Lesson 27


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 5:29 and will come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. 5:30 I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is righteous; because I don't seek my own will, but the will of my Father who sent me.

5:31 "If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. 5:32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 5:34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 5:35 He was the lamp that burns and shines, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 5:36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me.


 Today's Lesson

Jesus continues His response to His critics for equating Himself with the Father by calling Himself the Son of God. He has said that all judgment has been turned over to Him. The Son has life within Him and can give this life to whomever He chooses. Importantly, He has said that He does nothing on His own. What He says and does are those things that the Father directs Him to say and do. Yesterday's scripture concluded with Jesus saying that the hour had come when the dead shall hear His words and rise from the grave.

 

Today's scripture begins with Jesus saying that there will come a time when all the dead will hear His voice and come forth from the grave. This will take place on the Day of the Lord. Those who have placed their faith and trust in the Father and the Son will come forth to a resurrection of life. Those who have not honored the Father and Son will come forth to a resurrection of judgment. Jesus uses the terms "those who have done good" and "those who have done evil" for belief in this passage, but within the context of this Gospel there can be no doubt that He has faith in mind.

 

Jesus repeats that He does nothing of His own. This is an essential idea in understanding the identity of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John. Jesus does not seek His own will, but the will of the Father. Because His purpose and will are the same as the Father, His actions and judgment are just and righteous.

 

Verse 31 begins a lengthy section about testimony. It is unfortunate that we must break this section in half because of space constraints. To understand the thrust of the argument in this passage one must be aware of the Jewish restrictions on testimony. In order for testimony to be valid in a Jewish court or legal proceeding there must be two or more witnesses. Jewish law did not allow a case to be brought that was one party's word against another. There must be two witnesses.

 

Jesus says that you needn't take my word for who I am and what I am here to achieve. John the Baptist is one witness. But, one greater than John testifies that Jesus is the Son of God. The Father testifies that Jesus is the Son by the works that Jesus accomplishes. Jesus was willing to be judged by His works. He was doing the work of the Father. John the Baptist was a lamp that was sent by the Father. For a while they saw his light. Many of them acknowledged that the Baptist was a prophet from God. But, just as Jesus is greater than the Baptist, the works that the Father has given Him to accomplish are greater than that of the Baptist.

 

This is an important distinction between Jesus and all others. Jesus will be judged on His works. He has lived a perfect life, at unity with the Father. All others who will be judged on their works will be lost. Only Christ can withstand that judgment. If you or I were to be judged by our works we would perish. Thankfully, we can escape that judgment. If we become part of the Body of Christ, we will not be judged by our own works, but by His works. He has died to sin and been raised to an everlasting life. When we are united with Christ we are accepted into His Body and are raised with Him.

 

One day, when the dead will rise on the Day of the Lord, you will stand at a judgment. Whose works will you be judged by? His, or yours?

 

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