CROSSING OVER: OUR PASSAGE FROM ETERNAL DEATH TO ETERNAL LIFE
Richard Whitaker- Discipleship and Connections Pastor LHBC
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. 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. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 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. 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. (ESV) John 5:19-24
Jesus had many critics. His miraculous healings, authoritative teaching, and the shocking claim that he was God’s son absolutely shook up the religious establishment! Instead of validating Jesus’ ministry by the overwhelming evidence of messianic prophecy, they could only see him taking away their power, prestige, and comfortable routines. Instead of finding their identity and worth in Jesus, they clung to a counterfeit identity and the fading worth of material things. So precious were these worldly attainments and so feared their loss, the religious leaders began to plot ways to kill Jesus.
Jesus responds to his critics by calmly explaining his relationship with the father in terms that everyone could understand. First, Jesus reveals that everything he did originated from the Father. Jesus could freely heal the man at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath because his Father is God of the Sabbath and the healing itself was given by the Father. This reality made the religious leaders rage because they wanted to be lords of their version of the Sabbath apart from God.
Jesus further explains that God bestows healing power on Jesus because God loves his Son. Like a master carpenter to his apprentice son, God makes Jesus aware of every detail of kingdom design. One such detail of God’s amazing design is found when Jesus points to the resurrection of the dead, teaching that healing on the Sabbath is but small change compared to the marvelous work of raising the dead to life that God will accomplish through Jesus in the days ahead. Instead of love for motivation, Jesus’ critics were motivated by maintaining their position, prestige, and power.
Second, not only did God transfer authority to Jesus for raising the dead, but also the authority to judge. The writer of Hebrews speaks of this judgement when he says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). With the authority to judge and raise people from the dead, Jesus is clearly saying that he is God, that he and the Father, who gave the Jewish people their laws of the Sabbath, are one. As such, failing to honor the Son, does not “honor the Father who sent him.” Thinking they were following God by hating on Jesus, they were actually opposing him.
To these rebellious haters Jesus lovingly offers them an out! Not willing that they should perish, Jesus invites them to hear and believe, in order to gain eternal life and pass over from spiritual death to spiritual life.
Like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, we can reject Jesus as Lord when we allow our religious traditions to define how we worship instead of God. When we place comfort and routine ahead of simple, humble devotion to King Jesus, we find ourselves in opposition to Father God. As an apprentice does to his or her master, let us look to Jesus as our friend, teacher, and Lord. By God’s grace, may we clear away the blind spots of tradition in our Christ following. He loves us and wants to teach us everything he knows, most importantly how to pattern our lives after his to make disciples.
Is your life marked by the pattern of Jesus or have you slipped into following our King according to the traditions of men? Are you by chance basing your salvation on your own righteousness or the righteousness of Jesus? If so, throw off all counterfeits today, hear the invitation of Jesus and believe in God who sent him. You will then have eternal life, crossing over from a life of darkness to a life of light and hope for all of eternity. An eternity that begins the moment you believe!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Dear Lord, you are completely worthy of all my love and admiration. Thank you for leaving me such a vivid example of following the Father, so that I can learn how to follow through you. You followed with such devoted obedience and humility and that is what I need today. Forgive me when I rebel, place my selfish wants before you, and forfeit the peace that you give when I yoke myself closely to you. Make me, in my heart, a willing and joyful servant who brings kingdom life to earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”