Sermon: Jesus’ Authority to Give Life John 5:18-29

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Jesus’ Authority to Give Life

John 5:18-29

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus has the authority and power to command the dead to rise and then to execute judgment.

Introduction

Twice in this passage Jesus uses the words truly truly I say to you. Then John uses the phrase Do not marvel or literally think this odd, because the things described in these verses will take place. These things are so sure that our Lord gives His stamp of approval even before they take place.

We are told in our text for today that Jesus has the authority to raise the dead. Some when they’re raise will see eternity with God as His people. Others, when they’re raised will be sentenced to eternal judgment.

Human Need Met

Where this passage meets us today is in the realm of belief. Jesus will tell us that salvation is when a person hears His words and believes the Father who sent Him then and only then do we experience eternal life with Christ. It is vital that we believe Jesus and believe everything the Father tells us and that the Father sent Jesus.

In our churches today all we basically hear are things like ask Jesus into your heart or pray this prayer with me and you’ll be saved. Jesus’ version of salvation is entirely different. He says when we hear Him and believe that the Father sent Him then we are born again.

John 5:18–29 (ESV)

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, 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 also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

  1. Jesus’ Authority Comes from the Father

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.

Here in this first section John wants us to see the unity that exists between Jesus and His Father. God the Father and God the Son are equal in divinity and in person. God the Father is working even today in bringing salvation to lost sinners and He has appointed Jesus to do the same. Both are working in unison to bring about redemption for the people of God.

God is doing some amazing work in the world. Notice that the work here in context was the raising of the man who had been lame for 38 years. We remember that John used the word for rise up was the same as used for a resurrection. So, as amazing as that was, Jesus tells us that there will be greater works than that.

20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he shown him, so that you may marvel.

So far in this first section Jesus is making the point that the Father is working continually in the task of reconciling lost humanity to Himself. His eternal Sabbath rest after His six days of creative work is continuing but He is not resting from the work of saving His people. Jesus is telling us that He and His Father are doing the same work with the same thrust and the same end. The Trinity is in perfect harmony accomplishing the same goal.

What would be greater than healing the paralytic who had been in that state for 38 years? Jesus is about to explain to us that we saw Him raise the lame now were are going to experience Him raising the dead…that’s the greater work He is speaking of.

  1. Jesus’ Authority Brings Him Honor

21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

One of the greater works accomplished by God is the greater work of raising the dead. We first see this idea in various places in the OT.

1 Samuel 2:6 (ESV)

   The Lord kills and brings to life;

he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

2 Kings 5:7 (ESV)

And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

The Jews during Jesus’ day understood very well that only God had the authority and power to raise the dead.

So, the Father raises the dead and gives them life.

Notice what Jesus tells us…He also has the authority to give life to whomever He choses. The resurrection life is in the hands of Jesus Christ. God the Father has given Him the authority and power to give life to whomever He choses.

Jesus gives life to His elect and also has the power and authority to render judgment as well…

22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

We must understand that Jesus has the authority to save His people and judge the rest. He is the One who will do this.

  1. Hearing and Believing

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

The unity of the Father and the Son is seen here in the way people are saved.

This is a very important verse. Here in verse 24 Jesus tells us how it is one receives eternal life. Now, remember, Jesus and the Father have the authority to give life so God sets the rules. There is no one else that can give eternal life; no other religion can give eternal life. Eternal life is found only in the Son.

Notice how Jesus begins this verse: Truly, Truly I say to you…

The Greek here is literally, Amen, Amen. Now what we should see is that the typical response to truth when we hear it is amen. It is a word that means I’ve heard the truth presented and affirm it and am currently believing it. But here is something very strange. Jesus says Amen, Amen twice concerning His own words and His authority is so binding that He can say this before His words are spoken. In other words, God is affirming truth before it is spoken. There is no stronger way for Jesus to tell us that what He’s about to say is the most important truth we will ever hear. This is how God gives eternal life…

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life

Look with me and see that prior to the words of Jesus everyone is to be judged. There is a number, however, who hear the words of Jesus and believe God the Father and it is this number who have eternal life. We must see the unity here. Jesus is telling us the Words God the Father has given Him to tell us.

So, let’s make sure we get this. To hear the words of Jesus means that He has opened our hearts to really hear. We read the words of our Lord and they echo down deep into our soul. We really hear. Formerly, we had no interest, no ability to hear. In the process of bringing us to life our ears can hear spiritual truth and we respond with an amen from the heart, the truth is affirmed. Then, we begin to see that the truth Jesus told us came from His Father.

John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

When we truly believe something our life is different, we think differently and act differently.

When this hearing and believing takes place the death sentence is lifted and removed and we have eternal life. Something we should also see is that when this belief happens we immediately; from that moment on begin eternal life.

This isn’t all Jesus has authority to do…

  1. All Will Hear Jesus’ Voice and Rise from the Dead

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, 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 also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Just as sure and true was Jesus’ first statement concerning hearing His Word and believe God for eternal life is His Amen, amen again.

Notice this is different. Now we see Jesus’ authority and power to call out over the centuries to ALL who are dead and in the grave. At His second coming He will shout and His voice will echo throughout the world and everyone who is dead will be resurrected.
Do you see here the authority of His voice? Perhaps His cry will be the same as with Lazarus, Come Forth!!!!
In verse 25, Jesus calls Himself the Son of God. This is what John is out to prove to the world. This is one of the things we must hear and believe to have eternal life.
John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Let’s make sure we understand these verses…
Jesus tells us divine truth and He says that at His voice ALL will rise from the dead. At the moment when Jesus returns everyone who is in the grave will be summoned from the dead and all will see the Lord in His might and authority and will give an account. When I say all I mean all…saved and lost.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 (ESV)

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Daniel 12:2 (ESV)

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Do we get a feel for the power and authority Jesus has and the overwhelming effect His voice has?
Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Genesis 1:3 (ESV)

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

John 1:1–4 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The resurrection that everyone will experience is brought about by the command of Jesus Christ. His voice will recreate all bodies who were dead and bring them to life and connect them to their souls and face judgment.
This is exactly the point Jesus makes when speaking to Martha about Lazarus…
John 11:20–27 (ESV)

20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
At that point Martha’s faith was real and her life eternal began. Jesus brought Lazarus out of the tomb as a example of all who would someday be raised. Just as Lazarus heard the voice of Jesus from the tomb and was brought to life so too will everyone someday hear and be brought to life and some will experience the resurrection to judgment and others to eternal life.
Jesus will summon everyone who has ever died and all will obey. DO we see this? Everyone we read about in history will be made alive and will stand before King Jesus to give an account. All the presidents, all the kings and queens, all who were famous, all who loved Christ and all who hated Him. Adolph Hitler will be summoned. George Washington, Napoleon, and Winston Churchill will be summoned. All will stand before Jesus and be judged.
Verse 27: “And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” I know that Son of Man can be a very exalted, even divine, title from Daniel 7:13. But it seems to me that here the emphasis falls on another qualification besides the exalted divine one—the judge of the universe, the one who raises them all from the dead and passes judgment on them must be a son of man, that is, must be a vulnerable human.

Recall what Paul said to the people on Mars Hill in Acts 17:31: “God has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” So the judge of the world, in God’s reckoning, must be a son of man—human.

A Suffering, Slain Man Will Judge the World

Or consider what John himself wrote in Revelation 5. An angel cries out, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” Now this stands for opening of the end of history—the unleashing on the world of God’s final judgments. And the answer to the question comes back: “‘Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain. . . . And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain’” (Revelation 5:2, 5–6, 9).

In other words, God intends that the one who judges the world will have been a slain lamb, a crucified man. The Lion of Judah must first be the Lamb of God. The judging Son of God at the last day must first be a suffering son of man.
And if we ask why must our judge be a man—a suffering man—I think the answer is that God deems it fitting that human beings be judged by one who knows what it’s like to be human. And not just human, but one who suffered to deliver the rest of us from judgment. There is something suitable that the one who sentences men to heaven or to hell would be a suffering Savior—that the judge of all men will be able to look into every eye and say, “I too was tempted. I too suffered.”[1]
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

It is a natural conclusion to this section that Jesus would declare that when the resurrection happens there will be two categories of people. Those who are raised to experience life eternal with God in glorified bodies. These will enter into their heavenly rest and will enjoy an eternity with God as their King.
Jesus is not saying here that salvation is by works but that those who believe will exhibit works that show what they believe. We’ve already learned that salvation comes as one hears the Words of Christ and believes God.
Then there is the second group also raised who will spend the same eternity suffering judgment and wrath of God. Their evil works show who they are as well.
So, it is the lives people live form the test of the faith they profess…Just as a tree is known by its fruit so too a person is known by their works.
Application
Have you come to Christ on His terms? Are you currently hearing and believing? Can you along with Jesus say yes and amen to everything found in God’s Word?

 

Conclusion

 

Children’s Homework

 

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

[1] John Piper

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