John 5:19-30, NIV

19 Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the
Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees
his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the
Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows
him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him
even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father
raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives
life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father
judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father,
who sent him.

24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes
him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned;
he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth,
a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted
the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him
authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when
all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come
out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those
who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself
I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment
is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent
me."



February 24, 2011
Now we are at the heart of what Jesus really wanted to tell
these religious leaders.
The story of Jesus' activity at the pool
of Bethesda was just a way of introducing this "meaty" section.
The man who had been healed didn't know who did it, nor how
or why he could pick up his mat and walk away. Neither did
his questioners know the who, how or why concerning the
works of God.

The man who had received the wonderful gift of a life restored,
did not know the source of this gift was the grace and providence
of his heavenly Father, whose work never ends, even on the
Sabbath.

Ironically, on hearing Jesus refer to God as his Father, the
opponents of Jesus tried even harder to do away with him. They
planned to kill Jesus even though in the Ten Commandments,
just the second one after keeping the Sabbath day holy, is one
which says very plainly, "You shall not murder."

In the midst of all this "not knowing", Jesus comes on strong with
info about God which everyone needs to know. Three times in
this section Jesus used the phrase, "I tell you the truth." Then he
followed it up with, "Do not be amazed." In other words, why
should you be surprised by what I am telling you. How can you
not know these things? So now we wonder, what is this
important message which every one of us should know, but
fail to understand?


February 26, 2011
I tell you the truth #1) Jesus was talking to Jewish men in words
they could understand--about fathers and sons. Jesus had a
Father, too. And theirs was an ideal relationship. Jesus did
nothing on his own; he only did what he had learned from his
Father. Whatever Jesus saw his Father doing, that is what he did.
The Father loves Jesus so much, is so proud of him and trusts
him with all things. Father God has not withheld anything from
him.

And yes, as amazing as all this sounds, his Father will show him
even greater things. [Just a little commentary - I see this as
moving from the old covenant under which people lived in Old
Testament times, to the new covenant of the New Testament
and the age of the Holy Spirit. The men to whom Jesus was
speaking were living under the old covenant, and Jesus was
inviting them to step forward into the new age he was ushering
in.] Here is a "greater thing": Only God has the power to give life
to the dead, but now the Son will also have the power to give
life to anyone he chooses to give it.

The second part of this paragraph is also spoken in words these
men could understand. They knew all about judging, and the
respect due to one who holds the authority to make life or
death judgments. They had already judged Jesus, and in their
collective eyes, Jesus was a menace to the faith and needed to
die. In the face of all their condemnation, Jesus told them that
his Father entrusted him with the honor of judgment, and if they
don't accept his authority over them, they are not honoring God
the Father who sent him into their midst.

I tell you the truth #2) Whoever hears these words of mine and
believes in the Father who sent me has eternal life; that person
will not be condemned and has already crossed over from
death to life. The implication: Even someone condemned to
death by the judges standing eyeball to eyeball with Jesus, even
they will live if they hear and believe the words of Jesus!

I tell you the truth #3) A time is coming and is already here when
the dead will hear my voice and those who hear will live. Just as
the Father has life in himself, so I have life in myself. Again, the
rulers of this world make their decisions, but our Father in
heaven is the ultimate power whose desire is always to give the
sentence of eternal life to everyone will to receive it. God is the
author of "greater things."

Don't be surprised by all this, Jesus told them. A day is coming
when those who are dead and in their graves will hear my voice
(the voice of the Son of Man). Men and women will walk out of
their tombs--those who got it right will rise to new life; those
who lived the wrong way will be condemned. I do nothing by
myself, my judgment is fair because I want only to please my
Father in heaven who sent me to this task.


                                                                                    More journal entries


December 19, 2001
Here comes the truth that Jesus spoke to these contentious
religious leaders and defenders of the faith. Whoever hears my
word and believes the One who sent me, that person has
everlasting life. He or she will not be condemned by any other
judgment, yours or anyone else's. The woman at the well in
chapter 4 is a good example. She will not be condemned but
has already passed from death into life. The opposite is also
true--those who do not hear and do not believe are already
bound up in a death sentence.

John 3:16-18 states clearly that God loves the world and does
not want any one to be condemned. God sent his Son into the
world to save everyone who wants to accept his offer of
eternal life.


December 18, 2001

Furthermore Jesus said, I have a love relationship with the Father
(something you guys need.). Love helps you see better what God
is doing and discern more clearly through whom God is working.
Love of God doesn't make you blind, it gives you eyes of faith
to see better, both physically and spiritually.

The judgment of these religious leaders fell heavily on Jesus'
head, so he followed that theme. The Father doesn't judge; he left
that job to me! So that all would honor me. Unfortunately, these
enemies of the Christ, were dishonoring him and the One who
sent him. Here they were, judging the Judge of the Universe


January 21, 1983
Jesus was a carpenter by trade, but the work described here is
not carpentry. What did Jesus work? He didn't seem to support
himself, earn his keep or carry his own weight in the real world.
He relied on the hospitality of friends and strangers, and the
families of his disciples for food, clothing, shelter. Jesus
bummed around from place to place, giving away his words of
Life to any who would receive them. Clearly, God's work is very
different from what is generally considered as work. God's work
doesn't stop on the Sabbath, or at night when I go to sleep.

My Father--is this the first time in John's Gospel that Jesus refers
to God in 
that intimate way? It may be the first time he brought
up the subject of the unity 
of Father and Son, but it won't be the
last. Later, in chapters 14 and 15, Jesus 
invites all his disciples
to become part of that unity.


January 23, 1983
It all sounded like blasphemy to those who were defending the
faith against popular imposters. Had they been attentive to God,
would the Spirit have told them who you are -- the revealer of
God's nature, the incarnation of God in the body of a man,
God's son, maybe even God himself? My theology is not too
good here. Who exactly were you? You were all of the above.
Yet how can you be God himself and the Son of God at the same
time? I hate questions like that.

I choose to believe first and hope understanding will come
later, because I can't with reason explain or understand this
type of question. I'm so glad for Albert Schweitzer's comment,
" . . . as we follow, we will come to know who He is."


January 25, 1983

I, too, as your child, can do nothing on my own. I, too, want my
work to be what I see my Father in heaven doing--loving the
world, sharing the Good News, calling for repentance, inspiring
faith and trust, living in peace and harmony with the rest of
God's creation. Healing, teaching, preaching, a living sacrifice,
consecrated to you. Not carried away by temporary pleasures,
but wanting your will to be my will. Because Jesus is the judge
of what will last or not last.


January 28, 1983
To see God at work in this world in the present tense, is the
greatest thing possible. In this passage it comes from a love 
relationship between Father and Son. God revealing Himself as
the best in life there is, the best choice we 
can make. Filling the
world and our lives with wonders. All who see, hear, and 
believe
will be a witness to others, not to make ourselves feel good,
but to 
draw others to God.


February 2, 1983
The Old Testament speaks of God as Judge. Here the Father
relegates judgment to his Son in order that man will revere the
Son and honor the Son as equal to the Father. Jesus is making
extravagant claims that border on being arrogant.

Just as God gave authority to Jesus, so God also gives his
earthly children power and honor and responsibility. God shares
himself, becomes partners with us. He doesn't do everything
himself. Again this might sound arrogant. But so is the phrase
"children of God" which is a concept inspired by none less than
our Creator.


February 3, 1983
Judgment is reserved for those who don't believe and have done
evil in God's sight. The opposite is eternal life--hearing Jesus and
believing in God. Jesus has solemnly assured us of this. First we
must hear Jesus, then we must believe the Father who sent Jesus
into the world.

First things first--hearing Jesus. We do that by reading the Bible,
pondering it, by openness to the Spirit, attentiveness and
receptivity. Creating time and space to listen. Tuning our ears
to hear his words. Listening to all of it, not just what we like.

Believing God--that he is worthy of our love and respect, trusting
him. Knowing through experience that God is Love, Faithful,
Gracious, Kind, Gentle, Wise, all Powerful and able to keep us.

Father, help me to hear and to believe, in order that I may have
eternal life. The kind of eternal life that starts right now. Amen.


February 28, 2011
" . . . I seek not to please myself but him who sent me." Those
words jump out at me. In that one little sentence, Jesus revealed
the deepest desire of his heart--to please his Father in heaven.
When he cut through all the noise and demands of life and
sorted through all the options available to him, this is what he
discovered about himself. This is what he really wanted above
all else--to please his Father in heaven. It became the basis for
all his living.

One single desire like this can unify a person's life so that he
or she is not pulled in many different directions. One single
desire like this could transform my fragmented life and make
me whole.

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