In our last message, we saw Jesus healing a man on sabbath and telling him to take his bed and go. We saw that when the Jews saw this, they were very angry as according to them what Jesus did was a betrayal of the sabbath. Jesus answered them and said that when God is working, so does his Son. The Jews did not like it at all and they sought to kill him of making himself equal to God and breaking the sabbath law. Now Jesus was not just going to live the whole thing like that without explaining and therefore in the next passage, Jesus explains himself.
John 5:19-29 (ESVST)
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.
Jesus here says that the Son of God, which he is, can do nothing out of his own will. Remember that this is in response to the breaking of the sabbath law and making himself equal with God. Jesus, says, whatever I do, I do because it is the will of God. This means even healing that man on sabbath was the will of God. Jesus continues to say that he only does what he sees God doing. The Son always imitates the father. So, when the father does something, the son will do as well.
How then does Jesus know what God is doing? For, if you are to imitate someone, you must first see what they are doing or did. Jesus says, God loves him and for that, he shows him all the he is doing so that he can do them as well. Jesus says, God loves him and this is the reason why God shows him all that he is doing so that Jesus himself can also do.
So, Jesus is saying, everything I do, I do because it is the will of God and also because it is what God himself is doing. I healed that man on sabbath because that was the will of God and that is what God does and therefore that is what I will do.
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.
At this point the Jews should be fuming. Not only does Jesus claim to be the Son of God and therefore God himself but he also now says that God himself would break the sabbath. Remember that Jesus said he only does what he sees God doing. This is true isn’t? God works all the time, does it not rain on sabbath, does the sun not shine on sabbath, does God not accept the sacrifices of Jews on sabbath? God certainly does work on sabbath and so will Jesus.
We know from the Old Testament that only God can give or take life and only God can judge.
1 Samuel 2:6 (ESVST)
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
James 4:12 (ESVST)
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
Here Jesus then confirms this and then makes a statement that I believe would have really given the Jews the reason to really want to kill him. Jesus says that just as God can raise the dead and give life, he can also give life to whom he wills. Jesus continues to then say, it is not God who judges but all judgement has been given to him. Jesus in no ambiguous terms is claiming to be God. Jesus is saying I am God as well. Jesus continues to say, all this was given to him so that all may honor him just as they honor God. What Jesus is saying here is he deserves that same glory and honor as God does and whoever does not honor him, does not honor God as well. This must have been too much for the Jews. If you did not know why the Jews hated Jesus so much, now you know. The Old Testament was clearly against what Jesus was saying and the Jews could not simply understand why he would say this.
Isaiah 42:8 (ESVST)
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Isaiah 48:11 (ESVST)
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
Here is someone from Nazareth, a son of a carpenter who is making himself equal with God, no, infect he is making himself God. This to the Jews was blasphemy of the highest order deserving of death.
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.
Jesus, knowing that they did not believe him, says to them, whoever hears my words and believes God has eternal life. Now, this verse might be confusing in that it says whoever believes in God. In John 3, Jesus said whoever believed in him but now he says God. Who must we then believe in? The word believe is a Greek word “pisteuo” which also means to trust in or to commit. So, I believe that Jesus is saying whoever hears my words meaning, whoever hears and believes my words and also trust in or commit to God, has eternal life. What this means is that if you trust that God has sent him to save the world and you believe his words, than you have eternal life. Jesus says that those who believe does not come into judgement but has passed from death to life. This simply means a believer does not die but passes from death to life. Death is just a transformation from this life to the next.
Then Jesus refers to the last times of revelation, when the dead will hear his words and rise. Jesus is simply saying, 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.
Jesus says just like God has life in himself, he also has life and all authority to judge has been given to him, why?, because he is the Son of God.
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.
Jesus knowing that they were puzzled at what he is saying, he says to them do not wonder at what I am saying for when the times comes, the dead will hear his voice and those that has done good, will rise to the resurrection of life and those who did evil to the resurrection of judgement.
Now first of all it must be made very clear that Jesus does not preach salvation through works. We know that faith in Christ results in good works but it is by grace through faith that one is saved not by works. Eph 2:8-9. Therefore the good works here refers to those that were brought about by faith in Christ as Christ has been talking about in this passage. He mentioned that only if you believe in John 3 will you see eternal life. So, this comes out of that in that, faith always results in good works but good works alone will not sent you to heaven.