The Discourse and The Controversy

This is the first discourse of Jesus in John’s Gospel. The actual scriptures are http://ref.ly/Jn5.17-47. The question raised in this first discourse is how can a person know God? How can this knowledge be verified? Jesus lets these people know that God can be known by humanity. This discourse has two main parts.

1.     Verses 17-30 Jesus teaches that a man can know God because the Father is revealed in God the Son.

2.     Verses 31-47 Jesus gives evidence for this claim, pointing out that his testimony is substantiated by a series of other God-given witnesses.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus connects Himself with the Father. I can only imagine how furious the Jewish leaders were with this statement! He says that both He and the Father work. This caused the Jews to hate Him even more. Not just because He mentions the Father, but He says, He is on equal footing with the Father after He had broken the Sabbath! In http://ref.ly/Jn10.30, Jesus declares His oneness with the Father. This would make Jesus God. It also said that Jesus was working as directed by God. Healing this man on the Sabbath was God ordained. Jesus was working with God. This was too much for the religious leaders to bear. They became aggravated. The truth can upset people. They were going against Jesus, and the only reaction was a more evil attitude. The attack was twofold: Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, and Jesus had placed Himself on equal footing with God. http://ref.ly/Jn5.18

The hostility against Jesus becomes stronger at this point. The religious leaders show their true colors. For these individuals to show such contempt is a revelation of the condition of their hearts. Their conduct becomes worse. Here we see that the Jews begin to persecute Jesus. These leaders were hypocritical. The man did wrong because he sinned on the Sabbath, and in their hearts, they wanted to kill Jesus. “The whole Divine spirit of the Sabbath is mercy towards man, yet these critics had made it a call for unjustified cruelty.” [Analytical Bible Expositor John – John 5 – B. The Hostilities to Christ – 3 The Contempt of the Hostilities, p. 78]

God rested on the seventh day. Gen 2:2-3 from His work of Creation. What Jesus was pointing to was the continuous work of God as a justification for His Sabbath activity. God sustains the world. He begets life. He visits judgments. Therefore, it is not wrong for His Son to do works of grace and mercy on the Sabbath. He is said “My Father” instead of “your” father or “our” Father. The religious leaders knew what Jesus implied by this phrase. This was the claim to Deity. To them God has no equals. Jesus’ claim was a monstrous blasphemy. They considered this polytheism. [Bible Knowledge Commentary NT -Front Matter – Commentary- II Jesus, p. 290] They saw Jesus’ claim based in arrogant independence. Whew! Were they ever wrong! This shows how spiritually blind they were. In studying the Talmud, four persons were branded as being haughty because they claimed this statement. They were Hiram, Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, and the Jewish King Joash. The reason for the contempt was that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. Their idea of punishment was unjust. When you ignore the Word of God, you will have trouble being fair and just.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that He is not independent of or in opposition to the Father. He moves in the same way that the Father moves. His movements are on the Divine Schedule as set forth by the Father. The Son can do nothing without the Father. The Father loves the Son. Therefore, the Son is shown the same things as the Father. The Father will show greater things than what Jesus has just done. Theses greater works shall be revealed. The Son is not independent of or in rebellion against the Father. Their relationship is oneness and continual love. Jesus has full disclosure of all the Father’s works. There will be even more amazing works than physical healings.

 

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