Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Life and Death

Read John 5

And so, this parallel track of people seeking and following Jesus is contrasted with those vested in the religious hierarchy who are seeking to discredit him, and whom later will set upon a course to kill him.

For the moment, they have him dead-to- rights.  If you don’t like the idiom, then go with they caught him in the act.  Now they would expect some contrition and Jesus should be asking them for mercy.

Oops!  It didn’t go down that way. 

Jesus noted that his Father in heaven was always at work and so was he.  In that statement was the dichotomy that would eventually take Jesus to the cross.  What dichotomy?

It was simple.  Jesus was the Son of God or he was not.  It was that simple.  Jesus had told the woman at the well in Sychar that he was the Christ.  Many people there recognized him as the Savior of the world. Now he tells the Jews the same thing.

Let’s think on that for a moment.  The Jews had been hoping and praying for a Savior to come.  Would they not at least consider the words of this man who said God is his Father.

They had been looking for the Messiah, even the Samaritans had been looking for the Messiah, and now he is standing in front of those who felt they had held to God’s teachings the most and they don’t even take the time to pray or meditate upon what he just told them.

Could this be the Messiah?  Could it?  Let’s follow up on this.

Jesus went a different route than some might expect.  He could have said that you guys have added way more to the law than my Father put forth.  Some of your rules are a real stretch and deserved to be called out for what they are.

But that’s not how it went down.  Jesus said that his Father was always working and thus so was he.  The Father who modeled work 6 and rest 1 was at it 24/7.  What gives?

Could this man be the Lord of the Sabbath?

Instead of listening to Jesus, the Jews now sought to get rid of him even more.  What else could they do?  He violated the Sabbath and then justified it by claiming that God was his Father.

To reflect upon any of this might have been a stumbling block to killing him, which would come later.

Jesus came back at the self-righteous, noting that he really does nothing that is not ordained by the Father in heaven. 

He could have left it there but began a course of dialogue that he would expand upon in his last hours spent with his disciples.  Jesus is in the Father.  The Father is in him.  The Father has entrusted the judgment of his creation to his Son.

Fortunately, Jesus had come to save and not to condemn.  That salvation would come through belief in the Son and forgiveness through the shedding of his blood. 

Jesus told them that if they didn’t believe in him, then they didn’t believe in the Father.  That had to get their goat.  They couldn’t pick and choose.

Jesus told them that when they believed in him, they passed from death to life.  Did that mean that they were already dead?  The dead are in the ground, right?

Jesus spoke to all.  Those who hear him and believe will live.

Jesus went on to talk about those who were already dead and in the ground.  One day, they will hear him say arise and the dead will come out of their graves.  Keep that one in the back of your mind for when we get to chapter 11 and Jesus specifically called for Lazarus to arise.

Up to this point it’s been mostly water to wine, miraculous healings, truth to all, and a selected outburst at those who turned his Father’s house into a market.  Now it was Game On!

Jesus was bringing truth and salvation.  Many Jews were plotting to kill him.  His journey to the cross had been set.

As we continue our journey through John, we will see more conflict between the religious Jews and Jesus.  We will also see some more accounts of miracles, this time with more and more witnesses. 

It’s good study material, but is there a message of action for us today?

Yes!  It’s life and death.  Those who do not believe upon the Son of God are lost.  They are dead already. 

But in a moment of professing belief in him, they pass from death to life.  We are messengers of life.  We go into a dead world.  We share a message of life.

If you ever have a bad day or are bored or just in a funk, remember that you are on a mission of life and death.  You have life in the Christ, but what about others that you know?

Would you leave them behind to die?  They are dead right now without Christ.  The world will make fun of you and harass you for saying this.  They don’t want to hear about one way to come into right standing with God.   You know it to be true, so why would the opinions of the unbelieving world matter to you?

Would you share the good news that they can live if they will accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ?  If you believe and profess that he is the Son of God, then you know him to be Lord.

Make a list of friends and acquaintances.  Now circle those that you would leave for dead.  You can’t decide for them but you can invite them to know the Lord and pray for them every day, or you can leave them for dead.

It’s about life and death and let’s pray that many more choose life.


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