Rather than rejoicing over the healing of a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years, the Jewish leaders found fault with the man who had been healed, claiming that he was breaking the fourth commandment by carrying his pallet on the Sabbath. They also began harassing Jesus, accusing Him of also breaking the Sabbath by healing someone that day.
Jesus responded by truthfully and clearly stating that God was His Father, thus He was God’s Son. Although God is perfect in holiness, some of the commandments He’s given to human beings don’t apply to Himself. For example, your parents might have a rule that you be in bed by nine o’clock each night, but you can’t accuse them of doing wrong if they go to bed later than nine! Some of their rules apply only to you, and not to them.
The same is true of God. He commanded the Israelites to offer animal sacrifices on a regular basis, but that is not something God does! And no one can rightfully accuse Him of sinning because He doesn’t offer sacrifices. By the same token, although God commanded the Israelites not to work on the Sabbath, that didn’t mean it would be a sin for God to work that day! Because Jesus was God, He could work on any Sabbath He chose. That’s why He responded to the Jewish leaders by saying, “My Father never stops working, so why should I?” Although God rested on the seventh day after the six days of creation, perhaps He hasn’t rested since!
The Jewish leaders recognized that Jesus, in calling God His Father, was claiming to be equal with God, and hated Him all the more. But Jesus didn’t back down from His claim. Rather, He expanded on it, showing that He had a unique relationship with God the Father that no one else ever had or ever will have.
Unlike any other person who had ever lived, Jesus perfectly obeyed God the Father. He was acting as the Father’s perfect representative on earth, and they shared an intimate relationship. It was the Father who gave Jesus the ability to teach with amazing wisdom and work miracles, and those signs proved to all that He was God’s Son.
God the Father, who is the only one who can give physical or spiritual life, determined and decreed that it would be only through Jesus that anyone could receive new physical life and be resurrected after he had died. Jesus will one day exercise His God-given authority to raise the dead by resurrecting everyone who has ever lived. Also, by the Father’s decision, only through Jesus can anyone receive spiritual life and be born again. And just as physically dead people will one day be resurrected when Jesus speaks, so spiritually dead people are hearing Jesus’ words and being spiritually reborn.
The Father has also appointed Jesus as judge of all people, and one day everyone will stand before Him to give an account of his or her life. He will determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. His judgment will be perfectly just because it will be in perfect accordance with the Father’s judgment. Obviously, as Jesus said, God the Father wants Jesus to be equally honored with Himself. In light of such incredible claims, we can only conclude that Jesus was either God’s divine Son or He was a very deranged and evil man.
In light of His amazing teaching and the miracles that God did through Him, however, the only intelligent choice of the two alternatives is that Jesus was indeed God’s only Son!
Q. Jesus said that the Scriptures pointed to Him (see John 5:39), and specifically referred to the writings of Moses (see John 5:46). Can you think of any scriptures in the first five books of the Bible that speak of Jesus?
A. First, the entire system of sacrificing animals to atone for sins pointed to Jesus’ sacrificial accomplishment on the cross as the Lamb of God. Second, the establishment of a high priest who stood between God and man, interceding on behalf of sinners, points to Jesus as our High Priest who reconciled us to God by His death. Third, God promised in the first books of the Bible that the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah. And fourth, referring to the Messiah, Moses spoke prophetically of another prophet of great authority whom God would raise up (see Deuteronomy 18:18-19; John 1:21; Acts 3:22-23).
Application: Jesus plainly stated that anyone who listens to His message and believes that God sent Him has eternal life. When people do believe, they will pass from the realm of death into the realm of life, and will not be condemned for their sins (see John 5:24-25). That’s good news! Does it apply to you?