Friday, April 29, 2016

Pivotal Passages- The Daunting Questions of Truth- John 5

All Scripture is amazing!

But I always stop at places I call "Pivotal Passages'- things so different, so deep, or show such a dramatic change that it gives me pause.

John 5 is one amazing passage of Scripture.

I keep coming back to it over and over and dwelling on those who become the sworn enemies of Jesus... those who swore to serve God Himself!

B.B. Warfield comments on this sudden change in John's gospel:

“The fifth chapter of John marks one of the great turning points of his narrative. Up to this point, he has given us great typical representations of how Jesus wrought faith in the hearts of His hearers... Now he begins to show us the development of the opposition. Here we have laid bare the springs, nature and deeds of unbelief... “In the fifth chapter the grounds of unbelief are laid bare to us, as rooted in an essentially self-seeking and worldly spirit.” B. B. Warfield. “Faith and Life.” iBooks.

Meditating on this passage brings great sadness to me.... mainly because the opposition that Jesus encounters is NOT from the heathens and sinners... the men seeking to destroy Jesus, the one's who are in the fatal grasp of dark, Satanic delusion and destruction are the religious ones. The ones who at some point devoted their life and calling to Jehovah.

Let's look at this passage- it is such a sudden change in the narrative, you feel the chill winds of opposition that will eventually culminate in the violent agony of the cross.

I am going to put in bold the daring 'Questions of Truth?"- Don't skim over them... these are dramatic pauses where you need to consider your eternal existence....

[1] After this (the woman at the well in Samaria and healing the official's son in Cana, Galilee)

there was a feast of the Jews (Passover), and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  

Jesus was directed in His ministry often to attend the big feasts and festivals.... I think we miss sometimes that He enjoyed life and likely squeezed every minute out of His day on mission and on purpose.... but I can only imagine times of smiling and rejoicing... but also with the Spirit leading Him.

[2] Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.

Don't overlook the gospels when they mention places.... this allows the Scriptures to be authenticated....these places exist... and we have no record of the critics or enemies AT THE TIME these letters and manuscripts were being spread... these accounts were close enough to the sources that living witnesses were available to correct and confirm....

 [3] In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 

Does it ever strike you that Jesus didn't heal EVERYONE? Think about that..... there is so much we don't know about the plans and purposes of God.... what about the lame man that Jesus did not heal that day? Who's to say that the eternal reward being built up for that man will so extinguish the earthly pain and misery that we will praise God with unimaginable awe struck emotions beyond words? We just do not see as God already sees and He is unbound by time.... these are mere seconds....

[5] One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 

The man was an invalid before the earthly Jesus was even born.... but the Sovereign King of all creation had carefully guided everything to right this minute......

[6] When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed? 

Seems like a silly question..... but this is something to ponder. Any coach, parent, psychologist, employer will attest to this... 'I cannot help anyone who, in reality, doesn't really want to be helped'.

And this is not a point to debate Calvinism and Arminianism.... let's not go there...

This is a SIMPLE and HONEST question that CANNOT be answered in a quick reply... we all say 'Yes"- but is that the HONEST ANSWER...

Let me put it this way.... you find out you have a terminal illness... and you research it... and finally know the ONLY answer.... the region you are living in has a toxic gas that you are allergic to.

The doctor has assured you (and you agree that it is a true diagnosis) that if you pack up and moved just 100 miles away, you will live. But if you stay, you will slowly die and at some point the damage is irreversible.

And, instead of leaving immediately, you start debating with yourself. You LOVE where you live... it is the place of your friends and interests- you have invested so much time and work here, you have a reputation and status here....

So you start thinking.... OK, I need to leave... hmmm? Just not
Maybe next week...
Maybe things will change....
Maybe we are wrong......

Do you really WANT to be healed? If so, you will DO whatever it takes....... if you refuse to do... are you saying you really DON"T WANT to be healed?????

[7] The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”

Maybe a deflection..... but possibly an honest answer... "I can't do this without outside help". Some people are invalids, yet they think they can still cure themselves and refuse help from anyone else. That pride is going to keep you an invalid...for decades and possibly, for eternity......

 [8] Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” [9] And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. 

As much as I would like to elaborate and debate on monergistic salvation and synergistic sanctification.... I will REFUSE.

Jesus calls in power and authority. But we do respond. Our works do NOT save us.... but if there is NO RESULT from the call of Christ... was there a call? Why are we refusing to respond the calling of Jesus to be healed?????

Now that day was the Sabbath. 

Jesus does not waste anything... purposeful for the man, purposeful for the occasion as well....

[10] So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 

The Sabbath defenders attack! I pray I don't do this...Lord, help me show love and compassion.

[11] But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” [12] They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
 [13] Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 

Jesus withdraws and is distant at times- but always for a purpose and always for our good

[14] Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” [15] The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 

This is an interesting way to put it- sin is serious business- it has consequences- we play with it way too much! 

[16] And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 

The pharisees cannot see the forest from the trees- Jesus will say it very clearly at the end of this passage....

[17] But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” 

This is one of those great statements that you can take out and use...regardless of context- there is some working on the Sabbath.. it is a principle... and important one.... and if I am honest I will tell you that I don't remember the Sabbath and keep it holy like I should.... but our tendency to be legalists never ceases!

[18] This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Here is the charge,,,BLASPHEMY they know what Jesus is saying... and it deserves severe punishment...UNLESS IT IS TRUE. Also, don't you love that Jesus refers to God as FATHER!

[19] So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 

Jesus is our gift to see God in a human way.... remember what Paul said in Colossians 1?
He is the image of the invisible God....(Colossians 1:15 ESV)

[20] For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. [21] For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. [22] The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, [23] that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 

Here is a key component of judgment AND a reason for God's wrath.... it is all about what you have done with the Son... Love the Son and live... Honor the Son and receive honor... He is plenty worthy of it... BUT- disregard, dishonor, and dismiss the Son and you are in the direct line of fire for the Father's wrath.... not a scare tactic.. just a merciful truth... at least we have been told!

[24] Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 

This sounds so simple.... is it too simple for you to believe? We trust simple things all the time. We trust light switches to do their job, we trust pencils to lay down carbon lines, we sit in chairs in rooms without a thought of testing them out---- and you know what is crazy? I have flipped switches with no power, groaned at pencils with no lead, and had chairs break underneath me.... God though has never failed me and never will.

[25] “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 

In great humility I profess that you are reading one of these dead men's testimonies... I was so lost, so lonely, and so empty until the beautiful voice of the Savior called to me... He will bring the death to life even today... maybe as you are reading this... and now LIVE!

[26] For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. [27] And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. [28] Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice [29] and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. 

Please do not miss this... it may be 'easy' to be a skeptic... it may be cool to keep Jesus at arm's length... but Jesus has told you the truth... all evil will burn in an unspeakable wrath... does that not give us chills?

 [30] “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

No one will be able to accuse Jesus on the day of judgment

Now we come to irrefutable evidences and testimony about WHO Jesus is... pay attention to the evidence- it is NOT subjective.. this is authoritative and trustworthy testimony:
The testimony of John the Baptist
The voice of God at His baptism
The works of Jesus
The Sacred Scriptures

After this... we will have the death and resurrection and finally the blood confirmed testimony of the apostle....

Read the evidence for yourself:

 [31] If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. [32] There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. [33] You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. [34] Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. [35] He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [36] But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. [37] And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, [38] and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. [39] You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

But for some reason, evidence is always rejected by those unwilling to come....

 [40] yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

 [41] I do not receive glory from people. [42] But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. [43] I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 

Here is one of the saddest truth questions of all.....

[44] How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 

and the final irony? These men were the legal experts in the one knew Moses better than these religious zealots... but Jesus points out that their pride is their undoing....

[45] Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. [46] For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 

The Truth Question of Doom......

[47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” 

Do you get it? We can know things that we really don't believe.

Please, my friend struggling in doubt, submit in love to Jesus...come on home... the battle's over- Christ has won!

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