Welcome to Expound, our verse-by-verse study of God's word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
So let's pray. Father, we open up our hearts along with the Bibles that we brought with us. We are interested, Lord, in the life of Jesus-- the words that he spoke, the works that he performed. We're interested in knowing about them, knowing more about you. But not just understanding the scripture. We really want to know, personally, experientially the author-- to walk with you. Not only to be conformed to truth, be conformed to two principles, but to walk with in real relationship and intimacy the creator-- you.
Lord, you know those things in our lives that are hindering that-- the sins, the thoughts the attitudes or the misinformation. Maybe it's ignorance of certain truths. Maybe it's a preoccupation with others. But Lord, give us a balance-- speak to us further.
Using John, chapter five, Lord so that our lives would be enriched so that we would walk in relationship to you and honor you with our lives. Lord, I pray for every broken heart who's either a part of this congregation or listening by internet or by radio. Those are struggling with certain things, dealing with certain issues that have come up in their lives. They're weighed down because of it.
As you reveal to us-- as you remind us of who Jesus is and what he can do-- Lord, I pray that we would walk away different than we came in. I pray we'd walk away rejoicing and our faith would be intact. We ask it in Jesus' name, Amen.
Back in 1611, a version of the Bible was produced under the authority of the British King, King James of England. It has become the King James version-- the authorized version of the Bible. Of course, people spoke differently back and 1611 then they speak today. Language is dynamic, language changes, but there is an interesting word found in the King James 1611 version of the Bible that is translated differently in the translation I'm using, the new King James version.
And so verse three of chapter five, it says, "In these lay a great multitude of sick people." That's not how the 1611 King James version puts it. It says, "In these lay a great number of impotent folk." Now, that word has changed meaning. Impotent in 1611 did not mean what it has come to mean today. Originally, the idea of an impotent person was a person without strength; a person unable to better himself; a person unable to do something for himself.
So playing off that word in the original 1611 translation-- a great number of impotent folk-- we have the story here of an impotent man meeting an omnipotent man-- one who is all powerful. A man who is powerless meeting the all powerful one. A man without strength meeting the one who has all strength at his disposal-- all power and authority at his disposal. A man who is totally helpless meeting the ultimate helper.
Now, I remember as a boy my father quoting what he believed to be a verse of scripture. And he would say, "You know son, the Bible says God helps those who help themselves." I believe do was in there. When I became a believer I searched for it and I couldn't find it, so I thought it must be in an alternate translation. My dad must be so well-versed in the Bible that he knows different translations of the scripture.
So I searched in various translations. And I found not only in the King James version, but in all the variants thereof-- whether it's the Codex Sinaiticus or Vaticanus, whatever sets of text you want to rely on-- I couldn't find that verse.
But I kept reading the Bible. Not only did I not find God helps those who help themselves, I discovered the greatest truth-- God helps those who can't help themselves. He helps the helpless people. Then I discovered that where that versus of scripture came from was not the scripture, it was from Ben Franklin. He's the guy who said God helps those who help themselves, not the Bible. It was Ben Franklin, first noted and first quoted in Poor Richard's Almanac, printed in 1757.
So the scene is in Jerusalem. A special area known as the Pool of Bethesda, as we will read. The Pool of Bethesda-- the word Bethesda means mercy-- house of mercy, place of mercy. It's beautiful name, Bethesda. The Pool of Bethesda-- the place of mercy, the house of mercy-- was anything but a house of mercy.
Rather, by the time Jesus enters the scene is not a house of mercy, it's a hangout of misery. There's a great multitude of people who are unable to better themselves-- unable to help themselves. And we find Jesus coming on that scene here.
Now, here's what's important for you to put in your mind as we go through John. What happens here is the turning point in Jesus' ministry. When I say turning point I don't I mean for the better, but I mean for the worse. It is the point at which the nation of Juda-- the Jewish nation-- formally sets themselves in opposition against Christ. And the opposition against him from this point onward mounts and continues to mount and rises higher and higher until finally they succeed in putting him on a cross and executing him.
What causes such hatred? What causes such persecution? What causes such opposition? Initially, it is this event that John will follow all the way to the end when Jesus is put on the cross. So that's important for you and I to remember as we go through this chapter and the next chapter and the rest of the chapters. As you'll see, all of the rumors they spread and all of the lies that they perpetrate and all of the backstreet conspiracies, it all stems from this incredible event.
So let's get into it. In verse one-- and you know our style is we begin and we end when it's time to end. We pick it up next time when we gather. After this there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now, after this refers to the events in the previous chapter. We don't know how long after this this occurred. It could be up to a year or more. We also don't know what feast this is in Jerusalem. We are not told, which is interesting, at least to me.
It's interesting to me because one of the things I've noted in John's writings is that he is typically careful in telling us which festival Jesus is celebrating, whether it's Passover or the feast of dedication in the wintertime-- Hanukkah-- or the Feast of Tabernacles in chapter seven. It's just a feast. Most scholars believe it is indeed the Feast of Tabernacles is it takes place in the fall-- the autumn of the year.
But we're not told. John just says, "After this, there was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." Why did Jesus go up to Jerusalem? Well, it's interesting. According to the law-- you know this now, because you've been with us in our studies of the Old Testament-- that Jewish males in Judah were required to attend three festivals every year-- Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
Now, if you lived in Galilee, you weren't necessarily required to make them all, but Jesus made this one because he wants to show mercy in a place that was filled with misery. Now, something that is also interesting to me is that Jesus-- though the Jewish leaders hate him and come to vehemently hate him-- Jesus works through the system that he was born into. He was born Jewish. He was circumcised as a child on eighth day according to Judaism. He went up to Jerusalem as a child of 12 turning 13 to be bar mitzhahed in Jerusalem. He was in the synagogue for worship service on the Sabbath days. He wore the tassels that Jewish males wore-- the robe with the colored tassels that marked them as men under the covenant of Judaism-- a relationship with God so that the woman who touch the hem of Jesus' garment was touching the tassels that hung from that hem of his garment.
And he, himself, said do not think that I've come to destroy the law and the profits. I didn't come to destroy them, but to fulfill them. So he goes up and he keeps the feast, he goes through the ritual. He uses this feast to touch a man in great need, as we will see.
"Now there is, in Jerusalem--" verse two-- "by this sheep gate, a pool--" which is called, in Hebrew, beth esda-- Bethesda, in English. The house of or the place of mercy. Whenever you see those letters B-E-T-H, beth or beth, it means house or place of. So beth lehem-- Bethlehem-- same thing-- House of or place of lehem-- bread. It's the breadbasket of Israel. Beth esda-- Bethesda-- house of, the place of mercy.
Now, it says this by the sheep gate. Most of us don't know where the sheep gate is and the only other reference that we find to it is in the book of Nehemiah-- I believe chapter three-- when the sheep gate is also mentioned. But the sheep gate was a place by the wall of the city of Jerusalem where sheep were kept outside.
And why sheep? For the sacrifices in the temple. They would be taken to this pool of Bethesda which is believed to be about two to three feet deep, or it was at the time. Animals were washed in that pool-- these sheep-- and then taken to the temple for sacrifice.
There were many pools in and around Jerusalem. And this is an interesting pool because for years skeptics-- unbelievers-- said, you can't rely on the documents of the New Testament. They are totally unreliable. There are stories they cannot be collaborated or corroborated by archeology or history. For example, there's no record in Roman history of a guy named Pontius Pilate, and then they found an inscription in Caesarea that said Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judah. And all they could say then was, oops.
And another one that they loved to wave around was this Pool of Bethesda. They said, there's never been any archaeological evidence or records of a pool called the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, especially of this magnitude, until several years ago. They were digging around by this sheep gate, an area called Saint Anne's Church and they discovered this five porched-- to five colonnaded pool-- that matches this description. And they said they discovered the Pool of Bethesda.
Again, all the skeptic could say is, oops. Well, we'll look for something else, then, and they do until that is then thrown out. But this is one of those sticking points with many unbelievers for awhile.
So there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk-- sick people-- blind, lame, paralyzed. Here's an interesting footnote-- waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water. Then, whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well of whatever disease he had.
If you are not reading the translation that I'm reading to you-- you may have the new international version or the ESV or a number of other newer translations-- you will notice that either that one verse is not in there or it's hyphenated on both sides to indicate that the oldest manuscripts that have been found do not have this verse in it.
All of that to say-- to make it really simple-- it was believed-- it became a legend because a subterranean spring fed this pool, evidently. And the subterranean spring the fed this pool would let in water every now and then and it would bubble up. And so when it would bubble up-- keep in mind, we're dealing with an ancient people, and in antiquity people believed all sorts of crazy superstitious things.
So a legend developed that the bubbling of the water was due to an angel who would stir it up and whoever got there first would be healed. Which presents a problem if you're an impotent folk. Because you can't sometimes get anywhere, let alone get somewhere first. So you have lots of people who can't help themselves-- now, what a cruel way to view God's power.
Can you imagine God saying, I'm going to do this miracle but I'm going to have an angel stir up the water. But whoever gets there first is only one that can be healed. Ooh, you got there second-- milliseconds after, but you didn't get there first so go away till next time. It became a legend developed that it was an angel that stirred it up. They had to have some explanation for this stirring up of the water.
Now, a certain man was there who added infirmity for 38 years. Let me tell you just a little bit about this pool. If you can picture-- well, picture-- I'll use my Bible, even though it's falling apart so I'll hold it really tight. It's rectangular, right? How many sides are there? Four sides. Now, can you imagine a porch-- a covered porch around all four sides of that Bible-- that rectangle? So that's four porches, one, two, three, four. And then another porch dividing it in half. So you have two pools, essentially, seen as one pool, right? But it's divided in two by a colonnaded porch, so you have five porches. And that is what they discovered by Saint Anne's Church in Jerusalem-- the Pools of Bethesda, the archaeological dig.
So imagine these large two to three feet deep pools of water seen as one area-- the Pool of Bethesda-- five covered porches. Covered would keep people out of the heat, would protect them from the elements. And it was used for a congregation of all sorts of diseased people.
One scholar believes that there were about 300 people that would congregate under those covered porches around the pool of Bethesda on normal times-- during normal hours, normal parts of the year. But during festivals like this, there were upwards of 3,000 people-- it grew to 10 times the normal population of sick people.
So I'm telling you this because I want you just to imagine the site and the smell people who are diseased, who can't move, who have bed sores gathered in this humid area, the kind of disease that could spread. And you can understand that most people-- especially the aristocratic people-- nobody would come to that area unless you were really miserable.
First time I visited a third-world hospital I was shocked. You think of a hospital in the United States, it's sterile and there are certain criteria that you have follow. You got to wash your hands before you get in, you wash your hands during the day. But if you go to a third-world hospital-- I've been in Africa where I've seen two patients to one bed. They didn't know each other, they were unrelated, they had different diseases but they were in because they ran out of beds.
So two patients to a single little cot. Families gathered around the bed on the floor with cooking stoves, cooking meals for the patient because the hospital didn't provide that. And I've tasted hospital food, probably the food they're cooking is better than most hospitals anyway. In that environment it was a shocking. I thought, this is a hospital? This is where you come to die. And no doubt, many people who gathered there thought the same thing.
So there was a certain man who was there who had an infirmity for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and he knew that he had already been in that condition a long time he said to him, do you want to be made well? So Jesus comes in-- he's a stranger to all those people gathered. He's surveying the crowd-- all of these sick people. They've had diseases of different kinds for several years. He surveys the pile-- the heap of humanity-- but his eyes land on one person. A man who worked for almost four decades had been in a very miserable condition.
Now, there's a principle here. I just don't want you to escape from seeing it. Mercy toward others begins by how you see them. Jesus saw him and he knew something about him-- he knew his medical history, knew his physical history. But Jesus looked him-- and it all begins with a look. In Matthew, chapter nine, Jesus saw the crowd. It says he had compassion when he saw the multitudes. They were like sheep without a shepherd-- they were weary, they were scattered. And when Jesus saw them he had compassion on them.
Mercy toward others begins by how you view them. I don't always view a crowd with compassion. I sometimes am guilty by viewing a crowd of people as a nuisance. What are they doing here? I hate lines. I want to get here first before all the selfish people do. That's my human nature. But if I just take a step back and go, but how would Jesus view them? These are like scattered, weary sheep-- they have no shepherd. And I could, by God's grace, decide to see people differently and have a heart of compassion.
Jesus saw him. He knew we had been this condition. And then listen to the question Jesus asked. Hey, do you want to get better? It's an unusual question. It sounds like a verse. In fact, if you were there maybe visiting somebody and you heard Jesus walk up to a man who had been in a condition like this for 38 years and ask them question, hey, do you want to get better? You might immediately think how cruel to ask a question like that.
Can you imagine walking up to somebody who any kind of disease-- cancer, couldn't walk, some kind of handicapped person and, say hey, you want to get better? Well, you might say, of course somebody would say, yeah. So it sounds like a cruel question, but it actually is a fair question
Jesus-- I believe-- is getting this man to focus on his issue, his problem, his helplessness, how bad the condition really is. The man says-- well, I'm giving it away so let's just read it. I get a little caught in and then I forget to read it.
Said, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. But while I am coming, another steps down before me." And Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk."
Now, let me make another suggestion. Not only is Jesus getting the man to focus on how impossible his situation is before he heals him-- to show him mercy. But to ask him, do you really want to change your condition?
I mean, think of how radical that change would be. This man for 38 years has been an invalid. He has been living off whatever gratitude he could get-- the free will offerings of anybody who had some kind of mercy. Up on the street there were people who were working, carrying heavy burdens for pennies.
If you get better, your whole life is going to change. You are going to take on a whole level of responsibility you have never known before. Do you really want to change? Do you really want that kind of responsibility?
On television a while back, there was a special on people who are panhandlers who are asking for money on freeways in downtown, et cetera. And I'm not saying-- and neither did this show say-- that all people do this, but the researchers discovered there are a fair amount of people who understand that if you hold up a sign and you look a certain way that you will incur the guilt response of people who drive by.
And they showed that one guy was getting $300 a day. And he knew it was easy money and he knew how to put on the show. And the Seattle newspaper even said-- and I read it today-- there's a couple in Seattle who are pulling down $800 a day holding up a sign asking for money. So if you were to ask one of those folks, do you really want to change? Well, I don't know. I'm not doing much here, and I'm living off of the free will offerings of people.
Jesus is highlighting the impossibility of asking the man to search his own heart if he really wants to see a change in that. But he says-- focused on his problem-- "I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. But while I am coming, another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk."
Again picture yourself-- you're there, you're that person visiting a friend who's in a miserable condition, you're helping that person out and you're overhearing this conversation. Hey, you want to get better? Well, man, I don't have anybody to help me. Well, just pick up your bed to get out of here.
Now, at this point you're tempted to reel around completely and lock eyes with the stranger and go, I don't know who you think you are but the cruelest thing you could ever do is to give an impossible command to a person in this condition. You want to see what it's like? Going to the hospital tomorrow. Walk down the hallway to somebody who just got of surgery and say, get up. And watch how long you last in that ward. There'll be a nurse in there lickety split, you'll be kicked out.
But here's the deal. When she's this gives you a command to do something he always gives you the power-- the strength-- to do that command. Well, it sounds impossible. It is impossible, but when Jesus gives you the command it's no longer impossible-- it's possible. He wouldn't give you a command unless he would give you the strength to obey that command.
So the Lord might be telling you, love that person in your life that you're having difficulty with. Oh, I can't-- it's impossible. I don't feel any love toward them. Jesus didn't say feel love toward them. He said love them, and love is an action-- it's a verb. Demonstrate love to them. It's not about how you feel. And you will discover something when you decide I'm going to will bay that seemingly impossible command it becomes possible. The Lord gives you a love you never knew existed in you-- your feelings start changing.
Or I want you to serve me. Oh, I can't do that-- remember, the Lord told Moses, Moses, I'm going to call you to be a spokesman before Pharaoh. I-I- I-I- I- I-I- I st- st- st- stutter. It's effectively what he said. I'm a man of uncircumcised lips, I can't speak. Da-da da-da da-da that's all, folks. Do member that cartoon? Some of you. I'm dating you if you do. The most unlikely person to be the spokesperson did it.
Jesus said, Peter, get out of that boat and come and walk. Well, it's impossible for a man to walk on the water but Peter started to do it. He found that in obeying the command he found the capacity. What is the Lord telling you that's impossible? Go for it. Do it. Take a step, watch what happens.
Immediately, the man was made well and he took his bed and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews, therefore, said to him who was cured it is the Sabbath. It's not lawful for you to carry your bad. I'm amazed by this, honestly. I think if I was there and there's a guy that's been there 38 years and suddenly he's walking around, the first words out of my mouth are, wow! How is that possible? Crazy! I'd be like, going nuts, wouldn't you? But it's the Sabbath.
In the Old Testament, there is the Sabbath law. The only problem with the Sabbath law in the Old Testament-- it's not specified as to what work you can't do on the Sabbath. Is just says this, on the Sabbath, keep it holy to the Lord. Don't do any customary work. Well, I think most people can figure out what customary work is.
But it's nonspecific, so as years went on the Jewish rabbis-- the leaders-- began to add it to the written commandments what is called the oral law. And they decided there were 39 different activities that a person could not do on the Sabbath, because if they did it was under the category of customary work.
For example, you couldn't look in the mirror on the Sabbath. You say what does that have to do with customary work? Well, their reasoning-- if you look in the mirror and you see a gray hair you're going to be tempted to pull it out. So you're going to be exerting energy to do that. That's customary work. That's forbidden on the Sabbath.
It's forbidden on the Sabbath-- I'm not making this stuff up-- on the Sabbath, you couldn't wear false teeth. Yes, they had them back then. Because if you wore false teeth on the Sabbath, they might fall out on the floor and you would then stoop down to pick them up. Thus, you are now bearing a burden on the Sabbath day. Is that crazy?
What is a burden? I am glad you asked. A burden, according to the oral law, was anything that weighed equal to 2 figs-- dried figs. Anything that weighed equal or more than the weight of two dried figs was a burden. I don't know, I think I could carry five dried figs and it wouldn't be burdensome to me. Oh, but no.
So it became hard rest. Oh, it's so hard to remember how to rest. So here you have a group of people who can't rejoice that a guy who's been sick 38 years can walk because they're worried that it breaks the oral law.
And here are the point I want to make. The most vicious people I've met are religious legalists. They're the most vicious people in the body of Christ. They don't rejoice-- they have no joy in the betterment of another life as much did it violate the law that I have imposed over the written word of God? It's no fun to be around them.
This is the turning point for Jesus' whole ministry. He did it on the Sabbath which brought the ire of these enemies.
Verse 12, then they asked him, who is the man who said you take up your bed and walk? But the one who was healed did not know. Jesus didn't hand him a business card or here's my cellphone. I'm Jesus. If you haven't heard me yet you will soon, I'm the Messiah. He healed him and that was it.
For Jesus had withdrawn a multitude being in that place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the where? Temple. So he's in the Pool of Bethesda adjacent to the temple. He gets healed, he picks up his little mat, he walks to the temple. I love that-- goes to church. He wants to thank God. He wants to make up for lost time. He hadn't been able go to the temple ever. Almost four decades he's been in that condition. That I could have been his age. It could have just put a lifelong illness.
He picks his bed up, he's in the sample. Jesus finds him there. And he said to him-- verse 14-- see, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon you. The man departed and told the Jews it was Jesus who made him well. For this reason, the Jews persecuted Jesus.
Now, you see the word persecuted? It's in the present imperfect tense in the Greek language, which means they persecuted and continued to persecute and kept persecuting him. It was something that was ongoing and it mounted as the chapters move on. They persecuted Jesus and sought to kill him because he had done these things on the Sabbath.
Now, go back to that odd statement the Jesus made to the man. Sin no more lest a worst thing come upon you. What could be worse than what he's been through? What could be worse than four decades of being an invalid? What could be worse than this disease stealing the best years of his physical life? I'll tell you what could be worse. An eternity in hell.
An eternity in the hell could be far worse than the best years of your physical life being torn away from you by a disease. Suffering a lifetime physically is nothing compared to suffering eternity. Continue to sin-- no, don't practice sinning any longer lest a worse thing come upon you.
Now, I think I'm right when I say probably no one ever spoke to this man like this. No one spoke that candidly. And I've discovered most people don't speak candidly anyway to most people. It's all niceties and politeness. Jesus said, don't sin any more lest something worse come upon you. No one spoke so clearly, so candidly, so eternally like Jesus.
Why did he do it? Because he loved him. This is showing mercy, man. Do you not know that? How unmerciful it would be to just heal a person, better a person's life, and not give them any information about eternity. Well, I don't want to rock the boat, I don't want to hurt their feelings. Hurt their feelings. Not on purpose. Don't go out of your way and be like a Pharisee, but love someone enough to tell them the truth.
One of the most merciful things you can do is to be honest with scriptural truth-- it's merciful. If it's going to shock and jolt a person into the reality of life and death in heaven and hell than that's love-- that's pure love. That is pure mercy. Sin no more lest a worst thing come upon you. So preach the gospel-- that's the most merciful thing you could ever do.
Verse 17, but Jesus answered them, my Father has been working until now and I have been working. Now, this next section-- do you have a red letter Bible by any chance, any of you? OK, so just look at how much red is coming up. OK so that just means Jesus is going to launch into a speech-- a discourse. Now, this is a discourse about his identity.
If this was a seminary and this was a course on theology-- you know theology means the study of God. Theology is divided into other ologies. There is numetology, which is the study of the Holy Spirit. There is Christology, which is the study about Christ-- the doctrine of Christ. Here, you are getting a Christology from the lips of Christ, himself.
What does Jesus say about himself? How does he introduced himself? What does he say to that leaders-- even the antagonistic leaders-- about himself? What is Jesus' Christology? Does it match yours? Are you one of those people say, oh, I believe that Jesus lived as a historical figure and I believe is a wonderful guy-- a nice guy, a wonderful teacher, a model of humanity but he was not God in human flesh. He was not the incarnate Son of God, like some Christians beginning with Paul the Apostle, who made him into something he wasn't. Because you have problems with what Jesus said about himself.
What Jesus said about himself makes him a nut basket, a liar, deceiver, or he reveals his true identity as God. D.A. Carson put it this way, nobody can make these statements unless he's God or he's insane.
So Jesus now launches into a discourse about his equality with God the Father. And he does it by saying there are five ways he is equal with the Father. I want you to notice them.
Verse 17, my Father has been working until now and I have been working. I am equal with a Father in purpose. My Father in heaven doesn't take a vacation-- doesn't take a rest. I know it's the Sabbath, but he's exempt. He's got to keep the universe running. He didn't hit the Sabbath and go, I'm not doing anything. Just let whatever happens, happens. I'm just, like, out of here.
My Father's been working and I have been working. So he is equal with God in purpose. It's a great thought. While you're resting God is working. Now one of the Psalms-- I can't remember exactly which one-- but it says he that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. He works 24/7, man.
So you can be resting well God is working, which means-- listen to what this means-- why should you be worrying? If God is always working, why are you always worrying? Man, you should be resting. He's the one that's at work. He never takes a day off. My Father works until now-- has been working-- and I have been working is with God in purpose.
Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill him-- listen to this-- because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also said that God was his Father, making himself what? Equal with God.
Listen, Jesus' enemies knew exactly what he was saying. So when somebody comes along, be they're Jehovah Witness or a Mormon or a Muslim who say Jesus never a claimed to be God. Even the enemies of Jesus who did not believe or nor were they predisposed to believe that he was deity knew then he claimed to be God. He's making himself equal. And again, this is in the present imperfect tense.
Not only does he break a Sabbath but he continually, repetitive makes himself equal with God. And he did over and over and over again. He assumed prerogatives they can only be assigned to God. He said, I am the bread of life. Whoever takes of me will never hunger. I am the living water. Drink of this water, you'll thirst again. Whoever drinks of the water that I give will never thirst again. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Philip, if you have seen me you have seen the Father. I and the Father are one.
He claimed they could forgive sins. He said, son, your sins are forgiven, the man who was led down the paralytic by his friends in that house up in Galilee. And the religious leader said, no one can forgive sins except God. Exactly. You got it. You put two and two together. That was the whole point of saying your sins are forgiven out loud in front of them.
So he had the power to heal, he had the power to know everything-- he knew the man was in a condition like that for 38 years, he knew his medical history, he knew what people were about to say. He had all power, all authority. He was continually making himself equal with God.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, most assuredly I say to you the Son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do. For whatever he does, the Son also does in like manner. First of all, Jesus said, I'm equal with God in purpose. Now, he says, I'm equal with God the Father in performance. Whatever the Father does the Son does.
For the Father-- verse 20-- loves the Son and shows him all things that he himself does. And he will show him greater works than these that you may marvel, for as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom he will.
Now, Jesus says, I am equal with the Father in power. God the Father has life in himself and he can raise dead people, so can I. And he does. In fact, he says no one takes my life from me. I have the power to lay my own life down and the power to take it up again.
Verse 22, for the Father judges no one but is committed all judgment to the Son-- this is the fourth way Jesus says he is equal with the Father. He's equal with God in the proclamation of judgment. That all-- verse 23-- should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
It's the fifth way he says he's equal with God. He's equal with God in praise. If he is working harmoniously sharing the purposes, prerogatives, the performance, the power with the Father, then he deserves the same praise that the Father is given. that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.
Folks, how can you ever say Jesus didn't say he was God? His enemies said he's always saying he's God. He's continually making himself equal with God. Most assuredly, I say to you, here here's my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but is passed from death into life.
Basically, all people will be judged. All people will be judged. Believers will be judged and unbelievers will be judged. Believers will be judge-- second Corinthians, five-- for we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive those things done in our bodies, whether good or bad.
This is the judgment for believers. Believers will stand before Christ one day to be rewarded for being faithful to do what he's called us to do. Or we will not get the reward because of the motivation that we used to do what we did, or we didn't do what we were called to do.
So our rewards in Heaven are based upon what we do after we're saved. You'll get a reward-- it has nothing to do with your eternal salvation, that happen at the crossed-- you passed from death into life. But you'll stand before the judgment seat of Christ-- the Bema Seat of Christ, it was called by the Greeks. A raised platform where rewards we're given and edicts we're given. So we'll stand before Christ to be evaluated on our works that we did after we came to Christ.
Unbelievers-- the second judgment is for unbelievers. Unbelievers will be judged 1,000 years after the Resurrection spoken about in Revelation, chapter 20. It's called the Great White Throne Judgment. It's where all of those unbelieving dead are raised to live forever and be punished by God forever and ever. That's the Great White Throne Judgment that is spoken of for unbelievers.
Most assuredly-- verse 25-- let me just touch on something before we get to that and finish this section up. What Jesus is saying-- nutshell, bottom line-- if you've seen me, you've seen the Father. If you want to know what God is like, all you got to do is look at Jesus. All you got to do is watch Jesus. All you have to do is listen to Jesus.
When you see Jesus being compassionate over a crowd, you're seeing the heart of God in his love for people. When you see Jesus healing a man who's been in this condition 38 years, you're saying that the heart of God being moved by human suffering. When you see and hear Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, you are seeing God broken hearted over the unbelief of his own people.
So what this means is when we are talking to the Lord, our Father in Heaven in Jesus' name, we're dealing with somebody who left Heaven, came to Earth. In coming to Earth, he understands all of the pain that we experience on this Earth.
Hebrews, chapter four, we do not have a high priest who is unsympathetic with our weaknesses or problems. But he was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. So we're dealing with somebody who came to this Earth and understands all of the pains of the Earth, but has all the resources of Heaven.
He's not aloof, he's not detached, he's been here, he's walked here, he's felt, rejection isolation, loneliness, physical pain, torture. He understands when you talk to him, when you pray to him. So he understands all the pains of the Earth but he has all the resources of Heaven because he is the God man. I love that thought about him.
Most assuredly-- verse 25-- I say to you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father as life in himself, so he has granted the Son to of life in himself and has exalted him or has given him authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of Man.
Do not marvel at this for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth. Those who have been good, to the Resurrection of life. Those who have done evil, to the Resurrection of condemnation.
So in terms of time, there's two kinds of Resurrection I said for believers and unbelievers. But think about in terms of time. If you're a believer, your judgment is past tense. You have passed from death to life because you believe in Jesus. So the judgement was taken out on Jesus at the cross, so you skip the condemnation judgment of the future. You will only be judged-- and I'll only be judged-- and given rewards based on what we did for Christ or have a reward withheld because of what we didn't do or our motivations.
But the condemnation is past tense-- it's on Jesus. If you're an unbeliever, the judgment is yet future, and that's the condemnation of Revelation, chapter 20-- the Great White Throne Judgment. But for us, there is, therefore, now no condemnation-- Romans 8, one to those who are in Christ, Jesus.
Verse 30, I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge and my judgment is righteous because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of me and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true.
You have sent to John and he has borne witness to the truth, yet I do not receive the testimony from man but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the burning lamp and shining lamp and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his life. But have a greater witness than John's, for the work's which the Father has given me to finish, the very works that I do bear witness of me that the Father sent me.
Now, what does all that mean? Well, we're going to have to wait till next time to uncover what all that means, but I'll give you a hint. If you know a lawyer it will make sense. And I say that a good way. There's no lawyer jokes behind here. I've gotten chastised for my share of lawyer jokes in the past. And there's a lot of great ones. But I'm withholding myself.
But it has to do with a courtroom setting and Jesus acting in a courtroom fashion, calling witnesses to the bench. We'll get to that next timee-- it's fascinating. Let's pray.
Father, we want to thank you that we've had the opportunity to gather in the presence of your people to just watch, to hear, to see Jesus dealing with somebody who was in such difficult circumstances as this man who was sick for 38 years-- debilitated, unable to help himself. And how he loved the fact that our great Savior helps those who cannot help themselves-- can do for a person, not only physically but spiritually what is impossible to have done.
Thank you for your mighty work on our behalf. Even though Jesus was completely misunderstood and completely marginalized by the religious leadership.
Lord, I pray that you would help us to be able to see better than we've seen in the past. To look at crowds-- to look at people-- not as an inconvenience, not a standing in the way, not as a bother. But as an opportunity-- a blessing. A way to extend mercy to them. To see them with eyes of compassion, eyes of love, the eyes of mercy.
And Father, I pray that whatever it is you are calling us to do-- as impossible as it might sound to us-- we would simply take a step of obedience where we would be met with the power and the strength to pull it off. In Jesus' name we ask, Amen.
If you've missed any of our Expound studies, all of our services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.