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The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God 

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Chapter 5


 

 

The third miracle: healing the impotent man

Jesus explains the real purpose of the Sabbath

The father's witness of the son

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 5

 

 

This book is a verse-by-verse commentary.  To go to the commentary for any particular verse in Chapter 5, please click on a number below.

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

42

43

44

45

46 47                          

 

 

The third miracle: healing the impotent man

 

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5:1     After these things was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

 

"These things" refers to the two incidents reported in the previous chapter: when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, and when he cured the courtier's son. The particular feast was not identified, but Jesus must have felt impelled to attend it because he "went up to Jerusalem."

 

On the one hand, Jerusalem was a positive city. It was also the place chosen by Jehovah as his own city. It was also the location of the temple, which contained the holy of holies where the shekinah glory cloud had once dwelt over the mercy seat. This dwelling had symbolized the very presence of Jehovah with his people. Actually, however, the glory cloud had departed from the temple many years before (Ezekiel 10:4, 10:18-19).

 

On the other hand, Jerusalem was a negative city. It was known as the place which did not even realize its importance in the scheme of things concerning The God. It was known more for killing the prophets than for listening to and obeying the message which the prophets preached.

Jesus, in going up to Jerusalem, was setting the stage for the third sign, or miracle, noted in the Gospel of John. Among other things, Jerusalem was also the city where Jesus chose to disclose much of his glory.

 

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5:2     And there is in Jerusalem at the sheepgate a pool, which [is] called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.

 

In this verse, John began to draw a word picture describing where the next miracle would occur. The word sheepgate comes from probatikee, and there is some disagreement about the exact meaning.  However, the basic definition of the word means something associated with sheep, possibly the sheep intended for sacrifice.

 

The pool was called Bethesda, defined by Thayer (p. 100) as,

"A house of mercy, or place for receiving and caring for the sick; the name of a pool near the sheep-gate at Jerusalem, the waters of which had curative powers."

 

The pool was surrounded by five porches. The word porch comes from stoa, which means,

"a portico, a covered colonnade where people can stand or walk protected from the weather and the heat of the sun" (Thayer, p. 588).

 

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5:3     In these were lying a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, withered, awaiting the moving of the water.

 

John continued describing the location for the coming miracle. People with all manner of illnesses were lying within these porches, out of the weather. In those days, there were no hospitals, and many people with illnesses came to this pool for healing. They waited until there was a stirring of the water, which signified that healing was suddenly available.

 

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5:4     For an angel from time to time descended in the pool, and agitated the water. He who therefore entered first after the agitation of the water, became well whatever disease he was held by.

 

This verse does not tell us how often the angel came, and none of the other gospel writers even mentioned this event. From the context, it appears that the angel came sporadically, and no one could anticipate when the next arrival would be. What a pitiful sight this must have been! How hopeless these ill and handicapped people must have felt as they awaited the stirring, or agitating, of the water.

 

When the water was agitated, there must have been a terrific rush to be first into the water. People would have been scrambling, crawling, rolling, hobbling, pushing, shoving, and doing anything they could to be first in the water. Just thinking about it is enough to bring tears. But, even worse, consider the despair of those who tried, but continually failed to be first. Some probably gave up all hope. What an anguished picture John drew of the ill and lame who tried to gain healing.

 

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5:5     But a certain man was there being in infirmity thirty-eight years.

 

John did not say who this man was, but he did say he had been infirm for 38 years. Infirmity comes from astheneia, which means a weakness or sickness. John did not say specifically what was wrong with him, nor is that information relevant to the purpose of the story.

 

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5:6     Jesus seeing him lying, and knowing that a long time already he has been, says to him, Desirest thou to become well?

 

Jesus, with the insight of holy spirit, knew that this man had been there a long time. It is possible that he had been lying many years by the pool, hoping to receive help. Was this the reason Jesus chose this man out of all the others present? While Jesus displayed the love of The God for all creation, his own emotions may also have been aroused toward this man. Therefore, Jesus asked him, "Desirest thou to become well?"  Under the circumstances, this would appear to be a superfluous question, but Jesus must have had a reason for asking it.

 

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5:7     The infirm [man] answered him, Sir, I have not a man that when the water has been agitated, he may put me into the pool, but while I am coming another descends before me.

 

This man had no one to help him get to the water fast enough. Those who had help had an advantage over those who had no help. To put comes from balloo, which means to throw. The use of this word implies the haste with which the man would be treated if he had someone to help him. Although he tried, someone else always arrived first. How discouraging this must have been! Yet, no matter how much he had been defeated, he was still there in the faith that some day it would be he who was healed.

 

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5:8     Jesus says to him, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.

 

Jesus looked down upon this impotent man lying beside the pool, waiting for an angel to stir the waters. Imagine the man's surprise, when Jesus said, "Arise, take up they bed, and walk." While he might possibly have expected some help in getting to the water, he would never have expected such a remark from a stranger.

 

By this event, Jesus established the fact that he is not only the son of The God, but also the messiah. Without the power given to him by The God, this healing event could not have happened.

 

Mark 2:11 recorded another instance when Jesus told an ill man essentially the same thing.

"To thee I say, arise, and take up thy couch and go to thy house."

 

This was done in response to some scribes who were sitting nearby. They were thinking in their hearts that Jesus had blasphemed because he told a man that his sins were forgiven. Mark 2:10 relates one of the reasons Jesus healed that ill person.

"But that you may know that the Son of the man has authority to forgive sins on the earth."

 

Jesus healed people to demonstrate the authority he had as messiah.

 

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5:9     And immediately the man became well, and took up his bed, and walked; and it was on that sabbath day.

 

The bed referred to was most likely a pallet, or mat, on which the man rested. It was nothing at all like the beds we are so familiar with today.

The man immediately became well. There was no waiting period! When Jesus spoke the word of The God, the power surged throughout this man's body, and he was instantly healed. It would be difficult, at best, for us to even begin to imagine that man's feelings when this occurred. He did as instructed; he took up his bed and walked.

 

How was Jesus going to justify healing someone on the Sabbath? According to the scribes and Pharisees, it was a sin to do anything like this on a Sabbath day. The law specified that no work was to be done on the Sabbath, that it was strictly a day of rest. Were they right?

 

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5:10     Therefore the Jews said to him that had been healed, It is sabbath. It is not lawful for thee to take up the bed."

 

Here is organized religion at its worst. What a travesty! When religion becomes organized, then the scriptures become surrounded and besmirched by the commandments of men. Today's organized religions are just as bad. They are replete with sacred taboos which must be obeyed after one "gets saved," or becomes a member of the church.

 

Organized religions, just because they are an organization, must have by-laws, and policies, and procedures, and someone to administer them. This is where worldly politics enters into what is supposed to be the church of The God. Once begun, men not only want to organize locally, but also nationally and internationally. The larger the organized church, the greater its perceived success.

 

This verse illustrates how organized religion can run amok. Instead of being happy that this man had been healed, the scribes and Pharisees criticized him because he was breaking one of their laws. They showed no charity of any kind toward this man!

 

The scribes and Pharisees had no idea that their thoughts about what was legal on the Sabbath were all wrong. Like all organized religions, they had been indoctrinated to the point where they did not even dare question the religious edicts.

 

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5:11     He answered them, He who made me well, he said to me, Take up thy bed and walk.

 

The man who had been healed had no desire to return to his past condition, even if it was a violation of the Sabbath. He told these organizational law keepers that he was doing what Jesus had commanded. Sabbath or not, he was not about to lie down again! As far as he was concerned, the man who had healed him had the primary say about what he could or could not do on the Sabbath.

 

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5:12     Therefore they asked him, Who is the man who said to thee, Take up thy bad and walk?

 

The scribes and Pharisees asked who this man was that advocated breaking one of their primary laws. In truth, there were so many laws and interpretations in Judaism that they no longer recognized the correct interpretation by the son of The God. When Jesus came teaching the pure word of the scriptures, he was told,

"You have a devil" (Matthew 11:18).

 

If Jesus returned today, with all the various religious organizations claiming to be doing his business, he would find an even worse mess than he did with the Jews.

 

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5:13     But he who had been healed knew not who it is, for Jesus had moved away, a crowd being in the place.

 

The healed man did not know who had healed him! Jesus did not stay around to receive accolades from the crowd. He may not even have lingered long enough for the man to thank him. He just faded into the crowd, and moved away, undoubtedly not wanting a confrontation with the Jews who wanted to question him.

 

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5:14     After these things, Jesus finds him in the temple, and said to him, Behold, thou hast become well. Sin no more, that something worse not happen to thee.

 

Jesus did not work from happenstance. He did not just happen to "run into" the man whom he had healed. "He finds him in the temple" because he wanted to deliver a further message to him. Before, when he had healed the man, he had faded into the crowd in order not to be recognized as the one who had performed this miracle. Now, the message to he delivered was, "Sin no more."

 

The word sin comes from hamartane, a present imperative. The present shows continuous action, and the imperative is an order. Combined with the words no more, meeketi, it would mean do not continue sinning. The no here is not the absolute ouk, but the conditional mee, found as a prefix to keti. Jesus essentially told him, "Whatever you have been doing that is sin, stop doing it!"  This would lead one to wonder if the man had been participating in some sin which had brought about his debilitating sickness.

 

The rest of the message contained the warning of something which is a possibility, shown by the use of mee instead of ouk. In other words, if he did not stop sinning, something worse could happen to him. The scriptures do not tell us whether or not this advice was heeded by the man who had been healed. They do tell us that the man probably talked too much to the wrong people.

 

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5:15     The man went away and told the Jews that it is Jesus who made him well.

 

This must have been done out of ignorance. Perhaps he simply did not know their real purpose. He had just been healed from a horrible disease which had plagued him for 38 years. You might think he would have been more thoughtful about what he said to whom. Whatever his reason for telling the Jews, the next verse tells us the result.

 

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5:16     And because of this, the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill him because these things he did on the sabbath.

 

"Because of this" refers to the information provided by the man who had been healed. As a result, Jesus was persecuted, or "harassed, troubled, and molested" (Thayer, p. 153) by the Jews who were so zealous about their man-made laws. Their ultimate purpose, though, went beyond just persecution; they wanted to kill Jesus. This was rabid persecution.

 

These Jews had no understanding of the purpose for the Sabbath. Jesus said,

"The sabbath was made on account of man, not man on account of the sabbath. So then, the son of man is lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:27).

 

With these words, Jesus had explained to the Pharisees why his disciples had stripped some grain to eat as they passed by a field on a Sabbath. Jesus is lord of the Sabbath, and this entitles him to use it as he pleases for the glory of The God.

 

 

Jesus explains the real purpose of the Sabbath

 

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5:17     But Jesus answered them, My father works until now, and I work.

 

With this seemingly simple statement, Jesus began a defense for his actions on the Sabbath. First, he said, "My father works until now."  The words "my father" infuriated the Jews. To them, the words meant that he was calling their god, Jehovah, his father. Then, he added that his father "works until now." By these words, Jesus informed the Jews that his father is constantly working without taking any Sabbaths.

 

The word works comes from argazetai, a present, indicative, middle. The present shows constant action, the indicative shows that it is factual, and the middle indicates that his father is participating in the results. What this means to Jesus is that the Sabbath may be used for anything which glorifies the Father.

 

Then, he added, "and I work," using the same word for work. Jesus was telling them that he was not bound by their man-made laws. If his father works constantly, then so may he. With this explanation, Jesus was setting forth a completely new concept about the purpose of the Sabbath.

 

What we fail to see is that The God and Jesus set us free. We are no longer under law, but under grace (Romans 6:14 ). We are not bound by the Old Testament laws, but we are bound to love The God ,and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10).

 

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5:18     Therefore because of this, the Jews sought the more to kill him, because not only did he break the sabbath, but also called God his father, making himself equal to God.

 

The Jews thought they had good reason to kill Jesus. They believed that he was convicted by his own words. They now had what they considered two lawful reasons to kill him. They believed that by calling God his father, he was guilty of one of the greatest blasphemies a man could commit. These Jews believed that Jehovah, the word, or expression, of the invisible god, was their god. They believed that Jesus was calling Jehovah his father. However, Jesus was actually speaking of the invisible god, although he had not yet revealed this.  [For detailed commentary on this matter, see our book, The No-Name God: Attributes of Jehovah and Jesus as Manifestations of the Invisible God.]

 

It is not clear why they assumed that Jesus was making himself equal to God by calling God his father. Whatever the reasoning, whenever Jesus made this statement, they reacted the same way.

 

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5:19     Jesus therefore answered, and said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, the Son is able to do nothing from himself, unless he see the father doing anything: for whatever he does, these things also does the Son in like manner.

 

Jesus' habit of beginning many of his statements with the words "verily, verily" upset the Jews. Using these words at the beginning indicated that what followed was absolute truth. This had to be a great aggravation to the Jews who argued nearly any concept put forth concerning the scriptures.  By saying verily, verily Jesus was stating that he did not intend to argue the matter, although he was willing to explain why it was truth.

 

When he said, "I say to you that the son is able to do nothing from himself," this effectively denied their accusation that he was making himself equal with God. His statement clearly indicates his subordination to God, not his equality. This same point may also be applied to the illogical trinitarians who declare today that Jesus was God while on earth. By his own statement, Jesus denied being the Father, or even being equal with the Father.

 

He followed the statement that "the son is able to do nothing from himself," by adding "unless he see the father doing anything." By this statement, Jesus was saying that his actions were limited to what he saw the Father doing. This statement did nothing to appease the Jews who accused him of making himself equal with the Father, and who still wanted to kill him. Saying that he was able to see the Father doing something, would only raise more questions and animosity. Jesus had not only worked on the Sabbath, and called God his father, but he now told them that he could see what the Father did.

 

Jesus fanned the flames even further when he said, "for whatever he does, these things also does the son in like manner." This certainly did nothing to ease the tension. His claim that he could do the exact same things as their god, Jehovah, was a certain sign that Jesus was not attempting to appease those Jews who sought to destroy him. Such a statement would only add to their fury and resolve.

 

How could the man, Jesus, make such a statement? Because he was the Old Testament Jehovah, who had become flesh. He had existed spiritually, as Jehovah, with the father since The God had first said,

"Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3).

 

Now, as Jehovah become flesh, he could say this because he had the fullness of holy spirit upon him.

 

This fullness of the spirit revealed what the Father desired him to do, even as the Father revealed the same to Jehovah. In the Old Testament, Jehovah brought about the will of the Father; now it was Jesus who did the same. The God always works through his word, earlier as Jehovah, the god of Israel in the Old Testament, now as Jesus, the man, in the New Testament.

 

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5:20     For the father loves the son, and all things shews to him which he himself does; and greater works than these he will shew him that ye may wonder.

 

Lest the trend of this conversation be forgotten, Jesus was still explaining to the Jews why he healed the sick man on the Sabbath. He continued by explaining why he can see what the Father does, and then do the things he sees him do. It is for, or because, the Father loves the son. The word used here for love is derived from phileo, which means an emotional love reserved for family or close friends.

 

The usual three Greek words for love are agape, phileo, and eros. Eros does not appear in the scriptures.  In addition, the KJV also translated thelo as love. Thelo, however, conveys only a sense of desire, or wanting something, but not love for another person.

 

Thayer (p. 653) describes the difference between agape (the love of will) and phileo (the love of emotion):

"As to the distinction between agapan and philein: the former, by virtue of its connection with agamai, properly denotes a love founded in admiration, veneration, esteem, like the Latin diligere, to be kindly disposed to one, wish one well; but philein denotes an inclination prompted by sense and emotion. Christ bids us agapan (not philein) tous exthrous, [our enemies] (Mt. v.44), because love as an emotion cannot be commanded, but only love as a choice."

 

By using phileo, or its derivative, Jesus told the Jews that God has a special love reserved only for certain people. Everyone is agapao by The God, but not everyone is phileo (see John 16:27).

 

Jesus explained that he could see what the Father does because the Father "shews to him which he himself does." Why? Because the Father loves (phileo) the son. This relationship is so close that the son does only what he is shown to do, or what he is told to say. No other person could ever truthfully claim to be that close to The God, our father.

 

The final words of Jesus in this verse say, "and greater works than these he will shew him that ye may wonder." This sounds as though the miracle of healing this ill man was only the beginning of greater works. What could be greater than making a man whole, one who had been ill for 38 years?

 

These greater works will be revealed later. For now, in giving a reason for doing the works to come, Jesus said that, the purposive conjunction, hina. This means that what follows is an explanation of the purpose of greater works, which was so the Jews would wonder, or be amazed.

 

It is interesting to note that these future "greater works" are not necessarily for the benefit of humanity, although many preachers claim that everything Jesus did while on this earth was for the purpose of humanity. However, his real purpose was to reveal and glorify the heavenly father. Amazingly enough, the scriptures state that benefiting humanity was only one of the tertiary reasons, rather than one of the main reasons, for the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

 

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5:21     For even as the father raises and quickens the dead, thus also the Son quickens whom he will.

 

It is worth noting that Jesus always showed The God as the primary force in everything he did. The God is always the source, and Jesus is the one who implements The God's purposes and will. When Jesus said the Father raised and quickened the dead, he was speaking of the general resurrection of all men.

 

When The God acts in a judicial sense, it is always with the total of humanity in mind. For example, when Adam sinned, the whole of humanity was judged as sinners with him. When Jesus died for men at the behest of The God, all men were justified to spiritual life. Therefore, when men are raised to face the judgment of The God, all will hear his voice and all will come forth from the grave.

 

Jesus also may quicken whom he will; however, this will not be a mass resurrection, but only raising people one at a time as the occasion may require. True, Jesus will come at the end of this age and shout with the voice of an archangel, and all that are in the graves shall come forth. But at that time, he will be acting as the vice-regent of The God.

 

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5:22     For the father judges no one, but all judgment has given to the Son.

 

For comes from gar, or because the Father judges no one. This refers back to the previous verse, which said that Jesus can quicken whom he wills. He can do so not only because the Father loves him, but also because the Father judges no one. As stated earlier, the Father only judges humanity as a whole, not one at a time. The Father's judgment is a judicial one, while the judgment of Jesus will be based on works.

 

Jesus will judge who may enter the next age as an overcomer, to rule and reign with him in the kingdom. The Father's judgment took place at the cross when he judged all men as sinners, and short of his glory, and put that judgment upon his son, Jesus. Having already come in the flesh, Jesus represents this judgment of The God, and John spoke of it as though it was already past; therefore, The God was now doing no judging at all.

 

"But has given all judgment unto the son." The word "but" sets this clause in antithesis to the former one. Now, the Father does not sit as a judge. His judgment, represented in the person of his son, has been accepted as already being accomplished. Whatever judgment lies in the future will be done by his son. Sin will no longer be judged, but Jesus will judge men's works when he comes again. This judgment will separate the overcomers, who will rule and reign with Jesus, from those who will be ruled over during the next age.

 

Regardless of all the preaching to the contrary, our sin was completely judged at the cross. Jesus bore the punishment and the guilt of the whole world. However, he did not bear the consequences of sin, which can erode the full salvation inherited by each person through the death of Jesus.

"For The God sent not his son into the world that he might judge the world, but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17).

 

One purpose of the coming of Jesus was to die for the sins of the whole world. And he did! His death also glorified the father!

 

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5:23     That all may honour the Son even as they honour the father. he that honours not the Son honours not the father who sent him.

 

The God gave all judgment unto the son, not only because he loved the son, but also so "that all men honor the son even as they honor the father." The word honor comes from timaoo, which basically means to set a value upon, to revere, or venerate. The God expects the world to set the value of Jesus very high, especially in light of his sacrifice on the cross. Many people erroneously interpret this verse to mean that we should worship Jesus, but timaoo is never translated as worship. Jesus, himself, said to worship the Father (see Revelation 19:10).

 

The word that, from the purposive hina, conveys The God's expectation for humanity to honor his son. Even as, from kathoos, might be explained as an equal sign; what is on side is equal to that of the other side. In other words, the honor given to the son is to be exactly like the honor given to Father.

 

The latter part of this verse makes it very clear that this is an unequivocal statement. "He that honors not the son, honors not the father who sent him." Because the Father so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, everyone should esteem, or value, the Father highly. The God expects everyone to also show the same kind of esteem, honor, and value for his son, who bore the sins of the world.

 

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5:24     Verily, verily, I say to you, that he that hears my word, and believes on him who sent me, has eternal life, and comes not into judgment, but has passed out of death into the life.

 

If read carefully, this verse will dispute many of the commonly held concepts of salvation. Again, Jesus used his habit of stating that what he is about to say is the absolute truth by his use of "verily, verily." If anyone believes that Jesus is the word of The God, and speaks only what The God tells him to say, then that person will have several blessings.

 

Both "hears" and "believes" are written in the present tense, which means continually to hear, and continually to believe. He that hears my word, means not only to hear what Jesus said, but also to follow those instructions.

 

What are people to believe? They are to believe on him who sent me. Jesus always stressed that he was the sent one from the Father. He also stated that,

"I come out from the father" (John 8:42, 13:3).

 

A person is to hear what Jesus taught, and believe on The God, the heavenly father.

 

Hebrews 11:6 says,

"But apart from faith, it is impossible to please him. For it behooves him who approaches to The God, to believe that he is, and [that] he becomes a rewarder for those who seek him out."

 

Note that it is The God upon whom one is to believe. Jesus always subordinated himself to his heavenly father. He was always careful not to usurp the primary place of The God.

 

What benefit accrues to people who obey these two instructions? They have "eternal life." Eternal life, explained earlier with verse 3:16, means time out of mind, or time which can not be reckoned, a kairos kind of time. Kairos indicates the quality of time rather than measured time.  In this case, the quality of godliness will be added, or the quality that The God wishes for our lives, and the quality he imparts to those who believe. [For a detailed discussion of eternal life, see Part I in our book, What Scripture Says About Salvation.]

 

Another benefit is that these people will also "come not into judgment." Ouk, the absolute not, is used here. Never will they face a personal judicial judgment. Keep in mind that Jesus was speaking before his crucifixion, which was the judicial judgment for all humanity.

 

During his time on earth, Jesus was stating that those who accepted him as being whom he said he was, and believed on The God who sent him, would not face any future judgment of their sins. However, this did not rule out the judgment of their works when Jesus returns to determine who will rule and reign with him.

 

A third benefit is that such people have "passed out of the death into the life." Has passed is written in the perfect, indicative, middle. The perfect means that something has come to its conclusion, and the results continue. The indicative states that it is a fact. The middle shows that the person shares in the result.

 

The person who hears and believes has moved "out of the death into the life." The life and eternal life are often used interchangeably. Such people have now moved into a different state of being. Before, they were living in the death, and could not enter the next age in a place of blessing with Jesus. Now, they have moved to the life, and will be able to enter the next age in a state of blessing.

 

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5:25     Verily, verily, I say unto you, that an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of The God, and those having heard shall live.

 

Again, Jesus began his statement by saying "verily, verily." This seems to be his usual opening approach when speaking with the Jews. He is the only person who could possibly make such a statement and be certain that what he said was actually the truth.

 

Then Jesus said that , "an hour is coming and now is."  These were the exact words spoken to the Samaritan woman at the well (see John 4:23). Unless one understands the two Greek words for time, chronos and kairos, it is impossible to comprehend how a time can be both now, and also still to come.

 

"The dead shall hear the voice of the son of The God, and those having heard shall live." This comment is a further explanation of verse 5:24. Jesus was telling the Jews that those who believe his word and believe in The God, "shall hear the voice of the son of The God." Many people take this verse out of context, using it to support the erroneous belief that only these believers referred to here will hear his voice. However, this verse does not rule out the truth that others will also hear his voice in the future (John 5:28).

 

Jesus may or may not have been claiming to be the messiah when he said "the voice of the son of The God."  The voice they would hear was not that of the Father, but of the son. No man will ever hear the voice of The God. "The son of The God" is terminology equal to saying the king of Israel, or the messiah. If the Jews took this as another instance where Jesus claimed to be either of the two, it would only infuriate them further.

 

After stating that he had been given power to quicken whom he will, he then said that "those having heard shall live."  This was simply a repetition of the above statement about those who hear.

 

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5:26     For even as the father has life in himself, so he gave also to the Son to have life in himself.

 

It was statements like this which made the Jews not only hate him, but want to kill him. Although Jesus was speaking truth, they did not want to hear truth, and it only made them more angry. This is another of the comparisons which Jesus made between the Father and himself. Remember, when Jesus spoke of the Father, the Jews commonly thought he was talking about Jehovah. They did not yet understand about the invisible father god.

 

So also comes from the Greek autos, which one might compare to an equal sign. What comes before autos is equal to what comes after it. The Father has life in himself is equal to saying the son has life in himself. However, Jesus again showed that he did not claim to be the Father or even to be equal to the Father.

 

Instead, Jesus said "so he gave," indicating that he had life only because the Father had given it to him. Without the Father's giving, Jesus would not have the characteristic. Only the Father can give such a gift. This is another clear example of how Jesus always indicated that he was less important than the Father. If Jesus really were The God, as the illogical trinitarians proclaim, he had ample opportunity to say so. He never did say so because he is not The God.

 

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5:27     And also gave authority to him to execute judgment, because he is Son of man.

 

Verse 5:22 noted that the Father gave all judgment to the son, Jesus. Here, the scriptures tell why The God gave such authority to him to execute judgment: "because he is son of man."  Son of man was written without the definite article, which emphasizes his humanity.

 

When the invisible god spoke of Jesus, he recognized his humanity by using the same terminology found in the Old Testament to describe any prophet, priest, or king who had been given a portion of holy spirit in order to carry out their assignments.

 

They were also referred to as "a son of man." This is the term Jesus often used to describe himself, though usually with the definite article preceding both son and man. The use of the definite article in that manner implied that he was the only human being of his kind. He was above all other humans since he had never committed hamartia, the sin which would have destroyed him for achieving the purpose intended for his life by The God.

 

John was writing this long after the crucifixion of Jesus, but still he used the present tense, signifying his realization that Jesus is still a human being. Jesus did not return to heaven to be The God, but rather to be the one mediator between man and The God, the man, Jesus, the Christ (see I Timothy 2:5). He is our human high priest, or mediator, although now existing in a glorified human body.

 

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5:28     Wonder not at this, for an hour is coming which all those in the tombs shall hear his voice.

 

The phrase, "wonder not at this" points back to the comments of the previous verse. Jesus told the Jews not to wonder at the truth that he will execute judgment. He then enlarged on what that judgment will be. In essence, he was telling them that they had not yet seen anything compared to what was coming!

 

That hour is not yet, but "is coming." When the hour of that coming event is here, "all those in the tombs shall hear his voice." Please note that Jesus did not say my voice, but his voice. Whose voice?

 

Verse 5:25 reported Jesus as saying that those in the tombs "shall hear the voice of the son of The God, and those having heard shall live." Our commentary with verse 5:25 indicated that his statement did not limit those "coming forth" to only those who had heard the word and believed.

 

Now, in this verse, we see that all those in the tombs shall hear, which means everyone. Since Jesus used the words "his voice" as being the one heard, this voice must be at the command of The God. However, it is Jesus who always speaks for The God.

 

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5:29     And shall come forth, those that practised good to a resurrection of life, and those that did evil to a resurrection of judgment.

 

The previous verse noted that "all shall hear his voice." Then, "they shall come forth" from the grave. At that point, Jesus will judge who will enter into the next age in a state of blessing, and who will not, based upon his evaluation of their works. These two groups of people are described as "those that practiced good, and those that did evil." Today, we consider good people as those who do kind acts to others. However, the word good, agathos, means a life lived due to divine efficiency (Thayer, p. 2).

 

Many people may be very surprised at the judgment of Jesus when everything they have considered as good will be burned up. Only those works based upon faith in The God, and done in obedience to him, will withstand the judgment of Jesus.  Whether we have labeled them good or evil will be immaterial.

 

Those whose works pass the judgment shall come forth from the grave "to a resurrection of life."  Life, in this instance, symbolizes entrance into the kingdom of The God in a state of blessing.

 

However, those who did evil shall come forth from the grave "to a resurrection of judgment."  Evil comes from phaula, and means,

"Easy, slight, ordinary, mean, worthless, of no account" (Thayer, p. 650).

 

This definition is very different from the common understanding of the word evil.

 

Matthew states that many people will come to Jesus claiming that what they have done is good. In the eyes of the world, they may have been correct. However, The God, and his son, Jesus, have a different definition about what is good, or evil.  Matthew 7:21-23 says,

"Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he who does the will of my father who [is] in [the] heavens. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not through thy name prophesy, and through thy name cast out demons, and through thy name perform many works of power? And then will I confess to them I never knew you: depart ye from me who work lawlessness."

 

There is a lesson here for many today. The power does not reside in the person, but in the name. Jesus told these people that "he never knew them," yet they had prophesied, cast out demons, and performed many works of power, or miracles. On the surface, these all looked good, but Jesus looks on the heart.

 

Evidently, when Jesus looked in the heart of those who came to him, he did not find a love of The God, nor a commitment to him. This is why we are to judge no man as being righteous because of his works, nor are we to judge any man as being a sinner because of his works. We simply cannot know his heart.

 

Those who did evil will come forth to a resurrection of judgment, not of life. They will not enter into the kingdom in a place of blessing, but will be in outer darkness. Those in outer darkness will be ruled over during the next age by the glorified saints, those who will be resurrected to life. Those people who could not learn to commit their lives to The God in their original life, will be under the tutelage of those who did, with the intent that they will now change their minds.

 

Again, remember that the meaning of evil as used here is very different from what we might consider evil today. Even little, mean things are evil in the eyes of The God. Claiming to have "accepted Jesus as my personal savior" will not be sufficient.

 

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5:30     I am able to do nothing from myself; even as I hear I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my will, but the will of the father who sent me.

 

Jesus continued to explain to the Jews why he had the authority to do all judgment. First, he claimed no authority, or "nothing from myself." With this disclaimer, he again stated his relationship with the Father, which is one of subordination. He was here to reveal the Father to mankind, and he could do this only through complete submission to the desires of The God.

 

"Even as I hear I judge."  Who told Jesus what judgment to make? Who does Jesus hear? Again, it was his heavenly father who guided him in every judgment he made. As he stated earlier, he was able to do nothing of himself. Jesus is the only example of perfect submission to the will of The God. Only he had the ability to completely obey the will of the Father.

 

There is a lesson here for any who would enter the kingdom. None of us can do anything of ourselves to earn the right to enter the next age in a place of blessing, with a glorified body. Only those things done under the guidance of holy spirit, which was poured out upon all flesh, will count at the judgment seat when Jesus comes again to judge our works.

 

It is doubtful that Jesus was gaining any goodwill with the Jews to whom he was speaking. They were already angry enough to kill him, and he continued to substantiate his peculiar relationship with the heavenly father. "My judgment is just, because I seek not my will, but the will of the father who sent me."  Here again, Jesus claimed to have been sent by the Father.

 

Those today who hold the illogical doctrine of the trinity apparently ignore scriptures such as this, even though they clearly show that Jesus is not the heavenly father. Jesus is not The God, and he never claimed to be. Furthermore, it appears that he was very careful to refute such claims.

 

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5:31     If I bear witness concerning myself, my witness is not true.

 

With this denial, Jesus completely removed himself as a witness concerning himself. If he had begun to claim any of his deeds, or even his words, he would be disputing his previous statements to the contrary. He had stated that he did nothing of himself, but only what he heard or saw the Father do. Jesus counted himself as nothing but a person whose calling was to express the will of The God.

 

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The Father's witness of the son

 

5:32     It is another who bears witness concerning me, and I know that the witness is true which he witnesses concerning me.

 

With this statement, Jesus turned to the testimony of his father concerning himself. Earlier, Jesus had explained why he had the authority to do what he did and say what he said. Now, however, he went further in his reasoning about his position. He cannot witness for himself as that would be untrue, but there is another who witnesses for him.

 

According to Jewish law, two witnesses were needed for anything to be legally accepted. In this verse, Jesus did not state who he was citing as his first witness. Whoever it was, he said that his witness was true. The word true comes from aleethees, which means spoken truth.

 

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5:33     Ye have sent unto John and he has borne witness to the truth.

 

Jesus told these Jews, who were intent on trapping him, that John had even borne witness to the truth. It was not stated how he knew they had sent someone to John to affirm if he were whom he said he was. The Jews did not deny his statement. Jesus did affirm, however, that John was one of his witnesses.

 

The word truth comes from aleetheia, which is a different word for truth than the one used in verse 5:32. Aleetheia means,

"In reference to religion, the word denotes what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man" (Thayer, p. 26).

 

By using aleetheia, Jesus said that John was a witness who spoke the truth as to whom Jesus was, i.e., the king of Israel, or the son of The God. Although he was only quoting what John had told those who were sent to him, this statement would not improve his standing with the Jews.

 

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5:34     But I receive not witness from man, but these things I say that ye may be saved.

 

Although Jesus related to the Jews what John had said concerning himself, he also disclaimed any need for human witness. The word not comes from ou, or ouk, the absolute no of the Greek language. Although man may testify that he is the son of The God, or the king of Israel—as John, the Baptist, had done—Jesus stated that he really did not need this type of testimony. He had a greater testimony than that of John.

 

Then, to the consternation of the Jews, he declared that he said these things "that ye may be saved." Many evangelicals use this verse to justify their attempts at converting Jews to "christianity," a word with so many meanings by so many denominations that it has become meaningless. Its meaning varies according to the dictates of any specific organized denomination.

 

Jesus certainly did not mean what most evangelicals claim. The phrase "may be saved" is in the future tense. Jesus, like John, the Baptist, Paul, and the other apostles, spoke of salvation as the coming age, or the kingdom of The God. Salvation to these men never had anything at all to do with accepting Jesus as a "personal savior," or receiving instant "salvation."

 

To Jesus, as to all the other New Testament writers, salvation was almost always a future event. In the Old Testament, David often called upon Jehovah for present tense salvation, or deliverance from those who sought his life. But, in the New Testament, this was a rare occurrence. By his reference to John, the Baptist, Jesus was refreshing their memory about what John had preached: repent, for the kingdom of The God is at hand. Jesus told the Jews that it was his desire that they change their minds about him in order to share with him in the coming age, or the salvation.

 

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5:35     He was the burning and shining lamp, and ye were willing to rejoice for an hour in his light.

 

He comes from ekeinos, a pronominal adjective, used here as a noun; however, it is a demonstrative pronoun, not a personal one. It is correctly translated as "that one," which refers back to the previous mention of John, the Baptist.

 

As an aside, ekeinos is the same word often used in referring to holy spirit, and mistakenly translated as the personal pronoun, he.

 

Jesus told the Jews that he (John) was a "burning and shining light." Burning and shining are both written in the passive, showing that John's burning and shining were the result of being acted upon. His burning and shining came about because of his calling, not because of himself. He was a "lamp" because he submitted to the gift of holy spirit given to him for his ministry.

 

By giving this testimony about his cousin, John, the Baptist, Jesus nearly equates John's actions with those of his own. They were not John's actions and words, but those of The God whom John represented.

 

Jesus also reminded the Jews of their former attitude: "Ye were willing to rejoice for an hour in his light."  Were willing comes from theloo, which means,

"to wish, to want to." (Rienecker, p. 230).

 

By using this word, Jesus was reminding the Jews that they once supported John's ministry. Now, however, they did not believe that the kingdom was nigh in the person of Jesus.  In fact, wanted to kill Jesus, rather than accept him as the messiah, or christ.

 

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5:36     But I have the greater witness than John's: for the works which the father gave me that I should complete them, the works which I do, bear witness concerning me that the father has sent me.

 

Jesus told them that they had once believed John's witness about the kingdom of The God, but he had an even greater witness than John's. Jesus was forthright, displaying great honesty under difficult and dangerous situations. He bluntly informed his enemies that, "I have the greater witness than John's." The rest of this verse elaborates on that assertion.

 

The latter part of this verse comprises a summary of Jesus' ministry here on earth, namely, "works which the father gave me that I should complete them, the works which I do."  This was another way of saying that what he did and said came from the Father, not from himself. Jesus said that the Father gave him works to complete, or bring to a conclusion, and that was what he was doing.

 

Jesus also told them that these works "bear witness concerning me that the father has sent me."  In other words, anyone seeing the miracles and other works of Jesus, should know that the Father had sent him.

 

In spite of the fact that Jesus often used these same words, "my father sent me," most evangelicals today still claim that Jesus and The God are one and the same. How can one be sent from another and still remain only one entity? This is simply an absurd assertion.

 

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5:37     And the father, himself, who sent me, has borne witness concerning me. Neither his voice have ye heard at any time, nor his form have ye seen.

 

Earlier, Jesus had said that if he bore witness of himself that it would be untrue. Then, first, he cited the witness of John, the Baptist, and second, he claimed the witness of his heavenly father.

 

Matthew 3:17 told of his baptism,

"Lo! A voice out the heavens, saying, This is my Son the beloved, in whom I have found delight."

 

Some of these Jews may have been there when that event occurred. Perhaps this was why Jesus said they had been glad to bask in the glow of John, the Baptist. Jesus had now referred to two witnesses, which also made his testimony true and acceptable according to Jewish law.

 

Jesus then made a startling statement. He told them, "Neither his voice have ye heard at any time, nor his form have ye seen." How could this be, since Matthew 3:17 (and Mark 9:7) seems to say just the opposite? Jesus was standing in their presence when he spoke these words to them. If Jesus were The God, as many claim, then this would be an outright lie.

 

The simple answer to the apparent dilemma is that the invisible god has always spoken through an intermediary: usually his word, Jehovah, in the Old Testament; or his son, Jesus, in the New Testament, as noted in Hebrews 1:1b:

"In these last days spoke to us in a son."

 

And, occasionally, The God spoke through the voice of an angel.

 

John stated emphatically that no one has ever heard the voice of The God. The voice could not have been Jehovah, since he was now the man, Jesus. Therefore, the voice reported in Matthew 3:17, Mark 9:7, and II Peter 1:17 was most likely that of an angel.

 

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5:38     And his word ye have not abiding in you, for whom he sent, him ye believe not.

 

"And his word ye have not abiding in you," is a clear statement to the Jews about their relationship to him. Jesus was "his word," or the logos of the Father in heaven. The word abiding comes from menoo, which means,

"not to depart, not to leave, to continue to be present: maintain unbroken fellowship with one, adhere to his party" (Thayer, p. 399).

 

Jesus told the Jews that they had not maintained "his word," or Jesus, himself, in their fellowship. The not is the absolute not. In you comes from en umin, which is plural, and should thus be translated as "among you," rather than in you, as it would have been if referring to each of them.

 

Jesus noted that the reason they did not hold him within their group is that "for whom he sent, him ye believe not." The invisible god sent Jesus, his word, to speak and act for him. But, as the way into the holy of holies in the heavens was not yet open, the Jews thought when Jesus spoke of his father, that he was speaking of their god, Jehovah. Jesus was not only the word of the invisible god, but that invisible god was not known to anyone until Jesus revealed him. This revelation became possible when Jesus was crucified.

 

Jesus was the veil before the heavenly holy of holies. When he was crucified, that veil was rent, thereby opening the way into the heavenly holy of holies. [For more detail on this point, see our book, The Hidden Meaning in Hebrews.]

 

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5:39     Ye search the scriptures, for ye think in them to have life eternal, and they are they which bear witness concerning me.

 

The Jews believed that the purpose for studying the scriptures was to discover how to live, and then they would be granted eternal life, or entrance into the next age. They reasoned that they could accomplish this by partially fulfilling the law. If they gave it their "best shot," so to speak, then Jehovah would honor their good intentions. What they failed to understand was that this put them under the law, and obligated them to keep all the law. A partial obedience of the law would not suffice.

 

The Jews sought "life eternal" by doing good works. Jesus, however, disabused them of their idea, and told them the proper purpose of studying the scriptures. The scriptures, he said, "are they which bear witness concerning me." These Jews were more concerned with killing Jesus than they were with learning about him from the scriptures.

 

Luke 24: 26-27, the account of Jesus meeting two men on the road to Emmaus, says.

"Was it not needful for the Christ to suffer, and to enter into his glory? And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

 

Jesus was telling the Jews that they should be searching the scriptures for knowledge concerning himself instead of trying to find how they could earn eternal life by their own efforts.

 

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5:40     And ye are unwilling to come to me, that ye may have life.

 

Unwilling comes from a derivative of theloo, which was explained in the comments on verse 5:35. Here, it is prefixed with the absolute negative ou, which means they absolutely were not willing to come to Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus was telling them that he is the correct way "that ye may have life." Life comes from sooeen, which means spiritual life, and is written here in the future sense of the kingdom age.

 

Note the words "may have" that precede the word "life." Jesus most often spoke of salvation as being something future. He preached the coming kingdom of The God, just as John, the Baptist, had done. Jesus knew something they did not. He knew that his death would open the way to the invisible god in heaven. Not only that, but after his ascension to the Father, he would pour out some of holy spirit upon all flesh. This would enable people to taste a sample of eternal life in this life, as well as experience all of its fullness in the age to come.

 

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5:41     Glory from men I receive not:

5:42     but I have known you that you have not the love of The God in yourselves.

 

At this stage of his humanity, and before his ascension to the Father, Jesus said that "glory from men I receive not." Jesus sought only the glory of his father, the invisible god of heaven. Again, the word not is the absolute not.

 

Another way of expressing the absolute no is that ou or ouk usually deny the objective fact. The fact being denied here is that Jesus "receives glory from men." If this were only a subjective denial, then mee, the other word for no would have been used. As with many Greek concepts, these comments only "scratch the surface" concerning all aspects about the usage of these two words.

 

Jesus then accused the Jews who were contesting everything he did: "You have not the love of The God in yourselves."  Again, this is ouk, the absolute no. The word en, used with a plural, should be translated as "among." There was actually no love of The God among the whole lot of them. Like many religionists of our day, their purpose was to maintain the status quo of their religious organization.

 

The Jewish organized religion had drifted so far from the truth that when Jesus taught the true meaning of the scriptures they accused him of having a devil (Matthew 11:18). These religious men standing around Jesus were not operating on the basis of loving The God, although they readily acclaimed that was their primary purpose. Jesus, however, knew their hearts.

 

If Jesus came today, how would he assess the present day religions? Is their purpose any more godly than were the Jews of Jesus' day? Are they more concerned with maintaining their religious organization than with the needs of the people they are supposed to nurture in the knowledge of The God and of his son, Jesus, the Christ?

 

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5:43     I have come in the name of my father, and ye receive me not; if another came in his own name, ye will receive him.

 

Jesus continued his accusations against the Jews and their religious intents. He again told them, "I have come in the name of my father," once more using his father as a witness. Jesus was telling them that he had come in the authority and in the power granted to him by his father. This was rubbing salt in the open wound of those Jews who had already accused Jesus of blasphemy because he claimed to be the son of The God.

 

Referring to the name of someone, in this case The God, did not carry the same connotation as commonly thought of today. "Name," as used in the scriptures, speaks more to power, or authority, than simply a proper name, or label. In fact, The God is never called by a proper name in all of the scriptures. [For a thorough discussion of this point, see our book, The No-Name God: Attributes of Jehovah and Jesus as Manifestations of the Invisible God.]

 

"And ye receive me not." Again, Jesus used the absolute not. They did not receive him in any manner. Receive comes from lambanete, which concerns accepting one for whom he says he is. They would not accept Jesus, who came in the name of The God, yet they would accept someone else who came in his own name. This was quite a comparison. Later in his ministry, Jesus warned that,

"Many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and many they will mislead" (Matthew 24:5).

 

Paul talked about how men will accept the "man of sin," who will work all kinds of satanic works to prove that he is god. II Thessalonians 2:3-4 and 2:8-10, says,

"Not anyone should deceive you in any way, because [it will not be] unless first the apostasy shall have come, and the man of sin shall have been revealed, the son of perdition, he who opposes and exalts himself above all called God or object of veneration: so as for him in the temple of God, to sit down as God setting forth himself that he is God. And then will be revealed the lawless [one], whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth, and annul by the appearing of his coming; whose coming is according to [the] working of satan in every power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and in every deceit of unrighteousness in them that perish, because the love of the truth they received not for them to be saved."

 

This is the fulfillment of the prophecy Jesus made about how the Jews would accept one who will come in his own name, or power.

 

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5:44     How are ye able to believe, who receive glory from one another, and the glory which [is] from the only God, ye seek not?

 

Jesus was pointing out one of the vanities of the organized religious leaders of his day: they sought glory from other men. Unfortunately, this problem continues even today in hierarchical religious denominations. Men organize churches like a worldly business organization and manage them with all the attitudes of a worldly business. The result is usually "receiving glory from one another."

 

In these worldly organizations, called churches, people strive to climb the corporate ladder of the church hierarchy. This is true even in smaller, local, organized churches. Tremendous arguments ensue over trivial issues, such as who will sit in what seat in the choir. Or, whose turn it is to play the organ. Or, who will be elected as a deacon. The pastor stands behind a pulpit on a raised stage which sets him apart from the other people. Divisions soon arise within the local group, and the church splits into another worldly organization, called a church, with the seeds of its corruption already sown when it begins.

 

Jesus asked, "How are ye able to believe?" Under such circumstances, people become so lost that it is nearly impossible for them to seek the glory which is from The God. Jesus told the Jews that they did not seek the glory of The God, which is still the bane of organized religions, regardless of their denomination.

 

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5:45     Think not that I will accuse you to the father: there is [one] who accuses you, Moses, in whom ye have hoped.

 

Jesus wanted to clarify one more truth for the Jews. Remember, he was discussing his calling to glorify the Father in heaven. He did not want them to think he would accuse them to the Father. He was not here to bring accusations, a point dealt with in John 3:17. Jesus was here to save, not to judge, and he had no need to judge the Jews around him.

 

Jesus told them, "There is one who accuses you, Moses, in whom ye have hoped." Why did he say Moses? The Jews believed that Moses was the author of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament Those five books were the ones Jesus referred to earlier when he said that in them they thought they had life, and would not come to him that they might have eternal life.

 

The Jews studied the Torah intensively. They believed the Torah contained the way to life, through obedience to all the laws written in those books. Jesus told them they were mistaken. Now, he told them that Moses, whose laws they thought they could keep, would be the one who accused them before the Father. This was different than anything they had ever heard. For centuries, their belief in the law had been part of the Jewish faith. Instead, Jesus said it was the very thing which would accuse them. Accuse comes from kateegoroon, a legal term used in a court hearing. Jesus was picturing this as a court proceeding, or a judicial process.

 

The Jews "have hoped" in Moses. Have hoped is written in the perfect tense, which shows that something has come to a conclusion, but the effects still continue. This belief had become a standard at sometime in the past, and the Jews of Jesus' day still believed it. It had become a foundational doctrine of the Jewish faith.

 

This is similar to the doctrine of the trinity so prevalent in the "christian" religions of today. The trinity has been preached as truth for so many centuries that it has become the norm, and it is considered by most as beyond question. The fact that it is contrary to the clear teaching of the scriptures is not even considered. To become a pariah in an organized "christian" church today, all anyone needs to do is state that they do not believe in the trinity.

 

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5:46     For if ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote concerning me.

 

Jesus told his adversaries that they had not believed Moses. Even though they had read the Torah from the viewpoint of obeying the law, they had missed the spirit of the law. They had also missed Moses' main point, that "he wrote of me."

 

It is easy to read the scriptures from a mistaken viewpoint. After indoctrination in church tenets, people tend to see in the Bible what they already have been taught to believe. Many have been misled from childhood without even realizing they have been led astray. Jesus told them that if they had believed Moses correctly, they would have believed him.

 

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5:47     But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

 

Without correctly understanding that Moses wrote concerning Jesus, there was no possibility that they could understand what Jesus told them. Why? Because he was speaking about what Moses actually wrote, not about the point of view adopted by the religious organization over the centuries. It was nearly impossible for them to understand anything other than what they had been taught.

 

The same is true for those who have been raised within religious organizations today. It is seldom possible to find people willing to think beyond the boundaries of their religious indoctrination. What Jesus was telling the Jews is still a thoughtful lesson for people today.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 5

 

# Jesus healed people to demonstrate the authority he had as messiah.

 

# Organized religions, just because they are an organization, must have

     by-laws, and policies, and procedures, and someone to administer

     them. This is where worldly politics enters into what is supposed to be

     the church of The God. Once begun, men not only want to organize

     locally, but also nationally and internationally. The larger the

     organized church, the greater its perceived success.

 

# This verse (5:10) illustrates how organized religion can run amok.

     Instead of being happy that this man had been healed, the scribes and

     Pharisees criticized him because he was breaking one of their laws.

     They showed no charity of any kind toward this man!

 

#  If Jesus returned today, with all the various religious organizations

     claiming to be doing his business, he would find an even worse mess

     than he did with the Jews.

 

#  Jesus informed the Jews that his father is constantly working without

     taking any Sabbaths.  What this means to Jesus is that the Sabbath

     may be used for anything which glorifies the Father.  Jesus was setting

     forth a completely new concept about the purpose of the Sabbath.

 

# What we fail to see is that The God and Jesus set us free. We are no

     longer under law, but under grace (Romans 6:14 ). We are not bound

     by the Old Testament laws, but we are bound to love The God ,and to

     love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Love is the fulfilling

     of the law (Romans 13:10).

 

#  Jesus' statement clearly indicates his subordination to God, not his

     equality.  By his own statement, Jesus denied being the Father, or even

     being equal with the Father.

 

# The God always works through his word, earlier as Jehovah, the god of

     Israel in the Old Testament, now as Jesus, the man, in the New

     Testament.

 

# This relationship (between Father and son) is so close that the son does

     only what he is shown to do, or what he is told to say. No other person

     could ever truthfully claim to be that close to The God.

 

# The real purpose of Jesus was to reveal and glorify the heavenly father.

     The scriptures state that benefiting humanity was only one of his

     tertiary reasons, rather than one of his main reasons.

 

# Jesus always showed The God as the primary force in everything he did.

    The God is always the source, and Jesus is the one who implements The

    God's purposes and will.

 

# When The God acts in a judicial sense, it is always with the total of

     humanity in mind. For example, when Adam sinned, the whole of

     humanity was judged as sinners with him. When Jesus died for men at

     the behest of The God, all men were justified to spiritual life. Therefore,

     when men are raised to face the judgment of The God, all will hear his

     voice and all will come forth from the grave.

 

# The Father only judges humanity as a whole, not one at a time.

 

# The judgment of Jesus will be based on works, to determine who may

    enter the next age as an overcomer, to rule and reign with him in the

    kingdom.

 

# Now, the Father does not sit as a judge. His judgment, represented in

     the person of his son, has been accepted as already being

     accomplished. Whatever judgment lies in the future will be done by his

     son. Sin will no longer be judged, but Jesus will judge men's works

     when he comes again. This judgment will separate the overcomers,

     who will rule and reign with Jesus, from those who will be ruled over

     during the next age.

 

# Regardless of all the preaching to the contrary, our sin was completely

     judged at the cross. Jesus bore the punishment and the guilt of the

     whole world.

 

# The God expects the world to set the value of Jesus very high, especially

     in light of his sacrifice on the cross. Many people erroneously interpret

     this verse to mean that we should worship Jesus, but timaoo is never

     translated as worship. Jesus, himself, said to worship the Father.

 

# The God expects everyone to esteem, honor, and value his son, who bore

     the sins of the world.

 

# The person who hears and believes has moved "out of the death into the

     life" (or eternal life), a different state of being. Before, they were living

     in the death, and could not enter the next age in a place of blessing

     with Jesus. Now, they have moved to the life, and will be able to enter

     the next age in a state of blessing.

 

#  If Jesus really were The God, as the illogical trinitarians proclaim, he

     had ample opportunity to say so. He never did say so because he is not

     The God. He returned to heaven to be the one mediator between man

     and The God (see I Timothy 2:5). He is our human high priest, or

     mediator, although now existing in a glorified human body.

 

# Many people may be very surprised at the judgment of Jesus when

     everything they have considered as good will be burned up. Only those

     works based upon faith in The God, and done in obedience to him, will

     withstand the judgment of Jesus.  Whether we have labeled them good

     or evil will be immaterial.

 

# We are to judge no man as being righteous because of his works, nor

     are we to judge any man as being a sinner because of his works. We

     simply cannot know his heart.

 

# Those who did evil will come forth to a resurrection of judgment, not of

     life. They will not enter into the kingdom in a place of blessing, but will

     be in outer darkness. Those in outer darkness will be ruled over during

     the next age by the glorified saints, those who will be resurrected to life.

 

#  Jesus was here to reveal the Father to mankind, and he could do this

     only through complete submission to the desires of The God.

 

# None of us can do anything of ourselves to earn the right to enter the

     next age in a place of blessing, with a glorified body. Only those things

     done under the guidance of holy spirit, which was poured out upon all

     flesh, will count at the judgment seat when Jesus comes again to judge

     our works.

 

# To Jesus, as to all the other New Testament writers, salvation was almost

     always a future event.

 

# In spite of the fact that Jesus said, "my father sent me," most "christians"

     today still claim that Jesus and The God are one and the same. How can

     one be sent from another and still remain only one entity? This is

     simply an absurd assertion.

 

# The invisible god has always spoken through an intermediary: usually

     his word, Jehovah, in the Old Testament; or his son, Jesus, in the New

     Testament.

 

#  John stated emphatically that no one has ever heard the voice of The

     God, and no one has seen his form.

 

#  Jesus was not only the word of the invisible god, but that invisible god

     was not known to anyone until Jesus revealed him.

 

#  Jesus was the veil before the heavenly holy of holies. When he was

     crucified, that veil was rent, thereby opening the way into the heavenly

     holy of holies.

 

# The Jews sought "life eternal" by doing good works. They believed that

     the purpose for studying the scriptures was to discover how to live, so

     they would be granted eternal life, or entrance into the next age. They

     reasoned that if they gave it their "best shot," so to speak, then Jehovah

     would honor their good intentions.

 

#  Jesus told the Jews that they should be searching the scriptures for

     knowledge concerning himself instead of trying to find how they could

     earn eternal life by their own efforts.

 

#  Jesus most often spoke of salvation as being something future. He

     preached the coming kingdom of The God, just as John, the Baptist,

     had done. Jesus knew that his death would open the way to the

     invisible god in heaven. Not only that, but after his ascension to the

     Father, he would pour out some of holy spirit upon all flesh. This would

     enable people to taste a sample of eternal life in this life, as well as

     experience all of its fullness in the age to come.

 

# These religious men standing around Jesus were not operating on the

     basis of loving The God, although they readily acclaimed that was their

     primary purpose.  There was actually no love of The God among the

     whole lot of them. Like many religionists of our day, their purpose was

     to maintain the status quo of their religious organization. 

 

# In fact, The God is never called by a proper name in all of the scriptures.

 

#  Jesus was pointing out one of the vanities of the organized religious

     leaders of his day: they sought glory from other men. Unfortunately,

     this problem continues even today in hierarchical religious

     denominations. Men organize churches like a worldly business

     organization and manage them with all the attitudes of a worldly

     business. The result is usually "receiving glory from one another."

 

#  In these worldly organizations, called churches, people strive to climb

     the corporate ladder of the church hierarchy. This is true even in

     smaller, local, organized churches.  When divisions arise within the

     local group, the church splits into another worldly organization, called

     a church, with the seeds of its corruption already sown when it begins.

 

#  Jesus told the Jews that they did not seek the glory of The God, which is

     still the bane of organized religions, regardless of their denomination.

     Given the nature of organized religions, people become so lost that it is

     nearly impossible for them to seek the glory which is from The God.

 

#  It is easy to read the scriptures from a mistaken viewpoint. After

     indoctrination in church tenets, people tend to see in the Bible what

     they already have been taught to believe. Many have been misled from

     childhood without even realizing they have been led astray.  It is

     seldom possible to find people willing to think beyond the boundaries

     of their religious indoctrination.

 

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September 2009