By Tyson Thorne

June 27, 2019

John 15 Large

In Act 3 of a three act story Jesus confronts the Pharisees for healing a crippled man on the Sabbath. Behind the healing is Jesus' command that the man pick up his mat and walk, an act that was not permitted on the holy day. The Pharisees were less concerned with Jesus' act of healing (something that should have signaled them that he was the Messiah) and were more exercised with his instruction which violated their own law. Jesus answers their objections with a theology lesson chock full of "solemn truth". We pick the story up in chapter five verse 16.

Jesus begins by telling them who he is, the Son of the Father, which angered them all the more. It could be that they genuinely thought Jesus was blaspheming, but I can't believe it. They had seen Jesus cleanse the temple, a sign of the Messiah. They had seen Jesus heal people — and not strangers whom no one could verify actually had an affliction, but well known cripples and beggars that they people had seen every day in the streets or at the pool of Bethesda. These sign miracles should have brought them to conclude that Jesus is in fact the Messiah. I think they closed their mind to all these things they had witnessed with their own eyes because, if true, their authority and power were threatened. So lesson one: Jesus is God.

Lesson two, the Son does what the Father does. In other words, Jesus will not do anything the Father would not do. The two are in agreement, equal in ability and willing to maintain righteousness and holiness. And the things that God will do in their future will amaze them.

Lesson three is that the Father has ceded the right to judge humanity to Jesus. This is interesting because, even though we know this is true from other passages, most people thing of the Great White Throne Judgment as being held by the Father in his heavenly court. It will not be The Father who judges, however, but the Son. For this reason, Jesus warns, those who dishonor the Son also dishonor the Father. This had to strike a blow at the egos of the Pharisees. They claimed everything they do is for God the Father, and yet they disrespect Jesus, his Son.

Lesson four, those who hear the testimony Jesus gives about himself have nothing to fear on Judgment day, they are forgiven their sins and have crossed over from spiritual death to eternal life. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that Jesus talks about the undoing of the original curse. God warned Adam and Eve that they day they eat of the forbidden tree they would surely die. Their physical death did eventually come, but their spiritual death was immediate. This state is reversed in the person of Jesus.

Verses 25 through 30 are difficult to understand from a casual reading. Jesus tells us that the dead will hear his voice, and those that hear it will live. This is a reference to the first resurrection, the raising of those who have died in faith before the tribulation begins will hear the call of Jesus and ascend to be with him. This will happen again after the tribulation, to call back all those who died in faith during the tribulation. The final resurrection is of those who died and who will be judged for eternal condemnation. Jesus is responsible for all this and it is the Father who made it all possible. This is the fifth and final lesson, but not the end of the discourse.

Jesus will explain to the Pharisees their error and their eternal fate in a mock trial of sorts. Something we will examine next time.

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