|17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been
working until now, and I have been working."
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
1. (verse 18) What does this verse teach us about the deity of Christ?
Even though some liberal theologians like to maintain that Christ never claimed deity for himself, passages like this clearly contradict that view. In verse 18 we see the Jews understood his claim to deity. It is sometimes difficult for us to understand how Jesus could be both God and man, but our limited understanding does not change eternal truths. Some things we must simply accept on faith knowing that we cannot possibly understand everything about the Creator of the universe or the Redeemer of our souls.
19 Then 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.
20 "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.
21 "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
22 "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 "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."
2. (verse 23) Can someone come to God without coming to Christ? How can we honor God with our life?
There are many people who believe that as long as people are sincere in their beliefs, God will somehow overlook it. But verse 23 makes it very clear that if we dont honor the Son, we dont honor the Father. There is a real tendency in American society for Christians in a community setting to speak about God instead of Jesus. The reason for this is most people believe in some kind of God and therefore wont be offended by the term. But when we use the term Jesus we are specifically narrowing our beliefs (or our prayer) to Christianity. Even some ministers get caught up in this trap. But the only pathway to God is through Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-34 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Unbelievers dont like to hear the name of Christ proclaimed.
24 "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.
25 "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.
26 "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
27 "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man."
3. (verse 25) Who are the dead that Jesus is talking about?
This passage presents problems with interpretation especially in the light of the next verse, verse 28. Probably the correct interpretation is that Christ came to bring life to man. In verse 24 Jesus is talking about eternal life and says that he who believes passes from death unto life. So when he makes the statement in verse 25 about the dead hearing the voice of God, it probably is referring to spiritual life and death. However, this verse could also refer to the fact that Christ was the first-fruits of the resurrection. And, in fact, many in the grave did rise up at his crucifixion. Matthew 27:51-53 tells us, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." The term Jesus uses "the hour is coming" refers to time, not just an hour, as we saw in John 2:4.
28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 "and come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation."
4. (verse 28) Is there any difference between the dead in verse 28 and the ones in verse 25. If so, how do you know that Jesus is talking about two different groups?
These verses are referring to the final resurrection when men will be judged according to their works. The reason we can tell the difference is in the previous section Jesus says "the hour is coming and now is," whereas here he says "the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice." The first is in the present, the second is in the future. This future resurrection is explained in Revelation 20:12-15, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
30 "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
31 "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.
32 "There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true."
5. (verse 32) Who is the one who bears witness of Christ? Why does Christ need a witness to testify of him?
Verse 30 is a fascinating verse. It shows us that Christ has a different will than God the Father. He says, "I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me." Obviously Jesus must have a will to not seek, and it is different from the Fathers. So even though we know that God and Christ are one, yet we see that they are also unique from each other.
John is the one who bore witness of Christ in the human realm, but well see from verse 36 that there is a greater witness. That witness is the works of God that Christ was doing.
33 "You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth."
6. (verse 33) Who witnessed to you about Christ? Name two people that you should be witnessing to this week.
When I was 8 years old, there were two people that witnessed to me. One was my Mom who when I was sick would spend hours with me praying for me and trusting God. The other is an older lady named Miss Seay. She would come to our trailer park each Saturday and have a Childrens Bible School. It was at one of those meetings that I gave my heart to Christ.
As we think about those who have witnessed to us, we need to also think of those to whom we should witness. There are so many needy people out there waiting for someone to tell them that God cares about their needs. Let us be witnesses for Christ just as John the Baptist was.
34 "Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
35 "He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light."
7. (verse 35) Why did Jesus call John the Baptist, "the burning and shining lamp"? What can you do to be more a light for the Lord?
John the Baptist stood for the truth and was willing to withstand the religious leaders to their face. We might say he was a controversial figure, but he was the one that God chose to prepare the way for the ministry of his son, the Messiah. If we want to be a light to the world and a shining beacon, we need to be willing to take a stand for the Lord.
36 "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.
37 "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
38 "But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe."
8. (verse 38) Who is Jesus describing that dont have Gods word abiding in them?
Jesus is addressing the Jewish leaders. These were the religious rulers, and yet he says that they dont have Gods word abiding in them. How many Christians and even ministers are there that Christ would say they dont have Gods word in them? Let us make sure we have the word of God planted deep in our heart. Let us read the Bible, let us study, and let us allow the Holy Spirit to teach us.
39 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me."
9. (verse 39) How important is studying the Bible? Where in your schedule could you make more time for studying Gods word?
What a condemnation! The Jews searched the scriptures, but they missed the truth. There is more to godliness than reading the Bible we must also understand it. This will only come through diligent study and waiting on the Lord to minister his wisdom to us. We make time in our lives for the things that we consider important. How important is learning Gods word? Let us learn to discipline ourselves to read and study his word. I have learned that the more we read and study the Bible, the more grounded in the faith we become. Even those times when we have difficulty understanding what the scriptures are saying, we are growing spiritually. Eventually, the clouds lift and our understanding is enlightened, but this sometimes takes time. Dont worry if there are some confusing parts of the Bible. Pray that God will help you. Learning about God and his word is a process. It takes time and patience.
40 "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
41 "I do not receive honor from men.
42 "But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
43 "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.
44 "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?"
10. (verse 44) Do you think Americans today honor each other more than they honor God? Why do you think people do this? What can you do to honor God?
I am afraid that many people spend more time talking about their favorite sports team or their favorite television show than they spend talking about God. We need to honor God in all areas of our life. We can understand if unbelievers dont wish to honor God, but shouldnt Christians honor him? Let us honor him in our life, our family, our church, and our work. May everything be done for his glory. May we give God all the praise as we serve him in humility.
45 "Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you Moses, in whom you trust.
46 "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.
47 "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
11. (verse 45) How does Moses accuse the Jewish leaders?
Throughout the Old Testament are prophecies of the coming Messiah. The whole typology of the sacrificial system was fulfilled in the sacrifice of Christ. Anyone reading the Old Testament scriptures would be looking for Gods Messiah. The Jewish leaders read the scripture, but they didnt really believe them. When Jesus referred to Moses, he was referring to the books of Moses which were the first 5 books of the Bible. There are many scriptures that talk about the future ruler in these first 5 books. Here are two of them. Deuteronomy 18:15, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." Numbers 24:17, "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel...."
This study on John 5:17-47 © 1998 by David Humpal. All Rights Reserved.
Matthew 10:32-34 from the King James Version
Matthew 27:51-53 from the King James Version
Revelation 20:12-15 from the King James Version