The Gospel Of John, Chapter 5
This week we get our first clear, and possibly shocking, view of who Jesus claimed to be. We also witness another confrontation he had with the Jewish spiritual leaders.
Although Jesus miraculously healed a man who had been ill for 38 years, the Jewish leaders were more interested in the rules they had made up for the Sabbath. This is a very relevant reminder for us today. What guidelines are in place for our lives and where did they come from? Although God does want us to respect the leaders placed over us in the church(1 Thessalonians 5: 12-13), we are to test everything said, comparing it to scripture, so that we don't end up following a bunch of man-made ideas. For more on this concept, look at 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
When the Pharisees (the Jewish Leaders) confront Jesus, he makes a shocking claim. He refers to God as his father. In the culture of the time, God was considered the Father of all Jewish people, but the Pharisees recognized that Jesus was implying a special and specific relationship to God. Jesus also makes it clear that if you refuse to honor him, you are not honoring the Father, either.
This idea promotes controversy even today. So many would prefer to believe in and honor God in a very general sense. But Jesus does not leave room for that kind of spirituality. To ignore him is to ignore God. On the flip side, there is an incredible, free gift for those that choose to trust in and honor Christ. John 5:24 "I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life."
"The Son Of Man" was Jesus' favorite name for himself. Although it may seem like a fairly mundane title, Jesus knew, as did the people who heard him, that "The Son Of Man" was the name for a figure in the book of Daniel.
Real quick, go check out Daniel 7:13-14. This prophesied future king would establish himself as ruler over the entire planet and his rule would last forever.
So although it may sound like Jesus is playing down who he is by referring to himself this way, in actuality, he was calling himself the eternal king of the world!
From verse 39 through the end of the chapter, Jesus is scolding the Pharisees for honoring each other and seeking recognition while ignoring the truth that they claim to live their lives by. Like so many today, these were men that liked to feel spiritual and act spiritual and be thought of as spiritual. In reality they did not believe in the truth, and their desire to be comfortable eventually made it impossible for them to change their minds and accept the truth.
It's interesting to note that Jesus, in verse 36, says that his teachings and his miracles are the chief witnesses for his identity as the unique Son of God and the prophetic Son of Man. So as we continue we'll keep a close eye on the radical things Jesus says, and the supernatural things that he does. In fact, next week Jesus will manipulate and reproduce matter with only a thought and then perform one of his most well-known miracles... walking on water!
Don't miss out!
Question to comment on(leave your comments regarding this question here!):
How would you describe the difference between being a "religious" Christian and an "authentic" Christian?