Study Notes

John 5:15-29


Remember that last week we looked at Jesus healing a man who had been sick for 38 years. He had told the man to arise, take up his pallet, and walk. The Pharisees hassled the man for carrying the pallet on a Sabbath day.

John 5:10-13 Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet." But he answered them, "He who made me well was the one who said to me, 'Take up your pallet and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up {your pallet,} and walk'?" But he who was healed did not know who it was...

Later, the man found out who it was that healed him.

5:15 The Man Tells

You might think that the man telling the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him was some sort of betrayal. On the contrary, the man was obeying the Law of God and performing the will of God. Last Thursday night in Leviticus 5, we read...

Lev. 5:1 'Now if a person sins, after he hears a public adjuration {to testify} , when he is a witness, whether he has seen or {otherwise} known, if he does not tell {it} , then he will bear his guilt.

If you've been a witness and are told to testify, you are in sin if you do not. The Jewish leaders had asked him, "Who was the man who did this?" He didn't know, but once he found out, he witnessed. He was obeying the commandment of God and doing the will of God.

Now you have been commanded to be a witness as well. Jesus said,

Luke 24:48 "You are witnesses of these things.

Acts 1:8 ...You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

For the healed man to refuse to tell the people about Jesus Christ would have been a sin. So too for us.

5:16 On The Sabbath

Remember that they were bent out of shape because He was breaking their Sabbath laws. Not God's laws, but their laws.

God's law proclaimed,

Exod. 20:10 ...The seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work...

But man's law said, "If you have false teeth or a wooden leg, that is a burden you're carrying. Remove them on the Sabbath day." I read another interesting Sabbath law recently. The Jews' law dictated that you could not tie a rope on the Sabbath day, but the women were allowed to tie a knot their girdles. So if you needed to get water from a well on the Sabbath, you couldn't tie the rope, but a woman could tie her girdle to it, and to the bucket. Then just let the bucket down, and pull the water up!

Oh, the trouble we get into when we add to the Word of God! Man's religion is really the true burden!

5:17-19 Equal With God

The Jewish rulers really got steamed when Jesus called God His Father. He was making Himself equal with God!

Many enemies of Christ will tell you that Jesus never claimed to be God, but here His enemies clarify it for us.

In chapter 10, they will tell us again:

John 10:33 ..."You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."

In chapter 8, we'll see that they try to stone Him for claiming to be the "I AM," the voice in the burning bush.

So the enemies of Christ will say, "But the Bible itself never makes that claim." On the contrary, Isaiah told us that He was God:

Isa. 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

The apostle Paul told us that He is...

2Cor. 4:4 ...Christ, who is the image of God.

God the Father told us He is God:

Hebr. 1:8 But of the Son He says, THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER...

The apostle Thomas told us He is God:

John 20:28-29 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

The book of Titus says that we are...

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus

Peter also called Him this, writing to those who...

2Pet. 1:1 ...have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ

There can be no mistake - Jesus did make Himself equal to God, for He is God. Should you be concerned about this point? Eternally, for in chapter 8, Jesus says,

John 8:24 "...Unless you believe that I AM, you shall die in your sins."

Unless you believe that Jesus is God Himself, you will bear the burden of your own sins - death and eternal separation from God in outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

He's Working, I'm Working

I love the way Jesus answered the accusation that He was violating the Sabbath. He says,

John 5:17 ..."My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working."

In other words, "Hey guys, God doesn't stop working on the Sabbath. He continues to make the clouds rain and the plants to grow... I'm just doing what My Father does." Aren't you glad God doesn't stop working at sundown on Fridays? We wouldn't last very long at all!

The Father And The Son

Notice that although Jesus is God, and the Father is God, Jesus is not the Father, and the Father is not Jesus. There are two distinct Persons here. United in purpose, but distinct in persons.

Occasionally, you will run into someone that believes that although Jesus is God, He is just a different manifestation of God the Father. This is called "Sabellianism." Sabellius was a Latin theologian in the third century that taught God was one Person who appeared in modes or forms - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This heresy has also been named "Modalistic Monarchianism" because of this supposed "modal" attribute of God. Basically, this heresy teaches that God is sometimes the Father, sometimes the Son, and sometimes the Holy Spirit. Today, you probably won't hear someone say that they are a Sabellianist, but they will say that they believe in "Oneness" or "Jesus only."

But the Bible teaches, and the church affirms, that God is one God in three Persons. It is impossible to read the Bible seriously and not find the different personages of God presented. These verses in Romans 8 are just one of hundreds of examples:

Rom. 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God {is} for us, who {is} against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

You see, as we read the Scriptures, we see that God the Father continued being all-knowing and all-powerful, but Jesus,

Phil. 2:6-7 ...although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

So Jesus tells them here in John 5,

John 5:19 ... "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless {it is} something He sees the Father doing; for whatever {the Father} does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

The wonderful workings of Christ were because He watched the Father and imitated what He did.

Imitators Of God

So enough of the theological discussion - there is a personal application for us in this as well - be imitators of God. Do you want to be able to minister mightily? Love people lavishly. Do you want to see people converted to Christ? Be magnificently merciful to the people of the world. Do you want to walk victoriously and gloriously? Be insistently and consistently imitating God. God is merciful - you be merciful. God is loving - you be loving. God is forgiving - you be forgiving. God is holy - walk in holiness. God waits patiently for people to come to repentance - we must wait patiently for people to come to repentance. Jesus imitated the Father. Let's do the same.

5:20-21 Giving Life

Raising the dead is something that God is very good at, and we absolutely have no ability to do. We typically think of people being raised from the dead as a New Testament deal. But don't forget...

Elijah was used by God to raise a boy from the dead in 1Kings 17. He carried the boy to his room and put him on his bed.

1Kgs. 17:20-23 And he called to the LORD and said, "O LORD my God, hast Thou also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORD, and said, "O LORD my God, I pray Thee, let this child's life return to him." And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, "See, your son is alive."

Later, the ministry of Elisha was also evidencing the power of God to raise the dead. A Shunamite's son died of something like a brain aneurism. Going out to the field, he said to his father, "My head, my head!" He died that afternoon.

2Kgs. 4:32-35 When Elisha came into the house, behold the lad was dead and laid on his bed. So he entered and shut the door behind them both, and prayed to the LORD. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.

Another resurrection happened after Elisha himself died and was buried. 1n 2Kings 13 we read that some Israelites were burying a man who had died. At that moment, some Moabite raiders came to plunder and pillage. In a panic, the Israelites threw the body of the dead man into Elisha's grave. When the dead man touched the bones of Elijah, he came to life and stood up!

So the Jews had seen God raise the dead in the Old Testament, and they were going to see Jesus raise the dead as well.

5:22-24 Eternal Life Or Death And judgment

Your day of judgment will be based on one thing only: did you honor the Son? Did you hear His word? Did you believe the Father who sent Him? If so, you will have eternal life. If not, you will come into judgment.

5:25-29 The Dead Shall Hear

The time was coming that those who heard the voice of the Son of God would live.

John 5:28-29 "...An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth...

In chapter 11, we will see that standing in front of the tombs, Jesus...

John 11:43 ...cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."

You know, if He hadn't said, "Lazarus," everybody in the entire graveyard would've been resurrected!

The Two Resurrections

Every person who dies will stand before a seat of God's judgment. Those who have their names written in the Book of Life will be judged by their good works - because their bad works have been erased by the blood of Jesus. Those who did not receive Christ's fogiveness will be judged by all of their works. We read in Revelation 20...

Rev. 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Everyone who is judged by all of their works will be thrown into the lake of fire, because there are no naturally righteous people.

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