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At this point in his Gospel, John has shown that Jesus is not just a good philospher or rabbi or moral teacher. For the first time John quotes Jesus speaking about Himself. And in His discourse He dispels major misconceptions about who He is and why He came, and confronts seven errors about our beliefs.
Compassion and the Compentency We Have with Christ: How We Can Feed Five Thousand
Bingo! The Answer is "Jesus". (And the Question is: "Who is God?")
The King and His Kingdom and What You Must Know to Enjoy them Both
Jesus on Jesus
Do You Want to Get Well? Here's Your Man and Here's How.
From Confusion to Crisis to Clarity to Completion: The Progression from Christlessness to Contagious Faith
What Worshiping in Spirit and Truth Means for Disciples and the Harvest
The Woman at the Well: A Picture of Grace, a Picture of Us
It's the Relationship, Stupid: The Right Well for Your Bucket
Clearing the Way, Preparing the Way, Getting Out of the Way: How Great Men Respond to the Greatest Calling
Well, turn with me to John 5. We are looking at this little miracle that happens here. It's the third sign that John has given. Let me remind you that the signs in John are never just for sign's sake. Jesus is not doing the things that he is doing to please the sign seekers and to elevate himself as a rock star who others want to be around.
He isn't looking for folks who are looking to have their stomach filled again, their infirmity healed, or their problem solved. He is looking for folks who really want to understand his love for them and understanding God's provision manifest through the visible image of who Jesus is. Now if you were John, how would you reveal who Jesus is?
If you were tasked with the challenge of saying, "This is who this guy is, and don't miss him," what would you do? You might start by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. […] And the Word became flesh…and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
You would make a declaration about who this is and then you would show this word in action. You might show him having divine authority over time, that he is a Creator and he is not limited by natural processes because he is the Sovereign One whose Word can bring forth life. You might show him interacting with those who are morally upright and good and sharing with them that their moral uprightness and goodness, that the religion of men, will never be good enough for a holy and perfect God and that God wants them to understand that.
You might show him interacting with those who are immoral and unrighteous, that he is sufficient for them. He offers them hope. You might show him having authority over space and over distance and that he doesn't have to be physically present because he is omnipresent. You might show him claiming to be owner of God's house and Lord over God's day. You might do exactly what John has done to this point.
You also might, at some point, go, "I'm going to let Jesus speak for himself." That's what we're going to get to today. You're going to let John just kind of back off and say, "Okay, I've told you a lot of stories now. Listen to this Jesus tell you who he thinks he is." Now look, John 5. This is the third sign that John is revealing right here.
It's the sign of healing a paralytic, a lame man, somebody who has been lame for 38 years. There's a lot here. There's some symbolism at the very beginning. We looked at last week. Jesus is in Jerusalem, and it says he enters into the old city. There are many gates around the city depending on where you're coming from. He is entering through the Sheep Gate.
Now I think this is a very interesting observation by John. There are a number of different gates that would actually get you into the walled city, which is old Jerusalem. There's one gate called the Sheep Gate. The Shepherd goes in to see how his sheep are doing. There are some of them… Look what's going on right there. There's a bunch of folks who are right by the temple mount, and they are sick, they are blind, they are lame, they are withered. They have been put out. They are not cared for.
They're oppressed. His sheep are scattered and sick, and he is not happy about it. Jesus did not have to go here. To go into the religious quarter of the city, to go into the temple mount, he would not have taken a right. He would've taken a left, but he purposefully went to the lost sheep of Israel. He is aware of your issues. You don't have to wonder if God is asleep or if he has forgotten you. He hasn't. He loves you and he seeks you and he wants to bring you home.
The idea is that they are under five stone porticos. There's a lot that's said about that. I talked last week when we touched on this about legalism. I think those five, which is basically the colonnade, stone columns that surrounded this area there that was a pagan idea of superstition that you could be healed there.
In many ways, those five porticos represent the five books of the Law that had become oppressive to people and it wasn't leading them to life because the shepherds were misusing that information. There's so much symbolism that is right here, but you'll know this. That Jesus seeks the downtrodden and the hurting. If you're here this morning, know he is seeking you. He knows all about your lameness.
He knows that you're sick and you're blind and you're weary. He wants to help you in your withered, lame state. He is compassionate. He is powerful. The question is…Are you going to listen to him? Are you going to go to him? I mentioned last week about the superstitious ideas about how folks were healed then that continue even today.
We are folks who, when we walk away from truth… There's a guy named G.K. Chesterton. You may not know who he is. He was a witty journalist who lived in the twentieth century. His writings are filled with great insight. He said this. "When a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything." He'll start believing in whatever comes down the pike.
That's really what was going on right there. Instead of turning to God as their healer and provider, they were looking at every kind of superstition the world had to offer. The opposite of Christianity is not atheism. It is superstition. It is grasping for something that will give you meaning or hope.
It's the idea that there isn't a God who created us. What we said is that life wasn't there. It just started by itself and that complexity and order and beauty randomly came out of chaos and nothingness. That is just crazy. It is crazy. In fact, when you look at the Scripture, and I've talked about this a lot in the past, but we've kind of walked through the science of belief. Science is our friend.
Science has said the idea that life has come out of nothing through time and chaos and chance is unattainable even when you date the earth as far back as you can possibly date it. In all your billions of years, the odds are so immense that there is no way it could've happened. It is like we have said many times.
It is like we believe that there was an explosion in a print shop and all the letters kind of formed Hamlet just the way that they kind of settled down as they came. We walk in there, and all the letters are arranged and there's this beautiful piece of literature. It's crazy. Superstition. This is what it says in Romans, chapter 1, in verses 21 and following.
It says, "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…" When you don't believe in God, it's not like you start believing in nothing. What happens is you start to believe in anything.
Okay, so this week I'm in a bookstore. I pick up this book called Feng Shui
For Dummies . Look, that is the most nonsensical… Because the book Feng Shui for Smart People doesn't exist. Because smart people don't believe. Feng Shui is Mandarin Chinese for wind and water.
It's the idea that if you arrange your room and, specifically certain parts of your house, with certain colors, certain spaces, certain shapes, and certain places that it will increase your qi, which is your inner power. It's amazing how folks literally, especially a few years back in California.
Before people bought houses they would get consultants who would give them a Feng Shui appraisal of this new house. Then a seller would get their home pre-certified that this is a house that has good qi, good power so that you can get some good energy flow through your life. If you just order these things well, they'll tell you that you will increase your life's energy, power, and success. Crazy. But not just individuals.
Do you know corporations…? Universal Studios hired these same consultants. How many all invest with Merrill Lynch? A lot of you guys probably have money with Merrill Lynch. Do you know Merrill Lynch as a corporation got a Feng Shui consultant to come in to increase their corporate energy flow? That is an immediate reinvest for me. I'm like, "You have to be kidding me!" I know some of you work for Merrill Lynch, and I'm sorry.
I'm just telling you that is nuts, but it just shows you when we leave truth, when we leave reality, we're vulnerable to everything. These folks had left the idea that God was their healer and their caregiver. They're looking at this superstitious belief that the angel stirred the water that we know now is probably a bubbling from the lower springs, and they would rush into it. All that was going on here.
All I'm doing is reminding you that this is not a problem of the ignorant from long ago. We are ignorant today when we reject that which God has revealed to us. Look what we're going to find out about Jesus in the midst of this. There is so much great truth here. Jesus says to this guy, "Do you want to get well?" That's the question. "Do you really want to get well?" You have to respond to that.
The guy doesn't even give him the real answer. He doesn't say, "Yes," or "No." He gives him all the reasons why he can't get well. Jesus says, "Leave your pagan superstitions. Leave your excuses. Leave your trust in selfish man and turn to me." Now he is going to care for this individual, but you're going to find out that he cares more for this individual's soul than he does his lameness, because his lameness is just a picture of what happens to mankind.
This is a real man in a real event. It really happened, but Jesus wasn't just concerned about his lameness. We know that because there was a multitude of sheep who were sick and blind and lame and withered. He just went to one. This was not to impress the sign seekers. This was to start to make a comment about who he was in relationship to that which brings oppression and death to all men.
In fact, he doesn't even want folks to know. He is going to use this guy, though, to start to reveal himself and engage. In the meanwhile, he is going to reveal himself specifically to this guy. When he goes into this place, he heals this guy, tells him to get up and go, didn't even announce who is he, and he disappears because he doesn't want chaos to ensue.
You're going to find out that Jesus comes back to him a little bit later because he is up to something much bigger than even this specific healing. I mentioned last week, and I want to just… I did it quickly. I'm going to touch on it again. I said, "This is how people change." I've watched at Watermark some folks be radically changed.
I'm going to give you one specific example of somebody this week who is a picture of this lame guy who is continually representative of the healing that happens today. There's an old joke. You know all the light bulb jokes? How many Aggies does it take to change a light bulb? There's one: How many Christian counselors does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is one, but the light bulb has to want to change.
What I mean by this is that look… By the way, when I say Christian counselor, don't think a professional with a license on the wall. I mean, think of yourself. Think of a person who is going to say, "Come and see." How many of you, evangelists, folks who know Jesus, is it going to take to change your neighborhood?
The answer is only one, but the neighborhood has to come to the end of itself. It has to see its lameness, its withered, blind, lame state. Many of the folks who are out there are very happy. They're not hoping in some deliverance. They have this illusion of strength: financial, physical, emotional, relational illusion of strength.
They believe that your belief is a crutch for weak people who need it. They just don't need it. They're fine with you believing it, but they don't need it yet. I'm going to tell you. This is how people change. By the way, look where Jesus goes. He doesn't go to the religious elite. He doesn't go to the prosperous. He goes right to the hurting.
He says, "This pain in your life is a real gift because it's going to show you the futility of life on this earth, the emptiness of trusting in this passing, fleeting thing." By the way, we're all lame and we're all dying. You know that, right? One of my favorite sayings is that, "Good health is just the slowest possible path to death."
You're still dying. All of us are. The statistics are staggering. One out of one person born is dying these days. It's amazing. Sooner or later, you're going to come to the end of yourself. You're going to see that all your money, all your power, all your prestige, all your fame doesn't mean very much. All your beauty, Elizabeth, is gone. All your wealth doesn't mean much if it can't deliver you in that moment.
Everybody at one point starts to reconsider what they've put their trust in. By the grace of God, some of us see a little bit earlier that we might need something outside of ourselves. Sometimes through broken relationships. Remember what I said a couple of weeks ago? God uses crisis as his primary means to bring us to a place that we start to come to the end of ourselves. So what were those things that I said? I'm going to just give them to you very quickly again.
First, you have to come. By that, I mean come to your senses. Come to the light. Come to the end of yourself. Come to Jesus. Until you realize that your life, your relational ability to love and to forgive and to reconcile and to honor God maybe, that your self-righteousness is not righteousness at all, you'll never turn to a Savior.
One of the things that the church has done a terrible job of over the last several decades is talking about this thing called sin because we don't want to be so negative. Well, I might suggest we just love each other and be truth-tellers. None of us are good. None of us are righteous. That doesn't mean we don't do anything that is good. It means when you look at the real standard of what God says is acceptable, nobody meets it.
We all have a need, but you don't really make a big deal about grace if you don't think you need to be given what you don't deserve. Some of us, by God's grace, are so broken and we're so sick of eating with the pigs and we're remembering that our Father feeds his servants better, then we start to come to our senses like it says in Luke, chapter 15.
That the Prodigal who was away, remembered. He said, "I'm going to go and I'm going to humble myself before my Father." You connect. You stop living in isolation. You don't buy this, "Just me and Jesus. I'll work it out on my own." You really change when you start to connect. Then you confess. You live authentically.
James 5:16 says, "…confess your sins to one another…" You start to really say, "Okay, I'm not going to do this in isolation. I'm going to come to Christ. I'm going to be a part of a community where I begin to say, "Okay, help me understand God, not for who I want him to be but for who he says he is. And this is who I am."
Then they commune. When they do that, they really come. They look tightly bound with others. They know others and they are sought to be known by others and say, "You encourage me. You help me. You remind me of things that are true." Then I put this awkwardly in there. Change. Okay, how do people change? They change.
Here's what I meant by that. All I did is use a C there to kind of keep it going. What I mean by change is if you have a life that is anything less than being encouraged toward righteousness and truth, if you have some addictive pattern in your life, the way you will begin to find healing is you have to change your playground.
You have to change your playmates. You have to change your habits and your disciplines. You have to change the way you think. That's what repentance means. I want to agree with Scripture that, "Bad company corrupts good morals." I'm going to agree with Scripture that, "…the companion of fools will suffer harm." I have to make some real changes.
Then this next one. You have to conform. Because you're going to start to repent of dependence on yourself, you start to conform yourself. This is Romans 12:2. You want to really change? Then you have to say, "I'm not going to let the world inform me anymore. I'm not going to let my own understanding or feelings or emotions inform me anymore.
I'm not going to let my 20, 30 years of being parented by folks who had other strategies to manipulate the change. I'm going to really be somebody who listens to his Word." This is Romans 12:2. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…" God wants to re-parent you. He is a gracious parent. He knows it's not going to happen overnight. Then the last thing you do is you really cleave. You stay there. Not like cut off. What I mean by this is you stay. When things get awkward, you don't leave.
Why do I do this? I have hundreds of examples like this. I have permission to use this. This is one from a number of years ago. A lot of guys get to the place where they see the lameness in their life and they come and they pour out and they go, "I'm just not doing well." I look at them and I go, "Do you want to get well?"
Change can happen, but you have to want to change. You have to come to the end of yourself and if all you're doing is coming here until the heat backs off, if this is a jailhouse conversion, you're really not coming to Jesus. You're just coming out of fear. You're not going to really commune and connect with us deeply here.
You're not going to confess. You're not going to really start to operate scripturally and conform yourself to Christ. It's just a moment before you'll go away. We see it a lot where folks come, and there's a lot of pain. Then the things ease off, and then they kind of go away. What Jesus isn't after is a bunch of folks who just want the next little healing, the next little tidbit, the next meal. See the feeding of the 5,000.
He rebukes them. He said, "You're here not because I am the Bread of Life, but because you saw miracles. You're here because your stomach is full and you want me to feed your stomach again. I don't roll that way." So watch this. I met with this guy in my office. I wrote him a letter the day after we met.
I just said, "Bob, great meeting with you this morning. I was totally encouraged by humility and your honest self-assessment. Now for the good part: application. A couple of thoughts as I lay this down. Figuring out what it means to seek God first. That's the easy part. I've told you what it looks like to follow him, but seeking, trusting, yielding, and following faithfully, that's the transforming part, and I might add, it's the really hard part."
I just gave him James, chapter 1. " 'But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.' 'Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.'" Secondly, I said to him. "Know this is a journey for all of us. None of these things alone is a silver bullet, but together they become his way for us to experience his goodness, grace, and abundant life. Everyone wants a life free from the burdens of isolation, coldness in relationships, freedom from debt, and a concern for many things." He had them all going on.
"But too few of us take the grace available to us in Christ. Proverbs 13:4: 'The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.' What I'm saying is you just can't want to change and want the pain to go away. You have to do the things that will bring the change, real repentance. We go our own way, that's the way of death. That's Proverbs 14:12. 'There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.' Albeit sometimes a very slow, seeming happy successful got-it-all-together death defined by Dallas, but it is death.
Thirdly, as we all agreed to, I pulled some other guys in with me. Going at this alone is not going to get it done. God in his goodness has given us to each other." I didn't have these seven or eight things I gave you five or six years ago to just go ahead and put them in that systematic way, but it's what I'm writing him. It's what I'm trying to show you. I'm going to show you what happened to him.
I mentioned all these verses that talk about connecting, communing, confessing. Then I just go through it and I said, "Look bro, here are all the ways to do it. This is our staff in 2006. Amy Holmes, now a mom. She's not on staff. Michael Fleming is now planting a church up in Denver. He's not doing it anymore.
John McGee is still leading our marriage ministry and re|engage, which didn't even exist at the time. Patrick Blocker was leading our men's Summit at the time. Now he is leading our college ministry. Look, there are folks, Jen Holt, who is now a mom and not here anymore, but she leads the Moneywise team. You really want to deal with your financial stuff? Then let's get clean."
Then I just mentioned the guys who met with me. "We're going to be your surrogate community until you can get some traction with others. That means we'll be praying for you and checking to see how you're doing at having the soul of the diligent and not the soul of the sluggard. We're not going to let you live in isolation."
You see how I'm trying to help him change if he wants it? "You are going to email us some of your answers to the questions you're going to go over with your wife so we can spur you on as you show her how you're stepping up in your pursuit of her and your relationship. Proud of you. Ready to celebrate your diligent and lovingly spur you on without any delay." Then I just encouraged him. "Let's go."
Now look, fast forward months and years. It's 2011. I'm going to tell you what this guy did from that moment. He wasn't one of those guys who just kind of came in and kind of had a good feeling of release and confession and being known for the first time. He had some stuff to confess, let me just tell you. It was all over the map, but he really wanted to come. He was at the end of himself.
I'm not going to read you his response, but I'll just tell you what he did. The first thing he did is he got connected with other folks. It says in an email I got from him later, he said, "Todd, right away I took my budget to my Community Group. I made cuts. I consolidated. I shifted my priorities. I downsized my house. I gave more than lip service to the Word of God for the first time. I pursued God as a man. I pursued God with my wife. I pursued God with my children. We moved. I got moving in my life."
He got busy, and he did all those different things that I'm talking about, and guess what happened? His life is no longer lame. He wrote me for several times over the course of the next months and years. He said, "You wouldn't believe the change in my family. You wouldn't believe the change in me. You wouldn't believe that I'm experiencing the peace that passes understanding the Scripture talks about for the first time in my life. I had lip service about Jesus, but now I'm experiencing the life that I always heard but never understood."
Because for the first time, he followed. See, that's the point. Now watch this. There's another huge point here in this text. I want to read to you just for a little bit from right here because what John is going to do is he is going to show you what the real focus of this passage is. It's not just this healing. It's who Jesus is and what he is up to. So look, he did this on the Sabbath. There's a reason he did it on the Sabbath.
He was asked, "Why did you do this on the Sabbath?" He says this cryptic thing in verse 17. He said, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." The Jews understood what was going on when he said that. See, it wasn't really… This miracle wasn't done on the Sabbath to argue about what was permissible on the Sabbath or not. Because the Jews don't really go there with him. They focus on the really offensive part of this statement.
The offensive part of this is that he made himself equal with God. This is what Jesus is doing. He is trying to show up to the lost sheep of Israel and say, "My shepherds have not done a good job of being vice-regents, my under-shepherds. They have kind of stolen from me the love that I have from you and they put themselves over you, and they are not lovers. They are oppressors.
I'm coming back now as the owner of the land that the tenants have not been caring for, and I'm saying, "It's my land. Those are my people. I have a problem with you and I love them." Verse 18 says this. "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God."
This is the issue. This is why the Jews wanted to kill him. Because you cannot say blasphemy in Scripture or at any time. That is when you take away from God some attribute that is due God or when you give to God some attribute that is not due to God. That's blasphemous.
For Jesus to say, "I'm God," they say, "You can't do that. You can't say you're God because you're pushing on God something we reject." So what Jesus is going to do now is respond, because let me just tell you this. If you were John and you were trying to convince folks that this Jesus was God, what would you do?
Well, you'd start your little book by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word was Creator. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…" That was the way that we could see who God was. Then you would show that this God has the ability, this Jesus has the ability, to create.
He is a lover, just like the God of Scripture. He is a deliverer, just like the God of Scripture. He has power and authority over time and space. All this is what he is revealing. Now he is showing you these things, and for the first time John said, "I'm going to quit telling you what he did," and there's going to be now a discourse and we're going to listen to Jesus.
This is, in John, chapter 5, verse 19 through 24, all we're going today. Here's the question. What does Jesus think about Jesus? You need to lock into this because I'm going to tell you at the very end of today about seven or eight errors (I'm just going to list them off) that are just mammoth in the world today that this text absolutely cuts out.
This is the first time Jesus spoke on Jesus. Now look, if you are just a good teacher and people hear you teach and they go, "Hey man, you think you're God!" If you don't think you're God, you go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Thank you for saying that. Let me just clear that up right there because I don't know what I did. I'm just a poor communicator. I didn't mean to say that."
When I got started in ministry, I was 23. I had just moved to a town where I was working in a parachurch ministry. They wrote a little intro to me that they sent out to all the folks who were involved. There was a typo. You usually catch typos that are morphed into non-words, but typos that morph into other words that spellchecker doesn't have a problem with? It doesn't read the sentence.
This is what it said. Instead of saying, "Todd is 23 and a graduate of the University of Missouri." It said, "God is 23 and a graduate of the University of Missouri." They mailed it out to thousands of folks. Okay, now look. A lot of folks think that I think that anyway. This broke my heart. I go, "No, you can't! No! Absolutely not!"
I took that, the very, I go, "Look, let me show you how crazy that is. How could that happen?" I mean, I spent my first couple of times using that as an illustration. I said, "Let me make it very clear about who I am. I'm just a fellow struggler who needs a Savior." No one really thought I meant that. They understood it was a typo, but I want to tell you it horrified me when I saw that.
I didn't go, "Well God is sovereign, and maybe he is trying to tell you all something. He said he was coming back, and you know…" I didn't do that. I went right after it militantly. Not just me. Acts, chapter 10, Peter is called by Cornelius to come to him. Peter shows up. Cornelius hits the deck. Peter goes, "Whoa! Dude, up! Don't worship me. I'm just a man." Paul and Barnabas. In fact, this is amazing. Let me just read you Acts 14. This is an amazing text. Watch the similarity to what happened here. Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14, verses 8 and following.
It says, "At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother's womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, 'Stand upright on your feet.' And he leaped up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, 'The gods have become like men…'" Verse 14 now.
"But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM.'"
John, the guy who wrote the gospel of John, when he has the vision of what's going to happen when Jesus returns and when the angel who gave him these words, the messenger of God, closed kind of his revelation, John fell at his feet in worship. The angel goes, "What are you doing? Get up! Don't worship me. I'm just the messenger."
John 5. "Hey, dude. We have a problem with you. We think you're God." He did not do what I did when I was 23. He didn't do what Paul did. He didn't do what Peter did. He didn't do what Barnabas did. He didn't do what an angel did. Look at what he does. Get this right, folks. This is not just some little moral teacher. This is not a rabbi.
Here's what I would tell you. Theologians said this for a long time. If Jesus is not God, somebody ought to tell Jesus. Let me say that again. If this dude isn't God, somebody ought to tell him. Because he thinks he is. This is John trying to show you, "Hey, don't miss this guy, withered, lame, blind sheep. Lost and without a shepherd. He matters."
Jesus on Jesus. "Truly, truly, I say to you…""I'm not referring to a rabbi, the Mishnah. I'm not even quoting the Torah. I'm telling you. I can give perfect eternal revelation." "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." Now what's that mean? Okay when it says that when, "…He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does…" it doesn't mean like whatever he chooses to do, the Father does, the Son does.
No, no, no. He means like, "Everything the Father does, I do. When he acts, I act." Why? What Jesus is basically saying is, "I am the mirror image of the Father. I can't do what the Father is not doing, and I cannot not do what the Father is doing, because I and the Father are the same one. So when I told you way back up there when you got offended at me that my Father is working from this day…" This is what Jesus is saying.
What he is saying right here is, "Look, don't miss this." When God created the heavens and the earth after six days, the Scripture says he rested. Then we're called a little bit later to rest on the Sabbath. Why did Jesus and God rest? It wasn't because they were whipped and tired and exhausted and they go, "Man, that was a lot of work. I mean, the Rockies themselves caused us to take a nap."
No! He wasn't ever tired. He rested because it was done and it was right and it was beautiful and it was fitting to represent him. He just stepped back and go, "We're done." That is paradise. That is perfect. That is beautiful. If God was going to create something and say, "This is who I am," to people he created it for, this perfect incubator, this perfect nursery, this paradise he was going to put something in it and that person would go, "How lucky am I to have this God who gave this to me?"
That's when he stepped back and he goes, "This is good." Then from that moment on when we came onto the earth, we then said, "Do you know what? I think it could be better. It could be better if he just gave me the keys and I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it," and we left God, which means we left life, we left light, we left truth, and we invited in darkness, death, and error.
Now what's a loving God going to do when darkness, death, and error, deceit, come into the world? He's going to go, "I love those people who are trapped in darkness who now have death as their destiny and who live under lies." What do you do? What do you do if you're a parent and your kids move toward darkness, move toward error, move toward death? You get busy.
So Jesus said, "Hey look dude, there's no Sabbath for me. I've been at work since the fall to rescue you. I've been trying to call you back since that moment. The reason I gave you a Sabbath is to enjoy me. It wasn't to burn you with rules like you've burned one another. I gave you a Sabbath that you might enjoy me, might be reminded of my protection and provision for you, that you might enjoy relationships, and you wouldn't work your fingers to a nub. That you'd be at least reminded one day a week, you'd be re-centered that God is good and God is for us."
Do you get it? Jesus said, "I'm not like that. I have not rested. I don't grow weary or tired. My understanding is inscrutable. I've not forgotten your ways for a second. There is no Sabbath for me. I've been rescuing folks since the day you left me. Why? Because that's what the Father does, and if the Father does it, I do it." Why would he say that? What is the title of this series?
The Visible Image. I ripped it right off from Paul. He is the visible image of the invisible God. I ripped it right off from Jesus in John 5:19. "I am the mirror image of the Father. If he does it, I do it. If I see him do it?" It's like you guys are way too young, most of you, but there was an old Patty Duke show. I loved this one scene in there where she and her twin sister would get up and she looks like she is in front of a mirror and they both look like they're doing the exact same thing. Then you realize it's not a mirror. It's just two twins doing exactly the same thing.
That's Jesus. "That's what I'm doing? You want to know why I work on the Sabbath? Because I've been working since you left me." Look at verse 20. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel."
"I am here, and the Father is going to show me what to do so I can show you what to do. I am God, but I don't regard equality with God a thing to be grasped so I walk as a man though I'm fully God, I'm fully man. I take on your nature that I might identify with you because that's the way I, God, am going to rescue you. This is the plan from the very beginning: to reveal my love, my compassion, my greatness, my concern, the wonder of who I am, increase my glory, invite you back into it.
The Father is going to show me what else is coming. By the way, I'm going to start to tell you that I'm going to be betrayed. I'm going to be handed over to be crucified. That's all part of the plan. No one is going to take my life. I'm going to lay it down. By the way, I'm going to take it back up again. All this is coming."
He is just starting to unveil. Watch this. He goes a little farther. "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes." Amazing. What's he claiming here? "Hey man, you make yourself out to be God." "Well duh, because I am God. I'm his mirror image. The Father gives life. I give life. The Father creates. I create." Off he goes. "For not even the Father…"
Listen, this is what he is going to announce today. "For not even the Father judges anyone…""Because look, in this little mystery that you don't understand God, I am God. I have eternally existed with the Word, and I am the Word, but I was with God, but I'm not the Father." What he is going to say is, "It's my job as a representative of the Godhead to judge. The Father lets me be the judge because I am the dividing line."
That's what he is saying here in verse 22. "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son…""That's my role. I have that authority. Why? Because I am the one who is here revealing us in its fullest. I'm the one who makes provision. There is no other name under heaven by which you must be saved. If you're for me, you're for me. If you're against me, you're against me. I'm going to be the lead judge, not the Father that you can't see, but the one here who is revealing himself to you very clearly."
Now watch this. Verse 23: "…so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." Does Jesus get this? Watch this. He is saying, "Just to be very, very clear, you guys say you love God? If you love God, you'd love me because to love me is to love God. If you don't love me, it's because you don't love the Father, because I and the Father are one."
Hey look, dude, if I do this, if you ever hear me even approach this mountain, run! Get out of here! If there is a Jim Jones-ness that ever shows up, run! By the way, this is what they thought they needed to do. Let's just be a little bit sympathetic. This blew some categories. Let's look and see what this guy is doing.
This isn't just some charlatan healing some people of said diseases and psychosomatic issues. It's not a guy who will say "No," to some and "Yes," to others. This is a guy who is going right out in public. There is no confusion. There isn't, "Let's see some medical records. We have a few folks who said he really was lame." No. The whole world knew who this guy was.
Dead for four days. The whole world knew: that's a leper. The whole world knew: that kid is dead. The whole world knew that this was a lame man for 38 years. It wasn't about the miracles. It was about the revelation. Then look at verse 24. I'm going to camp here next week. "Truly, truly, I say to you…" This is the whole deal. "…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has…" Not will have. Has at that moment. "…eternal life, and does not come into judgment…" It is done. "…but has passed out of death into life."
"It's all about me. When you trust in me, Jesus, it changes everything. Right now, you're reconnected to life, the life you left in the garden. You're back in relationship with him. You have the ability now to start to live in a way that will bring you life and blessing." Do you see the amazing truth of this?
The first time Jesus really goes on a discourse, he doesn't go, "Whoa guys, I'm sorry. You spun this off." He is saying, "No, you need to come to me. You need to do what I tell you to do because I am where life is. By the way, if you don't come to me, I'm the one who is going to judge you."
All right, I'm closing with this. We're not going to sing "Jesus Messiah," okay? We'll sing it over you as you leave because I want to just show you how amazing Christ's first big public unveiling is. Look at the errors that he just absolutely torpedoes. He takes the leg out from these things in his first public discourse when he says, "This is who I am."
First, pluralism. Is pluralism an issue in our day? That you can believe what you want to believe. There's no real truth. There's no grand sovereign law that is out there. How about this one? "Hey, okay, if you honor the Son, it's good for you. If you don't honor the Son, it's bad for you." That is called absolute truth. This idea that just sincere belief will get you where you want to go as long as you're really sincere, that's all God really wants?
No. Sincerity of belief is not what God wants. You can sincerely believe that he is not the Messiah and be a Hasidic Jew. That comes from the word chesed. Bethesda, house of covenant love. Hasidic Jew, a loving covenant seeking Jew, but who misses the Jesus question. Uh-oh. Sincerity. You can say that Jesus is the greatest prophet who ever lived. Muhammad, AD 600.
But he wasn't really crucified. You don't ascribe to Jesus what he was, who is the sacrifice for sin, the Savior of the world, risen from the grave, not just a prophet, but Creator and Lord. If you don't give him all his full honor, uh-oh. I don't care how many pillars you observe or what path you're on.
This idea of universalism, that everybody gets in? Jesus kind of takes that on here, doesn't he? "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life…" If you don't? Because part of love winning is that justice one day will reign. The reason we're still groaning is because the day of glory hasn't come. Why? Because the day of grace is here.
One day, love will manifest itself in all its fullness, and part of love is justice. Right is executed against wrong. He's going to say, "I'm going to get away with that which brings darkness and sin and death and disease in the world, which is a disacknowledgment of who I am. So love is going to win, but that doesn't mean everybody gets in."
It's right here. They're not my ideas. They're his. "Jesus is just a good guy. He is just a good, moral teacher." Is that what he thinks? No. His first time out of the chute, he says, "Don't make me a good teacher. You can't do that. You think I think I'm God? You're right! The reason I act like it is because I am, and I can't not act like it because I am God, and God always acts like he is."
How about the idea that you're saved by works? He kind of takes that one out. It's not about what you're going to do. You have to believe in the one who God sent to deal with your lack of work it out before me. Okay? Now I'll tell you where it's going next week. When we pick it up in verse 25, after Easter, I'm going to show you that he takes on Annihilationism and that just saying you love God but not picking up your mat and following him is enough.
That dead faith isn't faith and that your hope that maybe you'll just sleep forever doesn't fly. There's a resurrection of the righteous and a resurrection of the wicked forever. You'll be given an eternal body to enjoy him forever in heaven or you'll be given a body that can forever endure hell. Are these ideas that are floating around out there? Just read five verses of the first time the man speaks. Do you think he wants you to get these right? Yes. Because he loves you and he is going, "Just to be clear, I matter. I am God. Follow me."
Lord, if there is a friend who is here who does not know you, would they come? Lord, would they come? Would they find the grace that you literally aren't dying to make happen but you died to make happen? I thank you that, Father, you didn't just make this a jump ball. You dunked it and said, "Deal with it." That you are the Sovereign One and you have made it very clear.
May they, Father, now not prove themselves to be obscurantists but folks who say, "I need to see more," but may they just go, "I don't need to see more. I just need to acknowledge I am a stubborn, rebellious sinner against God and his righteous rule, and I repent." That they would come and they would connect with your people and they would change and they would follow you and conform to your Word. They would cling to others who seek you and they would have life. Father, would you do that here now?
For those of us who know, might we go, and because we say we love you, do what you say people who love you will do, which is to say, "Come and see. Our Lord is risen. He is King, he is good, and he wants you to have rest." Bring us. Send us. Use us. Let us worship you. Amen.
Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.
Who was Jesus Christ? A mythical man created to give a false sense of comfort after we die? Some sort of character that enables us to justify our own choices while simultaneously giving us the power to judge others? Or was He something much bigger? God, in the flesh, walking and living among His creation. A sinless man who became the sacrifice for our sins. The Gospel of John is more than Christology 101. It is an invitation to a living and active faith in Jesus Christ. Come join us on this life-changing journey through the book of John: the story of Jesus Christ.