Highlight – John 5:36 – 47 – Jesus heals a lame man on the Sabbath and is confronted by the Jewish leaders. Jesus reveals his testimony comes from the Father and from the works that He does.
Explain – We find the first hostility that the Jewish leaders show to Jesus in the book of John because he healed a man on the Sabbath. Jesus heals a cripple man who had been in that condition for 38 years, telling him to rise up, take his mat and go. Ooooh, this was a no-no to the Jews. You don’t carry your mat on the Sabbath. And Jesus should use the other 6 days to heal. How hard hearted and blind they were to the truth. God’s law didn’t forbid such works as healing. The Jewish leaders of the day had added an endless list of prohibitions on the Sabbath – man made religious rules. Here Jesus is doing exactly what Isaiah (35:1-5) had promised Messiah would do in making the lame to walk, and the Jews are arguing over religion. Never mind a man has been set free after 38 years of lameness. They can’t see right before their eyes that Jesus is Messiah sent from God!
Jesus then said that He was merely doing the Father’s work. He declared He only did what He saw the Father doing. This threw the Jews into a whole new level of alarm and anger for they saw Jesus was claiming himself equal to be God – blaspemy! They couldn’t see the evidence in front of their faces, but could only see the LAWS. They had come to a place of really seeking the honor of men, and not the honor of God. They were filled with self-righteousness!
Jesus finally declares that He doesn’t need the testimony of any man for he has a greater witness: “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.” (John 5:36-7) Jesus declared that his works of healing, deliverance, freedom, and forgiveness were actually signs of the Father’s witness. The Father was testifying through Jesus’ life and ministry that He is indeed the Messiah. At Jesus’ baptism, the Father spoke blessing, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased”. The Holy Spirit also came and anointed Him. The Father fully testified to the life of Jesus at His baptism (1) by speaking His Word of blessing, (2) anointing Him with the Spirit, and (3) releasing Jesus into ministry to do the works He did – the signs of the Father. Surely Jesus had the full testimony of heaven, and eventually the greatest witness of the Father would be in raising His Son from the grave. Resurrection = Exclamation Point!!!
It is such a shame the religious leaders and Jews of the day missed it. They couldn’t see past their religiosity and personal piety to realize the Deity was in their midst. Jesus said they search the scriptures for life (rule keeping) but do not realize that they all point to Him. Scripture ultimately testifies to Jesus – salvation is found in this one man. (5:39-40). Jesus accused them of not having the word actually in them because they refused to believe the One scripture testifies to (v. 38), and they do not have the love of God in them for they have not received the very one the Father has sent (5:42-43). Important Points: We cannot fully abide in the Word and the Word in us unless we fully see and believe the Word is all about Jesus, leading us to Jesus. We also cannot know the love of God without fully believing and receiving the One the Father has sent to us. We receive the love of God only in and through the person of Jesus Christ.
They are guilty, and Jesus said it is not the Father who will accuse him, but it will be the great prophet Moses whom they adored. The leaders were not believing in the one Moses said was to come and prophesied about, and they were not obeying and applying the law according to Moses, but were compiling many more man made rules. They missed it completely.
Apply – Do I really believe that Jesus is enough, that He is all I will ever need? It is very human-like to seek to earn our way to God. We somehow think we must do better, try harder, prove our religious devotion in an effort to please God and let’s face it – look better than others. We play morality by comparison, we pick and choose what we think are the worst sins vs. acceptable ones, and we judge others who are not as “righteous” as us. It is death. We even think we must perform in order for God to use us greatly – to heal, to serve. It’s as if we are continually seeking to make a deals with God in order to improve our lot, our standing, our ministry.
We believe the Word fully when we believe Jesus was sent from the Father, and that the scriptures were always pointing to Him. The scriptures are given so we might find Jesus. We should come to the Word with a desire to see Jesus – “Jesus where are you? Holy Spirit, will you open my eyes to the Word and reveal Jesus to me?”
We encounter the love of God and are filled with the Loved of God when we open our hearts fully to the One the Father has sent – Jesus. Obedience shall be a sign of our love as we seek to love, honor, and follow Jesus. But the moment we start keeping score, and adding our own version of commandments and obedience, we better be careful. We do not want to fall into the religious legalism and self righteousness of the Jewish leaders and find ourselves drifting away from Jesus.
It truly is all about Jesus.
Respond – Jesus, I respond to you by saying I believe you are the One, the Only Son of God sent from the Father. I receive your love into my heart. I will seek for you in the Scriptures to find you. Holy Spirit show me more of Jesus. And Father, I want to live like Jesus. I want to see what you are doing, and I want to do your will and ask that you would do your work in me and through me. The Signs and works of Jesus pointed to his calling as the Messiah – one sent from you. The signs revealed the Kingdom of God had come. I believe these signs are still for today to point to Jesus as Lord and King. Release your signs and wonders through me and your church for the sake of your son’s name. To God be the glory. Amen