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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Healing Paralytic at Pool of Bethesda – New Healer -- Part 3

Jesus finds this healed invalid a second time

Jesus has not abandoned or forgotten this healed man. Jesus continues to seek him. He finds the healed man in the temple, so he is a Jew. Jesus will use this man's miraculous healing to teach him a spiritual truth. Jesus says to the man, “See you are made whole” but also Jesus adds, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” v14 Sin brings spiritual death and destruction. Jesus out of His love for this man warns this man to stop sinning so nothing worse would happen to him. Jesus always mixes grace with truth. Jesus had shown His mercy, love and compassion to this man through His miraculous healing. Now Jesus will speak the truth – “stop sinning.” This “new man” must commit his life to Christ so the power of the Holy Spirit can help him stop sinning. Those who truly love Jesus and are grateful for all that He has done for them will commit to putting sin out of their lives. 1 John 3:6: “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning.” Because there is no sin in Jesus, those who are “in Him” should not want to bring sin into Him through our lives. Instead, we are to ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us remove the sin within us. Sanctification comes with our calling. Jesus said we are to be holy as He is holy.

Jesus knows that sin puts us in bondage. There is no freedom in it! Jesus loves us enough not to withhold truth from us no matter how uncomfortable it may make us feel.

The healed man now knows Jesus and calls Him by name. Jesus had just saved a whole town of Samaritans, now He will get His message to the Jews through this healed man. Jesus taught the Samaritans about living water. Now He has healed this Jewish man with the living water of His Holy Spirit and Word. The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well (whole). V15 He had met grace and truth and now goes to tell the Jewish religious leaders who healed him on the Sabbath. This man was not only physically healed, He was spiritually healed by Jesus. His sin is forgiven and His life is restored. Sin cripples and paralyzes us from moving forward in our walk with Jesus.

Jesus' Sermon – John 5:16-47

Jesus will use the prevailing circumstances to teach the Truth. The eyes of the Jewish religious leaders are now off of the healed invalid and are now on Jesus but not in a good way. The Bible says that these Jewish religious leaders were persecuting Jesus for His words and actions. Jesus began a long discourse to these leaders in response. He begins by revealing His relationship with the Father.

Jesus' Relationship with His Father

“My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him, not only was He breaking the Sabbath but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. vv17-18 Jesus has referred to God as “the Father” previously, but this is the first time in the Gospel of John that Jesus calls God “My Father.” As Christ's Father, God is united with Jesus in the closest bond of love and intimacy. They are as One. Jesus shares in God's divine nature and knows the mind, thoughts and heart of His Heavenly Father.  Jesus is in such perfect harmony with the Father that His works and miracles are also the work of the Father.  Jesus also knows God's will and plans for salvation and His Truth.

Jesus wants all within the sound of His voice to know and experience the same intimate and loving relationship that He and the Father share, not to see the Father as a strict Judge to be dreaded. When we are in Christ, there is no need to dread God because God sees us through His Son whom He loves with an eternal love and with whom God is well-pleased. Jesus didn't tell the healed invalid to stop sinning for fear of judgment but He warned the man that sin will have its consequences. We can't blame God for our own wrong choices and the consequences. Now that the man knows Jesus, there is no fear of judgment or condemnation. However, there are consequences to choices made outside of God's Word and Will. From the place of love, Jesus told the healed invalid to stop sinning so nothing would bind him or separate him from knowing the fullness of God. Sin would be a barrier to this close and intimate relationship with the Father that He and Jesus shared.

God is so reverenced by the Jews that they would never even suggest that they were equal with God or use such an intimate name when referring to God. Calling God “My Father” would be blasphemous and would indicate equality with God. Instead of recognizing the good works that Jesus was doing, these religious leaders were intent upon accusing, condemning and destroying Him. They had no mercy. He had broken the Sabbath and now is claiming equality with God the penalty of which is death. Eventually they did have Jesus put to death but not until God's time.

Since the fall in the beginning of Genesis, the Godhead has not stopped seeking and saving the lost. Jesus also came to seek and save those who are lost. The Godhead will not stop working until the final Day of the Lord. The Godhead works in harmony and in purpose. They are also upholding the universe and all therein. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can only do what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does. Yes, to your amazement, He will show Him even greater things than these.” 5:19-20 Jesus could do nothing by Himself. He only does what He sees the Father doing. While Jesus walked the earth, He had to depend upon the Father and the Holy Spirit to keep Him in all His ways. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are workers with God. God and the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do their works as He walked in His flesh body. Jesus and the Holy Spirit within Him would not work independent of the Father. They were a unit! The devil tried to get Jesus to act independent of the Father when he tempted Him in the wilderness but Jesus never used His Divine power for Himself or to act independent of God. He could do nothing without God, just as Jesus says we can do nothing without Him.

Because God loves His Son Jesus, He shows Jesus all that He does. Love is always the motivation of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to those who love Jesus. Jesus did what the Father showed Him also out of His love for His Heavenly Father. If the Jewish religious leaders had a problem with Jesus, they had a problem with God because the Father and Son are One. If Jesus does only what the Father does and speaks only what the Father speaks, His works are pure.

Jesus tells these religious leaders that He will do even greater works than those He has already done. He will:

  • Raise the dead – “ For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it.” John 5:21 Jesus did this in the physical and in the spiritual. He raised three people from the dead: Jairus' daughter, the widow's son and Lazarus. Ithe young and the old; male and female; Jew and Gentile) All who are dead in sin who hear and receive the Word of God – both the Living Word Jesus and the written Word – will be raised to eternal spiritual life. Jesus' resurrection power is more than just raising a physical body from death. He raises the spiritually dead to eternal spiritual life.
  • Judge humanity – “The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22-23 God placed Jesus as Judge over all the earth. “And He (Father) has given Him (Jesus) the authority to judge, because He is the Son of Man.” Jesus had the same power as God. The Jews knew that God is Judge so they understood that Jesus was claiming to be God. Christ's judgment is righteous because He does nothing independent of His Holy Father. He can judge mankind because He is perfect, holy Man and is also God. Because He is holy, Jesus will Judge righteously. Whoever honors the Son also honors the Father.
  • Equal authority with God – Jesus said they would honor the Son as they honor the Father. When we honor Jesus by our actions, words and deeds, we honor the Father also because they are One. Jesus is God's chosen and sent Ambassador. An ambassador is to be as respected and honored as the one who sent him. Jesus was sent by the Father with all of His Father's authority. His holiness and authority was and is unquestionable.

These claims of Jesus were considered blasphemous and infuriated the religious leaders. The result of Jesus' claims to be God was even greater opposition. To reject the Sent One is to reject the Sender! The Lord told Samuel this when the Jews rejected Samuel as their judge (ruler). (1 Samuel 8:7) When we reject an chosen, anointed one of God, we reject God who sent him or her. Jesus is God's authorized Ambassador. An ambassador is to be honored and respected as great as the One they represent.

If we are given eternal life and are made holy through Jesus, we cannot go into judgment. This is no longer possible because we are hidden in a holy, righteous Man who is God. All of humanity was within the first holy man – Adam. Those who believe in Jesus are once again in one holy Man – Jesus. When we stand at the judgment seat of Christ, it will not be for punishment for sin. He will judge our works for His and the Father's Kingdom. Let's pray that He will say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

Whoever Hears My Word – John 5:24-27

I tell you the Truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the Truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. “

Jesus only speaks Truth. Jesus is the Word of God and the possessor of eternal life, so He can give eternal life to others. This nobleman had just heard and believed Jesus' Word and his son lived. Jesus will now take this into the spiritual realm. Without Jesus and the Holy Spirit, our spirit is dead. Jesus says that the dead will hear His voice (Word) and will live eternally. Hearing and believing the voice (Word) of Jesus will breathe spiritual eternal life into us. And, because He is sinless and eternal and we who love and follow are in Him, we too cannot be condemned and are declared holy in Him.

God showed through the prophet Ezekiel how His Word and Holy Spirit can bring life to dead, dry bones. (see Ezekiel 37:1-14) These dry, dead bones represented people. “These bones are the whole house of Israel.” v11 The whole house of Israel was spiritually dead because of rebellion against God. God told Ezekiel to prophesy to these dry, dead bones, “Dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.” Ezekiel was taken to this valley of dry bones by the Spirit. So Ezekiel was in the Spirit when he spoke to these dead bones that were without life. The voice/Word of the Lord, who is Jesus and always will be, spoke through Ezekiel, “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin, I will put breath in you and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” When Ezekiel obeyed and spoke the Word of the Lord, the bones came together, bone to bone, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them yet. Jesus will bring spiritual life to those who are dead in sin, disconnected, scattered and without hope. He will join His fleshly Body of believers bone to bone so they are one Body,and give us compassionate hearts instead of stony hearts.

Then the Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath and call it forth. The Word of God brought these dry, dead bones to life in the flesh and the Holy Spirit breathed spiritual life, strength and power into them to hold them together. Ezekiel had to speak the Word of life and call forth the wind of the Holy Spirit to breathe life into them. Those with new life stood up on their feet – a vast army. In other words, they stood uprightly and became a vast army against their enemies. This is a picture of those who believe in the Word of God –Jesus – and have the Holy Spirit (breath) within them. God was speaking to earthly Israel here, but He was painting a picture of the Body of Christ – spiritual Israel (all those who strive with God as Jesus does) – who believe in Jesus and have the breath of the Holy Spirit within and without. In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Jesus breathed spiritual life and power into His disciples. Jesus could give the Holy Spirit because He was full of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was fulfilling this vision of Ezekiel. All who love and follow Jesus – whether Jew or Gentile – are members of His united Body and are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

As the Word of God told the Israelites through the prophet Ezekiel that He would open their graves and call them out of them, Jesus says that “all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” Jesus' voice is His Word. It is His Anointed Word that rises us to new, spiritual life in Him. At the sound of the final trumpet, All will rise but some to eternal life and some to eternal death. In the meantime, followers of Christ are to be speaking the Anointed Word by the breath of the Holy Spirit to bring spiritual eternal life to others.

Witness/Testimony About Jesus – John 5:31-47

The Word of God says that every Word must be established by two or three witnesses. Jesus is showing His disciples who has testified of Him. He begins with “if I testify about Myself, My testimony isn't valid. There is another who testifies in My favor, and I know that his testimony about Me is valid.” John 5:31-32 Jesus' own testimony about Himself would not be valid. It must come from two or three others according to the Law. (see Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:5) Witnesses were important in religious and legal matters. Jesus upheld this requirement in Matthew 18, and the Apostle Paul and Titus did in 2 Corinthians 12:1 and 1 Titus 5:19. The Godhead also honored this in the three sections of the Word of God that testify of Jesus as the Savior and Lord – Old Testament, New Testament and Revelation.

Those who testify:

1. John the Baptist – “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth......John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.” John was a lamp that pointed to the Light of the world. God revealed in Psalm 132:7 that He would set up a lamp for His Anointed One. John was that lamp who cast the light upon Jesus. John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God and the Son of God. Jesus is called the “Lamp” in Revelation 21:23., “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” When Jesus walked the earth in His flesh body, He was a lamp that revealed the light and glory of God. He still does in the heavenly realm. Jesus reflected the glory and light of the Father just as the Older Testament whom John the Baptist represented is a lamp that pointed to the Light of the world – Jesus. And, we are Jesus' lamp and are to reflect His light and glory.

Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promise to King David that he would have a lamp that would never go out.

God's Promise to King David Regarding the Lamp

First, God chose the place of David's lamp – Jerusalem. 1 Kings 11:36: “I will give one tribe to his (David's) son so that David My servant may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put My Name.”

Next God established Jerusalem and put David's son (Solomon) who would build God's temple on the throne. It would be the son of the father who would build God's temple. This, of course, is a picture of Jesus, the Son of God, who in the flesh is a descendant of David and the tribe of Judah and would build God's temple in the hearts of His followers. God promised David that He would give him a lamp that would burn forever. 2Kings 8:19: “Nevertheless, for the sake of His servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his sons forever.” (see also 2 Chronicles 21:7) The Lord swore an oath to David. One that He will not revoke. (see Psalm 132:11) No human could fulfill this because we are mortal. The Lamp that would burn forever is Jesus who is the Lamp in the New, spiritual Jerusalem. The lamp went out in Jerusalem because the Israelites rejected the Lord at times. Only One who is immortal and holy could fulfill this promise of God to David. Nothing can be forever except through Jesus. David was a mere mortal, but his descendant Jesus is eternal. God says in this psalm that He will set up a lamp for His Anointed One in Zion. (see Psalm 132:17) Not only will this Lamp shine brightly, He will also have great authority. Jesus fulfilled this.

David also said in Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” David knew that the written Word was as important as the Living Word Jesus because He is the whole Word of God brought to life.

A lamp is small and temporary but Jesus is the Light of the world.

John the Baptist was a temporary lamp who cast the his light upon the eternal Light of the world – Jesus. The Older Testament scriptures also was a temporary light that cast the its light upon the Eternal Light of the world – Jesus. John the Baptist completed the work God called him to do.

2. Father God – Jesus said He had “weightier testimony than that of John.” v36 “For the very work that the Father has given Me to finish and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice or seen His form, nor does His Word dwell within you, for you do not believe the One He sent.” vv36-37 Not only does Jesus' works testify of Him, the Father testified that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased right after John the Baptist baptized Him in the Jordan River. Jesus was fulfilling the Older Testament scriptures in front of them. The Word of God dwells fully in Jesus. He is the eternal voice of God and has seen God's form long before He came to earth as Man. If you don't believe in the Sent One, you will not believe in the Sender! God gave Jesus a specific ministry as He walked the earth. He had a Divine purpose and Divine works to do for the Father. His Divine works testified of Him.

3. Scriptures – “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.” vv 39-40 Jesus is telling His listeners that He is the whole Word of God. The Jewish religious leaders studied the scriptures and believed that they had eternal life, but Jesus is telling them that they can only have eternal life in Him of whom the scriptures speak. The scriptures alone cannot save a person. Only the Living Word Jesus Christ has eternal life. The only reason the scriptures breathe life into us is because Jesus is the holy,m powerful Word who gives spiritual life. Scripture in its entirety is Him. And, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the only ones who can open the scriptures and reveal truth. So without Jesus and the Holy Spirit, people will be blinded to the Truth. Jesus was in the scriptures of these Jewish leaders but they were blinded to it because they rejected Jesus. The very scriptures that these religious leaders used to condemn Jesus and defend themselves would one day condemn them for rejecting Jesus.

Jesus Knows Hearts

Jesus said to the religious leaders, “I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.” v41 The root of every sin is pride and a lack of Godlike love. These religious leaders loved the praise of men and their power. Jesus is the opposite of humans. He doesn't need the praise of men. He operates out of love for His Heavenly Father and love for mankind.

Jesus went on to say, “I have come in My Father's Name, and you do not accept Me, but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” vv41-44 God is the One who gives revelation, knowledge and wisdom so He is to be praised not men. These religious leaders praise one another and might even accept false Christs who are pretenders. The Jews who reject the True Christ are the very ones the Antichrist will fool. He will give them what the Jews have been praying for for years – peace in Jerusalem and a temple.

Moses Will Be Their Accuser

“But do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” John 5:45-47 The Law given to Moses accuses them because they cannot live it, just as Christians cannot live the Word of God fully, perfectly and completely! The Law condemns because no one can live up to it.  It, therefore, testifies against us showing that we are sinful and rebellious by nature.  Moses prophesied that this would happen in Deuteronomy 31:24-29. Moses wrote the whole Law in a book and handed it to the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant. He told commanded them to “take this book of the Law and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain a witness against you. For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to testify against them. For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and provoke Him to anger by what your hands have made.” Jesus is referring to these very scriptures when He said that they didn't believe what Moses wrote that accused them because they did exactly what Moses said they would do! 

We are all hopeless and helpless without Jesus and the Holy Spirit. These religious leaders put their hope in Moses, but Moses was just a man who couldn't enter God's Promised Land because He disobeyed the very word God had given him! We can't put our hope in man. We must put our hope in the Eternal Word, Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Moses and the Law witnessed about Jesus. Moses was the chosen servant-deliverer, lawgiver, mediator, intercessor and ruler over God's people but he was not without sin. Even Moses couldn't live up to the Law given by God. The penalty of disobeying one part of the Law was death. The various titles that Moses carried and performed are all fulfilled eternally in Jesus. He is God's Eternal Servant-deliverer, Lawgiver, Mediator between God and His people, Intercessor and Ruler over God's people. The Law is all about Jesus. This would take another book to explain. Jesus is the Feasts, the various offerings, the perfect Hebrew servant, the tabernacle and temple, the high priest and his garments, the shofar as the Word of God, etc. Some Israelites saw reduced shadows of God's glory and power, but Jesus is the fullness of His glory and power. The Law is alive and fulfilled in Christ. Moses indeed wrote of Him!

Jesus is telling these Jewish religious leaders that the very one they put their hope in – Moses – is no longer their advocate, intercessor and mediator with God, He is!  Moses was a human who pointed to the Greater than he – the Son of God Jesus – as all of the Older Testament scriptures do. When Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road of Emmaus after His resurrection, He opened three things: 1) their spiritual eyes; 2) the scriptures to show Himself in all of them; and 3) their understanding (minds). (see Luke 24:25-32, 45) Jesus is in the process of doing this today. May He open our minds so we will hear and understand what He is saying to His people.

Jesus said in Luke 24:44, “This is what I told you while I was still with you, ' Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.'”

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