<<Below are sermon notes from a message I gave this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church. Free downloads or listening are available>>
The focus of chapter five of John’s gospel centers on the vindication of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Specifically we see 3 Christological clarifications that serve to vindicate Jesus’ person and demonstrate his authority. OR if that is too wordy, three theological uppercuts that prove that Jesus is God and he can do and say whatever he wants.
The three clarifications in John chapter 5 are:
- Christ’s Special Relationship with the Father (5.19-23)
- Christ’s Sovereign Authority over humanity (5.24-30)
- Christ’s Sufficient Testimony of authenticity (5.31-47)
The theme of the book of John is expressed in the 20th chapter as we read these words: John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. So we see here that the Apostle John was writing to communicate the person of Jesus Christ to his audience with the expressed purpose of producing believe and life in Jesus.
In our context here Jesus heals a man who has been ailing for 38 years. And this serves to infuriate the Jews as the healing was accomplished on a Sabbath (for it was a feast day). They were mad at the lame man because he ‘carried’ his mat and aggravated with Jesus for healing him and telling him to carry his mat. Well What does Jesus say back? Joh 5:17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
Basically Jesus says, “Me and My Father are just doing what we have always done…what is your problem?!” In so doing Jesus appeals to the activity of God and puts himself on the same page with God…even working in concert with him. God has enjoyed a Sabbath rest since the last day of Creation (Gen.2.2-3; Heb. 4.1, 3-5), but has still done good for men, even showing mercy on the Sabbath. Even the Rabbis of Jesus’ day would have concluded that God could not break the Sabbath, for God is active all the time (Sabbath or not) and Jesus, himself being God incarnate, is just doing what he has always done.
The Jews were furious. Because in there minds there is one thing worse than breaking the Sabbath, and that is blasphemy…speaking untruth about God, and they understood Jesus as saying that he was indeed God. This infuriated them! Notice that Jesus does not correct them. Instead he proceeds to, for the rest of the chapter, explain the special relationship that he has with the Father. And in an ironic way the Jews here are telling Jesus that he is committing the supreme sin (making himself God)…the irony is that they are disagreeing with God incarnate, rejecting him and so therefore rejecting God…so in an ironic twist the Jews’ charge of Blasphemy against Jesus is itself Blasphemy!!
What follows in verses 19-47 is Christ’s detailed explanation as to who he is and what he is doing and what ensues is a thorough theological spanking by the Savior for the religious leaders’ persistent perversion of truth in the name of their tradition. And so we have Jesus pivot on this emotionally charged situation to vindicate his character, this while indicting the Jews for their devastating sin of rejecting God.
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