[John 5:24-47] Do What You See the Father Do: In part 2 of John 5, Jesus speaks of eternal life and the mandate by which He lived His life. At Bethesda, He healed one man among 1000’s and left with a clear conscience. How is this possible? It is because He only did what He saw the Father do. He was not moved by what people thought. He did not walk out His destiny in the shadow of men’s opinions. He likewise invites us to follow after Him outside the camp of what people think, obeying the Father in all things, regardless of the consequences.
[John 5:24-47 ] 24 Verily, verily, 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. 25 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. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 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. 30 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. 31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 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. 37 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. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 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. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
In part 1 of our study of John 5, Jesus gave us perhaps the greatest secret of His power and His mighty works. In verse 19 He answers the Jews in their murderous rage against Him, saying:
v. 19: The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what things soever (the Father does) these things also the Son does likewise.
This came immediately after Jesus went among the multitude of impotent folk at Bethesda, healed one man and left thousands languishing on the five porches around the pool, waiting on the troubling of the water. How could He do this and still be considered a good man? This is not the only instance in which Jesus did this. The man at the gate Beautiful, the same man healed by Peter in the book of Acts had been there his whole life and no doubt Jesus had passed that way many times. Why didn’t He heal this man, who no doubt cried out to Him “Jesus thou Son of David, have mercy on me…” Was Jesus saying no to this man? Not at all. He was saying YES to the Father. In Matt. 19:16-17 a person came to Jesus and addressed him as “good Master…” Jesus took this as an insult. He replies to the man “why are you calling Me good? There is none good but one, that is God…” For Jesus the only way to connect to goodness was not through moral principle but through a living dependence on the Father. To see goodness as a matter of moral principle, doing good, giving alms, etc., is to eat from the fruit of the forbidden tree that condemned men in the first place. The tree in the garden was not just the tree of Evil, but the tree of the knowledge of GOOD and EVIL. If you take one bite, even of the good, trying to be good, trying to follow after the good, extolling the virtues of moral goodness, you are condemned to eat the whole rotten thing and in eating condemn yourself and those around you. What is the key? As Jesus, do what you see the Father do. Have no opinion about the consequences, relinquish the outcome. This is what it means not only to live in the Spirit but to walk after the Spirit without condemnation, without a religious performance value qualifying the nature of your walk with God. It is simply living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Father.
In verse 24, Jesus makes an astounding statement. He says that the person who hears His word and believes in Him will not be condemned by pass from death unto life. In unambiguous terms, He is addressing the universal scourge of death itself. As the Father has life within Himself (v. 26) so He has given to the Son to have life in Himself, and He because He by the cross will come into covenantal relationship with all mankind, then those who believe in Him, who He is and what He has within Himself can rightly expect to see the word manifest in them that John spoke in 1 John 4:17 “as He is, so are we in the world…” How is He?
- He is at the right hand of God.
- He is spotless, sinless, untouched by corruption.
- He is eternal, ineffable, unreproachable.
- He is the head of all things as the King of Kings
- He has made it so that we likewise are kings. He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.
- He is waiting till the last enemy (death) is put under His feet.
Even those in the grave (v.28) will hear His voice and come forth, some to resurrection of life and those who have done evil to resurrection of damnation. Here is the clear testimony of Jesus. Some will face damnation in resurrection. This is one of the most assaulted teachings of the bible today. The Catholic church teaches that punishment comes in the afterlife, but only for a time. The universalist believes that hell is only a metaphor of temporal suffering. The annihilationist believes that death only brings endless sleep, a vanishing into nothingness. Carlton Pearson believes that Hell does not exist at all because his idea of a loving God excludes the thought of eternal suffering. Make it clear to yourself here, regardless of the theological arguments, and the general decline away from belief in a literal devil or a literal hell, Jesus clearly and plainly believes in both. They are an inescapable reality and the only way any man, boy or girl that has ever lived will escape is by professing Jesus in a personal way as both Lord and Savior. Is that unfair? Surely God will take into consideration those who had no opportunity to hear His gospel? It is not for us to say. It is our place regardless of how repugnant the thought may be to modern thinking, to believe the testimony of the words of Jesus concerning Himself as truth, eternal truth that not only applies to you and I but to every man that has ever lived.
Jesus goes on in v. 30 to enlarge on His words in v. 19. In verse 19, He says that He only does what He see the Father do. In verse 30 He says “as I hear I judge and My judgment is just, for I seek not My own will but the will of the Father.” What is Jesus saying? He only does what He sees the Father do, He only judges (krino, DECIDES) as He hears the Father speak. That means at Bethesda He didn’t decide that it would be a good or a bad thing to heal one man and abandon 1000’s to their fate. He simply did what He saw the Father do and only decide, or judge that situation not by the polar comparative of understood moral values, but by one thing and one thing only, what was the Father saying to Him at that one moment. This is how we are to live our lives:
- We only do what we see the Father do.
- We judge, assess, evaluate by the immediacy in that moment of the revealed will of the Father.
In verse 31 Jesus states that if He is bearing witness of Himself, or acting on His own initiative then His testimony is not true. The word “heresy” in the first century is a word that means “choice”. In Christ we abdicate or freedom of choice. These are the implications of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives. To simply accept Jesus as savior and not come into a visceral, demanding connection to Him as the Potentate and Despot of our personal choice is to condemn ourselves as the functional equivalent of heretics. Man is incapable of willing the goodness of God. Man is incapable of reflecting the glory of God independent of God. We must abandon ourselves to His heart, His mind, His daily, moment by moment leadership of our lives in matters both great and small, in things of great import in the scheme of things and in things so mundane they are not worth mentioning. This is living life in the footsteps of Jesus. All else is dead religion.
In v. 39 Jesus invites us to search the scriptures to our hearts content, as the Jews who thought that in the scriptures eternal life is found. Jesus contradicts this saying that the value of the scripture is that they testify of Him. The scriptures do not save us. Jesus does not merely bring us salvation, Jesus IS our salvation in His person. We cannot substitute the scriptures, however holy, however infallible, however the out-breathed word of God, they are no substitute for a living, vibrant relationship with our living Lord Jesus – residing in our hearts by faith. God told me once, “My people are guilty of bibliomancy, they are consulting the book when they ought to be consulting Me…” a very sobering thought indeed.
In v. 43 Jesus rebukes them because in coming in the Father’s name, the Jews are rejecting Jesus, but another man will come in his own name and they will receive Him. A few decades later a man by the name “Bar-Kopa” came, promising to liberate the nation from the empire of Rome and the Jews declared him “king of kings and lord of lords”. As a result Judea was brutally overthrown, the city of Jerusalem destroyed, and the temple leveled. What can we learn from this? In coming to Christ we must leave our personal agenda’s behind. In the Old Testament, Jacob bargained with God at Bethel. In the New Testament the Father will accept nothing but absolute and unconditional surrender to His revealed will in our lives.
In verse 44 we are warned about being too much influenced by the favor of man. “How can you believe, which receive honor of one another and seek not the honor that comes from God only…” If you are going to live for God you cannot listen to, or answer your critics. You cannot concern yourself with what people think. You cannot live out discipleship in Christ in the court of public opinion. Our aim in life, the mandate by which we live is to seek that only that comes singularly and only from God Himself.