I Know Whom I Have Believed
Text: John 5:17-24
Proposition: To hear and then to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the One Whom the Father has sent, this is where everlasting life begins in anyone.
Introduction: It had been a peculiar day, Jesus was in Jerusalem and had gone down to where the pool of Siloam was. As He came down the steps to where the pool was He saw people laying all about, some with sores, some crippled, some laying on mats paralyzed. Of all the crowd who lay in the early morning sun that Sabbath Jesus looked at one man, chose him, healed him and then sent him into the midst of a controversy. He tells this man who was paralyzed to now stand, take up his bed and walk. We understand the command of Jesus to this man to stand and walk but the command to take up his bed or mat is more obscure to us. Surely this filthy, worn out mat was not of great value, why the command to carry it with him? We don’t have to wonder for long, almost immediately we read that the Pharisees see him carrying his mat on the Sabbath and they confront him as this was considered work which violated the laws of the Sabbath. The man tells them that it was Jesus who had healed him and then commanded him to do this. These details set the stage for the presenting of truth, the truth about the equality that Jesus has with God the Father and the truth that can transform your life here today. Turn in your Bibles to John 5:15- 24 as Jesus proclaims three truths about Who He is.
Truth #1. The Equality of Jesus to the Father is Evidenced in What He Does.
There were many encounters that Jesus had with the Pharisees that were all about working on the Sabbath. It was as if Jesus intentionally used the Sabbath as a point of provocation but the issue is much bigger than just a debate. When Jesus said in verse 17, “My Father has been working until now…” He is referring to the upholding and sustaining work of the Father over all creation, even on the Sabbath. The Father rested on the seventh day of Creation as a statement that it was now complete but His sovereign upholding power continued to be engaged. Jesus says that what He does on the Sabbath is in the same vein, His sovereign prerogative, His sustaining power and nature are identical to that of God the Father. He healed and restored on the Sabbath as evidence of His equality with the Father and as a means of revealing to them the truth of Who He is. This was not lost on the Jews as they immediately recognized what Jesus was claiming, but they rejected this truth.
Truth #2. The Equality of Jesus With the Father is Evidenced in His Will.
Jesus makes this extraordinary statement, “…the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do, for whatever He does the Son also does in like manner.” What Jesus means is that it is impossible for Him to act in a way that is contrary to the Father, they are two Persons but One will. It’s why we believe in One God that is Triune, the Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The will of the Father is the will of Jesus and He acts according to that will. So we could say it was the will of the Father to heal that lame man by the pool and the will of the Father that the man be commanded to pick up his bed and walk with it on the Sabbath. Did Jesus see where this would lead in a confrontation with the Pharisees, quite likely. Yet Jesus says that the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things He is doing. There is this love of the Father to Son that comes from the absolute understanding that they share. The will of Jesus moving in the awareness of this great love proclaims the absolute equality of Jesus with the Father.
Truth #3. The Equality of Jesus With the Father is Also in His Authority.
There is the authority to raise the dead and to impart life to them. Certainly there is the authority of all judgment being committed to the Son in verse 22. There is even the authority that is worthy of the same honor as the Father. But the authority that immediately touches us is the authority of His words. It is this authority that we encounter here this morning as we hear again the words of Jesus. I want you to take a close look at verse 24, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him Who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death into life.” We have heard the word of Jesus that He is of absolute equality with the Father and we are not only to believe that what He said was true, we are to believe in Him who sent Jesus. That phrase, “believe in Him who sent Me.” is used by Jesus again and again (Jn.5:38; 6:29; 17:21; Mk 9:37; Lk. 9:48). Is it that Jesus is saying, ‘I know the truth about Who God is because I came from Him and I am of Him. He sent Me to tell you Who He is, what sin is and the great danger or judgment or condemnation (the Greek word is krisis) that you are under. I have been sent to take your place in ‘krisis’. I have been sent because the love of God for you is so great that He sent His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. I have the authority to lay my life down for you in this way.’
Jesus said that he who hears His word… to hear means they actually understood what He was offering to them, they actually got what it was He was saying… if they hear His word and then believe, that is to reckon that what they have just heard is in fact true, they believe it, they place confidence in it, they trust in it. When they believe in His word that says God has sent Jesus for them, then in that moment of belief there is a faith that grows into a life of sanctified belief, they have passed from death into life. Everlasting life begins the very moment that I hear and then believe.
This morning we consider the sovereign way that God has chosen a particular man to be the means of testing us, showing us the truth of Who He is, glorifying Himself. His actions hold all things together, His will is fixed with the Fathers in all He does, His authority surpasses even death and His word has proclaimed all this to us this morning. He does this not solely for our understanding or for information sake, He does this so that we might pass from death into life.