of Christ as a source in themselves, God the Father, and of course the Bible in it’s entirety [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm].   So you’re here this morning.  Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God?  Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?  If you don’t, then consider the text that we have before us.  And I would encourage you again to test it, because it is the Word of God, and if it is the Word of God, then certainly you’re responsible, you’re foolish if you don’t then respond and abide by the teaching that is here, that is for sure.  So, let’s say a word of prayer and we’ll begin with verse 16.  ‘Lord I thank you for the opportunity again that we have to study your Word.  And I thank you Holy Spirit that even now you’re working in the hearts and minds of all those of us that are gathered here, and I would ask as folks are listening in [or reading this online] that you Holy Spirit would be upon us, upon even myself as I share your Word, and open our eyes all the more to who you are Jesus.  Some of us have been walking with you for years, and we believe in you, but yet all the more you want to teach us more about you, that we can just see the wonder of your awesome power and your love and your grace, and we can walk in that realization.  But some of us are here this morning, and we’ve been skeptics, and we’ve never even made a decision in our heart to follow you, because we’ve doubted and we’ve discredited, or as we’ll even see in the Word, we’re not willing to accept you and follow you.  Well I ask Holy Spirit, you’d work on all our hearts again and give us light.  And we ask you these things in Jesus name, amen.’

 

Jesus tells them who he is

 

Verses 16-23, “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.  But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’  Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath [in there eyes, not in reality], but also said that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.  And 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.  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.  For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom he will.  For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 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.’”  Well, you see very clearly here, and even in this text, the Bible claims that Jesus is the Son of God, that he is God the Son, that he is both God and he’s both man.  And no one else has ever been able to make such a claim and been able to back it up, that’s for sure.  Now as John compiles information here, and gives us these things that have happened, these things that Jesus has said, it’s in response, as you see, Jesus has just healed a man, and in healing a man he’s upset the religious leaders because it took place on the sabbath.  So as he compiles what he does, in what he compiles, he also sticks to his purpose.  And again that is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that by believing you and I will experience life in his name.  Well as the Son of God, he healed a man, as we studied last week, a man that had been lame for 38 years.  Just a tremendous miracle.  I can’t do that of myself.  I can’t heal somebody that’s been paralyzed for 38 years.  But Jesus has done that.  Nothing certainly short of an amazing miracle.  And of course, Jesus, as we go on, and we’ve already seen, he performs other miracles.  And it causes people to wonder, ‘Who is this man?’ that he can do such things.  That he can take a man that’s paralyzed, that’s lame and say ‘Get up and walk and carry your mat’, and he does exactly that.  But sadly in even more recent history there have been people that respect Jesus’ teaching, respect him as a man, but will not accept Jesus has performed miracles, that Jesus when he was here on earth did just that, and that Jesus does that even today.  There are people that are skeptical of that.  They say ‘I like Jesus, he’s a great teacher, but man, doing miracles?’  They come up with all sorts of explanations.  I don’t know what they do with this one, this lame man, how they come up with a reasonable explanation to kind of write away how Jesus didn’t perform a miracle.  Some will say, ‘Maybe he pretended to do it, I don’t know, maybe it was all just a show.’  But they try to come up with reasons, and they therefore try to discredit the miracles.  But if you’re honest with the evidence, without any doubt, if you just look at even history.  And maybe you’re here as a skeptic.  Just check out the historical data, it’s clear, even in a lot of secular officials, people like that, not Christians historically, believe that Jesus did miracles, and wrote about it, historians say that Jesus did perform miracles.  And we’re going to talk about that a little bit more as we go.  But that just validated also that he was and is the Son of God.  It’s amazing, though, in this case as you see in verses 16 and 17, and then before that, as you remember last week, that these religious leaders, these Jews, Jesus does this miracle, this incredible work of compassion, and yet they’re critical of him.  In fact, they’re angry of him, they persecute him, and they want to kill him.  It’s amazing that they want to do that.  Their hearts are so blinded because of their traditions, because of their own religious system [which had departed far, far away from the religious system God had set up through Moses].  They’re threatened by Jesus.  So because they’re threatened by him, they actually want to persecute him and they want to kill him.  But they ignore the fact that he’s just helped somebody, a man that was paralyzed, and he raised him up.  I mean, they ignore that.  They overlook that, this incredible miracle.  And they’re bothered by the simple fact that he’s done it on the sabbath day.  That according to their codified tradition, they’ve taken God’s Law [as given to Moses] and they’ve codified it and expanded upon it, and their interpretation of what God has said, because he’s broken their tradition, they’re so angry they actually want to threaten and kill him.  And that was true then, and it’s true now.  In fact, Paul writes about this in Galatians chapter 4, about the law, about those that are religious, those that have their own little religious system, being threatened by the life of the Spirit.  Galatians chapter 4, verse 29, “But as he who was born according to the flesh, then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.”  Maybe you’ve had that experience this week, walking in the Spirit, enjoying Jesus, and there’s people around you that say, ‘How can you listen to that music?  That’s a sin.’  Or ‘How can you be part of that?’ when you’re just worshipping and enjoying your Lord.  But they’re caught into a tradition, they’re blinded by a religious system, a legal code, rather than seeing the work and grace of God.  Well, it was true of Jesus and it’s true now. 

 

“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working”, that is to say, ‘I am equal with God’

 

Well Jesus responds to their threats in verse 17 in an interesting way.  And it doesn’t make things any better, as you see.  In fact they get even more bent out of shape.  He says “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working”.  Now what is he saying when he says that?  They’re upset that he’s done a work on the sabbath.  And essentially what Jesus says is ‘God the Father keeps on working, he continues to work, and I just do what he does.  I do that same thing, he’s been working all along, and I’ve been working all along.’  And do you think for a moment God the Father would stop working?  Do you think for a moment he would take off a day?’  I mean, just consider the implication if God the Father stopped working for a day.  And he does that, and I’m just doing what he does as God the Son, and you’re all bent out of shape.  But just imagine if God stopped for a day and just kind of went somewhere else.  He can’t really go anywhere else, he’s a spirit everywhere, but just imagine if he just stopped working for a day.  We’d be in big trouble.  Especially if you consider Colossians, that Jesus is this cosmic glue holding us [and all matter] together, man, we’d blow up, that’s what would happen, if Jesus or God the Father stopped working.  Of course, he rested from his creating, but he continues to preserve, he continues to govern the creation, and nothing exists at this moment without the continual energy of God working.  [Physics 101:  The protons in the nucleus of every single atom in existence are held together within the nucleus by some un-measurable, un-seeable, undetectable force nicknamed “gluons” by physicists.  This force is undoubtedly God acting through his omnipresent Holy Spirit, holding all matter together via this “gluonic” force we cannot see or detect.  We can only detect what “it” is doing.]  So, their logic is backwards, that’s for sure.  In fact, you could say that men themselves are not able to maintain, are not able to keep the Sabbath without the power of God.  [And coming from a prior Torah-observant Sabbatarian Church of God, we learned this very quickly.  Without God’s indwelling Holy Spirit empowering our Sabbath obedience, it was a sham.  Now we had a good number of Holy Spirit indwelt and inspired believers that did keep both the letter and spirit of the seventh day Sabbath.  But most, if not all would agree, it was God in us enabling our observance, making the Sabbath a joy, and not a work, per se.]  In fact, they’re not able to breathe, and live, and therefore keep the Sabbath.  [now this pastor just took that a little bit too far.  But he is a Gentile Christian, with the outlook of a Gentile Christian.]  So, the fact is, that God has been working all along.  And it’s interesting furthermore to consider the British writer, George McDonald, his point, that Jesus’ miracles were often a quick concise version of something that God was doing all along very slowly.  Like in the next chapter, Jesus is going to take food and he’s going to multiply that, very quickly.  But God the Father, every day, is multiplying food.  You go to a grain field, you go to a wheat field, there’s continuous multiplication taking place, slowly, but it’s happening.  It’s happening on the Sabbath also, it’s happening every single day.  God is taking food and he is multiplying food.  So what Jesus does is essentially the same thing, he just does is quickly, instantly.  [Physics 101: In what physicists call the Big Bang, the whole entire universe, with all matter, were created in one instant blinding flash out of what was not matter, out of nothing.  That is why so very few physicists are true atheists at this point in time, they know better.]  And yet they’re, they look beyond his work and his compassion, and they’re all hung up because of this tradition, this religious belief system that they have.  Well, with the words and response of Jesus here, the Jews, now it says in verse 18, all the more want to kill him.  Because not only has he broken [their interpretation of] the sabbath, but also by saying the God was his Father he’s claimed that he’s equal with God.  He didn’t say God our Father, as they would say, he said “that God my Father”.  They understand, in their system of belief, that he is saying, which he is, that he’s equal to the Father.  Now with that, they’re really all the more angry, and they want to kill him because he’s equated himself to God.  So, right here, it’s very clear---right?---we just get started in this study, Jesus is claiming to be equal with God.  He claims very clearly throughout this New Testament, throughout the Gospels to be equal with God, to be God the Son, there’s no doubt about it.  Now there are people, there are other supposed Christian groups, and I do not believe they’re Christian groups, who will say that Jesus is not God, and that he never claimed to be God.  [John, when he was writing this Gospel along with 1st John 1-5, was combating two major heresies, Adoptionism and Gnosticism.  Adoptionists claimed that Jesus was not the Christ, but only a super-good human being, whom the Holy Spirit made into the Christ at his baptism, and then just before he died, the Holy Spirit, the “Christ-presence” left him to die as an ordinary human.  That is why John is repeating the very words of Jesus Christ, and his actions, to refute these heresies that were coming into the early Judeo-Christian Church, Satan’s attempt to try to destroy the Church before it could really get going.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html.  Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, all are a form of this Adoptionist heresy John is writing to refute.  And John, the apostle John lived with Jesus of Nazareth very closely for the three and a half years of his ministry on earth.  Who better would know these things?  Who would you believe, the heretics and what they said about Jesus, or John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples?  A couple Mormon’s came up to my door the other day, and right away I asked them, “You don’t believe Jesus was and is God, but just a good man.  Right?”  And they answered, “Yes, that is correct.”  I then said, “Well according to the Word of God, and the apostle John, Jesus is God, so then you two must be heretics, and I have nothing further to say to you.”  They turned and left immediately.]  But right here, he’s claiming as we go on, his audience at this time sees very clearly, he is claiming to be God, so they’re upset.  And it’s interesting, he doesn’t try to, you know, if they were mistaken in their understanding, he doesn’t try to correct their misunderstanding.  But they are correct in their understanding, so he goes on.  And what he goes on to do is actually, he seeks to defend and validate what he’s just said.  So for those that say and have the Scriptures and maybe are trying to change the Scriptures, and say “Now Jesus isn’t claiming to be God”, how would you read what we just read there???  [laughter]  I mean, the very audience that was there, and you have to consider that, that data, he claims to be God.  So, then as has been said historically, he’s either a lunatic, or he’s a liar, you got three possibilities, or he’s God the Son himself.  And that’s one of three options.  You don’t have the option of saying ‘Well, he’s a pretty cool guy’, because he’s either a lunatic, or a liar, or he’s God the Son.  Well they understood his claims, and he doesn’t seek to in any way to straighten out a misunderstanding, he just goes on to defend his claim.  And at other times, they understand, at other times too, that he claims to be God the Son.  John chapter 10, verse 33, “They say [K.Js. “The Jews answered him….”], for a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, because you being a man, make yourself God.”  And then in John chapter 19, they say “We have a law, and according to our law” as they seek of course to have him crucified, “we have a law, according to our law he ought to die because he made himself the Son of God”, meaning God the Son.  So clearly, clearly, they understood that he claimed to be God the Son.

 

Before Abraham was, I am

 

[Comment:  I can’t wait till we get to John 8, so I’ll give it to you here, who Jesus Christ really is, as penned by the apostle John.  John chapter 8, verse 56-59, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”  Now who is I am?  Turn now to Exodus 3:13-14, “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name?  what shall I say unto them?  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”  The God of the Old Testament, the very one who led Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness for 40 years, and who spoke face to face with Moses in the tent of meeting, and on Mount Sinai, Yahweh, the Great I AM, is none other than Jesus Christ!  Now are we beginning to see what John saw and recorded, as he recorded Jesus’ own words?]  Well, Thomas Schulz with that in mind, writing about Jesus claim to be God said “Not one recognized religious leader, not Moses, not Paul, not Buddha, not Mohammed, nor Confucius has ever claimed to be God, that is without the exception of Jesus Christ.  Christ is the only major religious leader whose ever claimed to be deity, and the only individual whose ever convinced a great portion of the world that he is God.”  Well there’s something to consider, right there.  He claimed to be God, and a lot of people historically throughout the centuries have believed indeed he is God.  Well with that, he now defends himself, defends his claim, by citing evidence, beginning with the things that he presently does.

 

Jesus does the works that only God can do

 

He says ‘The things that I do, I do what the Father does, I’m just doing what he is doing.  I see what he does, and I just go and do the same thing.’  So starts with this evidence of what he does.  That that, in and of itself, proves that he’s God the Son.  Now in verse 19, he says “Most assuredly” or “Verily, verily” if you have the King James Version, that’s something he does twenty times in the Gospel of John, and it’s this statement of emphasis, where he’s saying “Verily, verily”, “Listen closely, it’s real important what I’m going to say, it’s vital to you that you hear this, and that you understand this.”  So he says “Most assuredly”, “Verily, verily” [King James language meaning “Truly, truly”] and he goes on and says “The Son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do, for what he does, the Son also does in like manner.”  So, essentially, like father, like son.  ‘Like Father, capital F, like Son, capital S, as he does, I do.’  The very things that Jesus does proves his claim that he’s the Son of God [i.e. the healing miracles], because he’s doing the works of God himself, and you can’t do the works of God, all the works of God, unless you’re God also.  [cf. Isaiah 35:4-6a defines the works of God, “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.  Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy…”  These are the works of God, prophesied to take place at the 2nd coming of Jesus.  As we have seen, Jesus is Yahweh, and the works of Yahweh are spelled out quite plainly in Isaiah 35 here.  What have we seen Jesus do so far?  Keep this verse in mind, for he goes on to heal the blind, and even lepers.  He just healed a paralytic, a lame person who couldn’t walk to save his life.]  And the incredible works and miracles of God, if you do all of those, as he is saying, then you must be God also.  Now, interesting, by saying this, he’s also reasoning with them that this man that he’s healed on the Sabbath, ultimately God is the one, God the Father is the one that’s done this work.  He’s the one ultimately responsible for healing that lame man.  So if it’s wrong, then they’re saying that God the Father has sinned, is what he’s, using that reasoning, ‘I’m doing what he does, and I did that because he does.  What you’re saying then, as Jesus is pointing out, is that God the Father has done wrong, and certainly he does not do wrong.  Well I like this picture as a Christian, today, as a follower of Jesus Christ today, the Son watching the Father, the Son doing what the Father does, and that’s really a great plan for you and I as believers here this morning, is to watch Jesus, watch him in his Word, watch him in the Gospels, watch the way he lives, watch him as we pray in the Spirit, and consider what he does, and then go with that same plan.  ‘Jesus, what you do, is what I want to do.’  And maybe I can’t do all those miracles [only God can], but in the same heart, in the same manner, as you go, I want to go today.  [Internationally, how is Jesus going forth through Christians?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/missionstatement.htm for a glimpse into international evangelism.]  Today as I leave this church, what you want to do, what you do Jesus, is what I want to do.  That’ll keep you out of a lot of trouble.  That will keep you right where you need to be, if that’s your perspective, Jesus what you do.  You know, that old bracelet, ‘What would Jesus do?’, WWJD or WDJD, What did Jesus do?, the cross, there dying on the cross, the example of what he did, now I go and I live the same way.  That’s a great plan.  That’s the way the Son walked this earth, and that’s a great plan for you and I.  It’ll keep us out of trouble, that’s for sure.  I mean, I leave tonight, turn on the TV, ‘What would Jesus look at?’, you know.  I get into conversations with other people, ‘what would Jesus say?’.  I have time on Friday night, ‘What would Jesus do?’, man keeps you out of trouble, that’s for sure.  But also, man it gives you a satisfying day, a satisfying experience.  You can be sure that when Jesus went to bed at night he was satisfied he had please the Father.  He had done the Father’s will.  So if I use the same approach, I can go to bed at night going ‘You know I didn’t live for myself, I’m not all guilty that I just pigged out at all these places, and just played these games, and I ignored my wife, and I shoot off my kids, I just did my fishing, whatever, and I get to bed going ‘Man, what did I accomplish today?’.  But instead I go to bed going ‘I really sought to do what you would have me do, I sought to do what you would do in and through me.’  And then you look back and Jesus has used you to minister to people, and you go to bed and you’re satisfied, rewarding life, great plan.  It’s simple really.  Just what would Jesus do, I think that says it pretty well. 

 

Jesus said we’d do greater works than he did

 

Well,  Jesus continues further, in verse 20 he says, “The Father loves the Son and shows him all things that he himself does, and will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”  Greater than taking a man whose been lame for 38 years and miraculously healing him and having him walk, greater works than even that.  And now compare that with John chapter 14, verse 12, it’s even more amazing to consider that when Jesus says in John chapter 14, verse 12, “Most assuredly,” again “Verily, verily, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.”  Maybe not all the works, but man, God wants to work through us.  And I look and read what Jesus did, and the lives that were touched through him, and he says “I want to work through you, in even greater ways.”  That’s mind boggling.  That’s intense.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/excerpts_isawjesus.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm to witness some of these greater works Jesus is doing in and through his own, and how you too can participate in these adventures.]  That says the Christian walk is an exciting walk, that’s for sure.  [And if you don’t think so, click on those two links and read them through entirely and try to say it isn’t an exciting walk!]  And, man, that’s an amazing truth.  I believe all those people we had up here before the service that are going to the Festival of Life, they’ll come back with stories, validating that.  They will say, “This is what God did, you won’t believe this, man.  We prayed, and then we went there, and this is what happened!  You wouldn’t believe the timing of all this, and, wow!  I actually met somebody, we had this natural connection, it was a God thing, that we would sit down on the subway together, that person of all people, next to me, me thinking what I was thinking, reading what I had read, and saying the things that I just said, amazing!”  And stories like this that God will do.  And lives will be touched, and lives will be transformed.  You know, each week there’s been these meetings for preparation in Manhattan for the Festival of Life, and I’ve been trying to go down to every other one, because we’ve been part of the planning for the Festival of Life [this denomination’s major local evangelistic outreach into various communities].  I’ve heard one comment, as a pastor in Brooklyn, he shared the story about Riker’s Island, this prison in New York City, has just opened it’s doors to the Festival of Life, there’s been so many things, but this is one little example, even recently within the last week or two.  This whole prison has been opened to us, they’ve essentially said ‘You can do whatever you want to do.’  And now in Riker’s Island, this big prison, there’s different overseers of different religious groups, there’s an Islamic Muslim leader, there’s you know the Buddhist leader, there’s the Christian leader.  But everyone said ‘Hey, the doors are wide open.’  So they’re actually going to do a barbeque in a prison, you know, put up the grills and give a barbeque to these guys and minister in many different ways.  But this is what the Muslim leader said, during a meeting, and they’re trying to get approval for all these things, and John really has it on his heart, we really want to have personal contact with these prisoners, sometimes if you’re in intense parts of these prisons, some of these guys have been in there for a long time, they’ve done outrageous crimes, you may not necessarily have personal contact with them, and a barbeque at times might be difficult.  Anyway, they’re sitting at the table, and this is what the Muslim leader says in the meeting to the officials that ultimately are going to make the decision, he says “These guys”, meaning the Festival of Life guys, “want personal contact with the men so they can tell them about Jesus and pray for them”.  He said that because he wanted to encourage the officials to let the Christians come in and tell these people about Jesus Christ and pray for them!  Now that’s a miracle!---that another religion would say ‘Man, open the door, these guys are coming to make converts’, that’s essentially what he was saying.  The Christian pastor was thinking ‘I didn’t even have to say it, God used the Muslim to say it.’  And how was the official going to deny, when an Islamic guy is saying for the Christian group, I mean there’s no way you can say ‘That’s not fair.’  The Islamic guy is saying that.  That’s just a little thing, but there’s so many stories, I mean I think they had three tractor-trailers, I think I mentioned that to you last week, but within a week or two ago they had three tractor-trailers of water, I think there’s thousands of bottled water, I mentioned all the candy bars, all the Bibles, millions of pieces of literature, doors opening.  In fact it’s possible, some significant leaders in our nation even in the City of New York and the State of New York may be at one of the meetings, and I won’t mention any names.  But just cool what God does.  Jesus said ‘I do these great works’ and then later he says to his disciples, he says ‘and as my followers, man the Holy Spirit, if he comes upon you in power, you won’t believe what he’s going to do in and through you.’  And we see examples of that in the Book of Acts.

 

Three keys of God

 

Verse 21, these works include, he says that he himself does, “As the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom he will.”  Now the Jewish perspective and understanding [back then], the Jews believed and taught that only God the Father could raise the dead.  Which is true, and God the Son, God.  They taught that Jehovah held three great keys, this is the teaching of the Jews at this time.  There were three keys, the key to open heaven and give rain, Deuteronomy chapter 28, the key to open the womb and give conception, Genesis 30, verse 22, and they also believed that he had the key to open the grave and raise the dead, Ezekiel chapter 37, verse 13.  [Comment:  Very interesting, all these “keys” are Biblical.  In fact, you will see in this very text today that Jesus himself says emphatically that there are only two major resurrections of the dead.  This resurrection the Jews referred to as the third key, in Ezekiel 37:1-14 is a massive physical resurrection back to life, where the Holy Spirit is then given to those individuals.  In Revelation 20:4,6 and verses 5, 11-12 these two major resurrections are mentioned.  Now we see here in Ezekiel this major resurrection prophecied, which has to be the second one mentioned in Revelation 20, the one back to physical life.  The doctrines of about heaven and hell are secondary to the Gospel of Salvation.  Maybe the Jews are aware of some things we aren’t so aware of.  The body of Christ has many differing beliefs about heaven and hell.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]  They believed he [God] had three great keys.  Jesus is saying that “one of those keys I also have.”  So again he’s claiming to be God to them, when he says that he’s doing the work of the Father, and they’re saying ‘You’re saying you’re God’, he doesn’t try to deny that, he just comes back and says ‘Indeed, I am God, I am God the Son, in fact I can raise the dead as he [God the Father] raises the dead.’  And that, to his audience, he’s saying to them in their perspective “I am God, I am God the Son.”  The Bible teaches it clearly.  Well as the Son of God, even today Jesus gives life to whom he will.  And he does it in this congregation [the pastor’s talking about spiritual life, being born-again, becoming indwelt with the Holy Spirit], maybe you’re come here today, man, and there’s no life in you spiritually speaking, but he wants to give you life.  He’s been doing it throughout history.  Especially to those who believe, he gives life to those who believe, as we’ve already noted in the book of John.  I think of a story of Sue Cxxx, and I’ve asked permission to share the story.  But it’s to me just a testimony of Jesus, how he gives life and ministers even to us, Sue….[tape switch-over, some text lost] she was going through her husband’s clothes, tough day to be doing that, she was doing different things, and got to his suit and there was a piece of paper that caught her eye in this suit, and she pulled out a piece of paper.  On this piece of paper was a passage of Scripture that he had evidently printed off a computer, and it was part of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that’s all that was on this piece of paper.  [He must have died]  Now understanding where she’s at, she opens this, there’s this Scripture, and then highlighted, the only thing highlighted with a highlighter to get your attention was 2nd Corinthians chapter 5, this verse “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”  A Scripture that she’s going through his clothes.  He’s not here.  But a Scripture he put in there, that God would work to say “I’m present with the Lord.”  And that’s what God does.  God the Father raises the dead, Jesus Christ raises the dead….and many of us when we die will be with him.  He also gives us abundant life now.  Just powerful, abundant, spiritual, true, life.  And if you’re here this morning without Jesus Christ, he wants to also give you life.  And you can have that life by putting your faith, by believing in Jesus, that he is indeed the Son of God. 

 

All judgment is committed to the Son

 

Verse 22, “The Father judges no one but has committed all judgment to the Son.”  Again, he’s defending that he’s the Son of God, because when he says this to his audience, these religious Jews, they understood, an Orthodox Jew, that Jehovah God was “judge of all the earth, Genesis 18:25, and no one dared take that title of judge of all the earth.”  He has just said, as God judges, “the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son”, he’s saying, again he’s claiming he’s God the Son, he’s God himself.  And as you study through the Scriptures, you get to passages like Matthew 25, what does that mean?, and study that sometime if you haven’t, where Jesus says ‘The Son of man will stand there and judge’, and there’ll be the goats and the sheep, and he’ll separate them.  It’s interesting, his standard of judgment is, really, it’s a statement of love.  If you really know God, then there’s love in your life, and it’ll be seen.  So he’ll say, you know, did you minister to the poor and needy and to the righteous he says ‘Come be with me because you have’, and they said ‘When did we do this?’  and he’ll say ‘When you did it to the least of these, you’re ministered to me.’  I kind of did that out of order, but you remember the passage, most of you.  [Cf. Matthew 25:31-46]  Well, Jesus claims very clearly to be the Son of God, and he says then in verse 23, we’re going to go into the judgment next, but he says ‘All should honor the Son as they honor the Father.’  And in that there is this sense of worship, ‘as you worship God the Father you should worship me’ he’s saying.  So he’s saying ‘I am God’.  When you get to the Book of Revelation, and indeed when you see God the Father is worshipped, you see “the Lamb that’s taken away the sin of the world”, God the Son, being worshipped.  And those that say we shouldn’t worship Jesus do not understand the teaching of the Scriptures in Jesus’ own words.  Indeed he is the Son of God.  He’s worthy therefore to be worshipped. 

 

“I’m the Judge of the world”

 

Verses 24-30, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death into life.  Most assuredly 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.  For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of man.  Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who done evil to the resurrection of condemnation [Greek: krisis, decision].  I can of myself do nothing, as I hear I judge.  My judgment is righteous because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.”   Clearly, clearly he’s saying “I am the judge”, he is saying that he is God, because this is only something that God can do.  And God the Father has given this authority to God that Son.  Well he continues to defend his claim.  Now he’s sited the things that he presently does, but he also now sites the things that he will do in the future.  And as we’ve already noted, mainly that of being judge, in the future, judge of the earth.  So as judge he says there in verse 24, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and he who believes in him who sent me, has everlasting life….” Therefore, as the judge, if you believe in me you’ll have everlasting life….  ”and shall not come into judgment” because he is the judge “but has passed from death into life..”  Again, if you’re here today without Jesus Christ, understand it’s that easy.  I mean, that’s it.  It’s to believe, truly believe, put your faith in Jesus Christ, and as you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will have everlasting life, and you’ll not be judged.  You’ll pass from death to life.  Now passed from death to life refers of course to spiritual life especially, but also you think of the Book of Revelation, verse 6 of chapter 20, saying that over the second death, the “second death has no power over those who are in Christ, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”  And then later in chapter 20, referring to those without Christ, then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death, and then it goes on to say ‘all those without Christ will be cast into the lake of fire, meaning eternal death, eternal separation from God.  Where as the judge and giver of life, Jesus says, verse 25, “Most assuredly 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.”  We see examples of those physically dead.  He goes on later in the Gospels, he resurrects a boy in a coffin, he speaks to him, a young girl, he speaks to her [and they both come back to life], and then he shouts “Lazarus, Come forth!” [and Lazarus comes back to life after four days in the grave].  But especially he’s referring to those that are spiritually dead, and were spiritually dead without Christ.  As Paul says in Ephesians chapter 5, “Therefore he says, ‘Awake you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’”  That is those without Christ, those without Christ are spiritually dead.  They’re separated from God.  And if we stay that way, and do not turn to him, the Bible teaches that we will experience the second death, which is to be thrown into the lake of fire, to be judged and under the wrath of God, and to be eternally separated from God.  Verse 27, I know we’re coming close to our time.  Jesus is the Judge, he’s given him authority to execute judgment because he is the “Son of man.”  Of course, in Daniel, that is a Messianic title that he uses there, “Son of man.”  So he’s the Savior, the Savior for those of us here today, who believe, and then in the future he will be the judge.

 

There are only two major resurrections

 

Verses 28-29, “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 [Greek krisis, decision].”   Verse 29, he says, “Don’t marvel at this, the hour is coming when all who are in there graves will hear his voice,” referring to those who are physically dead.  And they’ll come forth, some to the resurrection of life, and as we quoted that passage in Revelation, some to the resurrection of condemnation. [Comment:  “Condemnation” or in the King James the word “damnation” at the end of verse 29 is a very poor translation of this word.  Condemnation or damnation should instead be translated decision.  The Greek word used is krisis, which means decision.  As we saw before, the Jews have a belief that is quite Biblical, about those three keys that God has, and the third key is the key of death and life.  If that major resurrection back to physical life in Ezekiel 37:1-14---where in verses 12-13 God promises to put the Holy Spirit in those that are resurrected back to life---is coupled to the other major resurrection prophecied in Revelation 20:5,11-13, which this pastor skipped over, then a whole new meaning and interpretation has to be rendered toward this resurrection to krisis or decision.  Christians need to properly add to their New Testament understandings some of the proper Biblical understandings the Jews have about their own Old Testament.  In Revelation 20:5, 11-13, God says all the unsaved dead will be resurrected in a massive physical resurrection.  Most Christians then assume, by going right to the next verse, verse 14 of Revelation 20, that all those unsaved dead are then thrown into the lake of fire, without bothering to add inbetween verse 13 and 14 the verses of Ezekiel 37:1-14, which would alter the interpretation of Christianity about the “unsaved dead” radically.  The Jews know things we don’t about their Scriptures, and we know things they don’t about the New Testament Scriptures, and as a result of a natural animosity between the Jews and Christians, both seem to lack a basic and vital understanding of how the two major portions of the Bible should properly modify our interpretations.  This won’t really matter, because what we believe about hell, eternal death, the second death, will not effect our salvation one bit, it is secondary knowledge, as proved by the fact that many respected denominations differ widely on their interpretations about heaven, hell and eternal rewards.  If we, or even all Christendom is wrong on how they interpret Revelation 20 and the second death, that will be straightened out when Jesus comes back.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm for some unique insights.  One writer, a well-educated  Baptist businessman, attended a Reform Jewish synagogue’s Bible study for over four years, as they studied through the Torah.  He then wrote a book about the amazing revelations he came to understand from this wonderful Jewish Bible study.  His book is titled The Gospel According to Moses.  To order a copy, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/The%20Gospel%20According%20to%20Moses.htm ]  Those that will be raised to the resurrection of life, to have eternal life, are those who have done good.  And to the resurrection of condemnation, those who have done evil.  Now this isn’t teaching that we are saved by what we do, if you’re a good person then you’re saved, and if you’re a bad person you’re not.  Very clearly the rest of Scriptures show us you’ve done good because Christ is in you.  You only can do true good if the Holy Spirit is doing it through you.  That is the only way.  But John chapter 6, verse 29, Jesus said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him who was sent’, that’s the only work we’re to do is to believe [and a lot of that belief, or faith also comes from the Holy Spirit].  And then in Ephesians Paul says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  So it’s not the works that save me, but the works of the fruit of salvation [i.e. the fruit of the Holy Spirit].  That is what he is referring to here.  So when somebody who is not in Christ professes to be in Christ, if there isn’t the works, then there’s a problem.  But if Christ is in me, there will be the works, very clearly, because the Holy Spirit is working.  “I can do nothing of myself” he says in verse 30, “as I hear I judge, and my judgment is righteous.”  “I do not seek my own will”, he says, “but the will of the Father who sent me.  And that is true of every day of his life.  He did the will of the Father, and we see in Luke chapter 22, verse 42 especially, he says “Father if it is your will” there before the cross in the garden there, knowing the cross is before him, “Father if it is your will, take this cup away from me, nevertheless not my will but your will be done.”  Let’s read to the end of the chapter, and we’ll note these four witnesses that prove the claim of Christ.

 

Jesus gives four witnesses that prove his Messiahship

 

“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.”  So he’s speaking, he’s defending himself.  And of course, understanding the Judaic teaching, there needed to be two or three witnesses.  So he goes on.  There’s a bunch of witnesses.  But here’s a few.  “There’s another who bears witness of me, and I know that the witness of which he witnesses of me is true.  You have sent to John, and he has born witness to the truth.  He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.  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.  And the Father himself who sent me has testified of me.  You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.  [Comment:  Right here, Jesus has just identified himself as Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament.  Both Moses and Elijah saw God’s form, and heard his voice.  So this I AM, Yahweh, must have been the pre-existent Jesus Christ, the Logos, Word, and not God the Father.]  But you do not have his word abiding in you, because whom he sent, him you do not believe.  You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me.H

  But you’re not willing to come to me that ye may have life.  I do not receive honor from men, but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.  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.  How can you believe who receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?  Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father, there is one who accuses you, Moses, in whom you trust.  For if you’d believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words.”  (verses 31-47)  Well he continues to defend his claims, and he sites the evidence of four significant sources of witness.  But he says “If I bear witness of myself, the witness is not true.”  Numbers chapter 35 and Deuteronomy chapter 17 show that there needs to be multiple witnesses, and certainly in this instance.  And he understood that rabbinical understanding. 

1. Witness of John the Baptist:  So he goes on and he sites four significant witnesses, beginning with John the Baptist in verse 35.  “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.”  He came in darkness and shared and pointed to the light, and gave light.  Initially, as you see here, it says “You were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.”  So he says clearly that as even these religious leaders, they enjoyed his light for a season, the popularity, maybe the way he was, some of the things that he said.  But in time, obviously, they began to hate him.  But they enjoyed his light.  And he [John the Baptist] just pointed to Jesus.  Clearly he said “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  They were attracted initially to that light, sort of like bugs that come to a light, and then are burnt by the light, you know.  That’s sort of their experience.  And I think of my screen door, you know we live on a hill and there’s country, woods around us.  And if I leave on the little front door light, man, you come in at night, in fact, sometimes you inhale these little critters, and you swallow some of these little critters [laughter], and it’s quite the little experience, you open that door as quick as you can to get through it, because they’re just all over because of that light.  And then they’re all over the ceiling when you come in, and they go all over our house.  So, they were like that, they were attracted to the light, but in the end they didn’t believe in the light.  But light is good, light is good, we rejoice in the light, light in our lives.  Light is important.  I know just recently I was at home on a Friday night, my wife was at a Bible study, and our power went out.  And as it went out, with my three children, I appreciate at that moment especially, I appreciated light.  Where we lived there were no street lights, you couldn’t see a thing.  So, we were looking around for candles, trying to find candles, and we didn’t have any matches, so they didn’t do us any good.  [laughter]  Thought of the Boy Scout thing, my son even asked me about it, you know, ‘How do you do that Boy Scout thing?’   No matches, found two flashlights, needed D batteries, only had C batteries, that’s all we had, so put C batteries in, had some dim light.  So my kids clung to me because of the darkness.  In fact, they go to bed earlier than I do, but I had to go to bed with them, we had to sleep in the same room because they were scared of the dark.  There wasn’t much light.  But it is kind of different when there’s no light at all.  So they rejoiced in the light.  Light is good, light in your life is good.  Light in my life, in my home is good, especially spiritual light, the life and light that Jesus Christ gives.  And John was this burning and shining light, and as Christians when we leave, may we all the more be a burning and shining light, that is for sure. 

2.  Witness of Jesus’ works:  Well the next significant witness, he notes, is his works.  We’ve talked about that.  But the very things he did, and I just want to quote to you from Josephus, Josephus, possibly not a Christian, but a Jewish historian.  Not necessarily was a Christian, but was a secular, a Jewish historian, he writes about Christ and his claims.  Josephus, born in AD 37, was employed by the Roman government, and later he became close friends of two emperors, Vespacian and Titus.  But he writes in “The Book of the Antiquities of the Jews”, book 18, chapter 3, this is what he says about Jesus, this is a Jewish scholar, historian at that time.  “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man.  For he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure, he drew over to him many Jews and also many of the Greeks.  This man was the Christ.  And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, upon his impeachment by the principle man among us, those who had loved from the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive on the third day.  The divine prophets having spoken these and the thousands of other wonderful things about him, and even now the race of Christians so named from him has not died out.”  That’s Josephus, writing in that time, about this man, ‘Can you even call him a man?’  He did wonderful works [cf. Isaiah 35:4-6a].  So Jesus says that.  The truth is a part of history, he did these works.  And the works themselves, John will write about seven works, seven signs.  We saw the first one in chapter 2, water being turned to wine.  We saw in chapter 4, the nobleman’s son being healed, then we saw in chapter 5, the lame man at Bethesda, and the next chapter the feeding of the 5,000, the chapter after that, Jesus will walk on water and calm the storm.  Chapter 9 he will heal a blind man, in chapter 11 he will raise Lazarus, seven signs in the first half of this book that John shows and gives to prove Jesus is the Messiah.  He gives those to prove that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.  And then he gives an 8th sign, which he focuses on in the 2nd half of the book, the entire second half, and that is the sign that Jesus rose from the dead, the greatest sign. 

3.  Witness of God the Father:  Well, the next significant witness, verse 32 and verse 37 is the Father himself.  Clearly at times the Father said, and people even heard it at times, “This is my beloved Son, this is my beloved Son”.  The Father gave clear evidence, testified himself that Jesus was the Son.  And when he says what he says there in verse 37, “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time”, he especially is referring to the Spirit of God.  [Comment: That last sentence is debatable.  Jesus may be referring to the fact that nobody had seen or heard God the Father, in any form, before this time when Jesus arrived on earth.  I personally lean to the interpretation that nobody up to the time of Jesus’ arrival on earth had seen or heard God the Father.]  And you’re here this morning, and maybe you’re without Christ, and the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.  Do you hear the Holy Spirit?  Not Steve himself, not me, but do you hear God speaking to your heart?---speaking to you, Jesus revealing himself to you?  Saying, “Turn to me, I am the Son of God, I have come to give you life, life abundantly.” 

4.  Witness of the Scriptures:  Well, as we come to the end of our time, the last witness is the Bible, the Word of God.  But real sadly, in verse 39, he says ‘You guys search the Scriptures, man you know every dot and tittle, but you miss the whole meaning of it.  You’re looking to it for your own religious system, for your own religious purposes, but you miss the message, and the message of the Word of God.  He says, “For in them you think you have eternal life, and they testify of me.”  And later, Jesus will be walking with some men in Luke chapter 24, verse 27, and from Moses and all the prophets he’ll expound the Scriptures to them and show them.  Indeed, the volume of the Book, he said to them in another place, the volume of the Book has spoken of me.  We know that some have said that Jesus fulfilled 300 prophecies, prophecies of the Messiah, he came and fulfilled them.  [To see many of those prophecies, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm.]  And the chance of somebody fulfilling only 8 prophecies, the chance of that is one in ten to the 17th power.  Put a decimal point and 17 zeros going to the right, and then a one [0.00000000000000001], basically impossible to fulfill 8 prophecies.  He fulfilled all 300.  And that’s the historical truth.  And it’s clear, we have, we’ve found discoveries of these parchments that have the very words in them before Christ [the Isaiah Dead Sea Scrolls], even secular people will say ‘This existed before.’  And he came and did these very things.  But he says in verse 40, this is all the evidence, you’ve heard all the evidence, but he says “You’re not willing to come to me, that you might have life.”  That really is the deal.  It isn’t that God has to prove himself, Jesus has to prove these things, the real bottom line is people aren’t willing to look at the proof.  When you’re willing, you come.  When you want to have life, when there’s humility and not pride and you want to know God, you’re willing.  But he says ‘You’re not willing.’  And because they’ve not received the Word and truth, then received God, he says “They don’t have the love of God in them.” (verse 42)  And that’s proof, man.  When the love of God is in you, love for God, passion for God, love for others, that’s proof that you know Christ.  “Don’t think”, he says, “I accuse you” (that’s like in the sense of a courtroom) he says, ‘for he who wrote about me is even Moses.’  ‘Moses whom you esteem, he spoke about me’, passages like Deuteronomy 18, verse 18 and others clearly point to Jesus Christ.  Well let’s close in prayer.  [transcript of a sermon on John 5:16-47, given somewhere in New England.]