The Gospel of John, The Period of Controversy, The Claims of Jesus Christ, The Witnesses for Christ, Part V, John 5:37-47 - Lesson 35
Read Verses 5:33-36 for review:
Last week we studied the first two witnesses that Jesus says witnesses to his deity.
They were: The Witness of John vv. 33,34 and The Witness of Christ's Works v.36
This week we will be looking at:
The Witness of the Father vv. 37,38
The Witness of the Scriptures v.39
THE WITNESS OF THE FATHER
Verse 5:37,38, And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Jesus continues in this line and adds to the list of witnesses that the Jews can base their faith on by telling them that the Father, the invisible God, has borne witness of him.
He has said that John the Baptist has borne witness, his works bare him witness and now he tells them about the Father's witness?
His argument is flawless so they or you or me are without excuse.
Jesus was the fulfillment of all that was revealed by God through the prophets and wise men.
Those whose hearts were open to the Word and the working of the Spirit would have recognized Jesus as the one pointed to by all that was revealed by the Father in the Old Testament.
They knew about the Word of God, to the last tiny detail but they were "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
He infers in this verse that although they had never seen the Father or heard his voice or even seen his shape they can now see him by seeing Jesus.
They did not have to look any further.
Standing before them was God.
He veiled his glory in order to appear before men but now they can hear his voice and not only see his shape but look into his face and touch his hands.
These Jews were so religious, so fixed and comfortable in their rituals, their feasts, their sabbaths, their traditions and their teachings that they were strangers to the truth of God.
When the truth stood before them they had no eyes to see.
He knows their heart and knows that they have not his word abiding in them.
Abiding. This was the basic charge against this religious crowd.
This was the foundational truth that explains all the other charges that follow.
In verse 40 he says, "Ye will not come to me."
In verse 42 he says, "Ye have not the love of God in you."
In verse 43 he says, "Ye receive me not."
In verse 44 he says, "Ye seek not the honour that cometh from God only."
In verse 47 he says, "Ye believe not."
But the basic charge, "Ye have not his word abiding in you." explains all of these charges.
Not abiding is the cause, of which the others were but the effects.
If the Word of God has no place in a man's heart, he will not come to Christ, he will not receive him, he will not love God, and he will not seek the honor that comes from God only.
As the Psalmist says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Hiding the word, abiding, giving the Holy Spirit the word that is hid in your heart.
Giving him something to work the work of God in you.
God desires that his word dwell in you so that the Holy Spirit can use that word to conform you to his Son.
The Word of God is the building material that God uses to make his children.
Without the Word no building is made!
We have to give the Spirit something to work with!
THE WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES
Verse 5:39, Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
This is the last witness that the Lord Jesus mentions.
And so it should be.
John the Baptist is long gone from the scene.
Christ does not speak to us audibly,
the voice of the Father is no longer heard,
the heavens are silent,
but the testimony of the scriptures abide.
How many of you have been saved apart from the scriptures?
I have never heard John the Baptist,
I have never heard the voice of Jesus,
God has not spoken to me in an audible way,
but I have all I need to tell me of Jesus Christ
and the way of salvation in the scriptures.
The scriptures are sufficient.
We do not need any other revelation.
God has given to us all that we need to know, in order to know Jesus Christ.
These are Jesus' instructions to the Jews and it is his instruction to us.
We have need of no other and if we seek other revelation, it is because of the lack of faith in the Word of God.
I love this chorus we sing in Sunday School.
It describes so well the gift of the scriptures that God has given to us.
The Word of God, a river of pleasure
The Word of God, 'Tis food for the mind
The Word of God, Its light faileth never Arthur E. Smith
The Word of God, what treasure we find Jer.15:16
The Word of God, a message of love
The Word of God, it came from above
Jesus commands the Jews to search, don't just casually look or accept what others say about the scriptures.
Don't substitute tradition of the fathers or tradition of your mother or uncle or aunt or even your pastor, for your own search.
Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find." He wants seekers in his word.
He wants miners who will go into his Word and search diligently by hard work and effort for the diamonds, the jewels and the gold nuggets of his word.
He indicates by this word, "search" that the Word will not be illuminated to the casual reader.
He expects a search to be conducted in the word that takes effort, that takes comparison, that takes time and that takes study.
The Greek word used here that is translated "search" in the English, is the word for hunting.
It refers to the hunter stalking game.
He looks for tracks and when he finds them he concentrates his attention on the ground before him, searching the ground for clues that will lead him to the prize.
In a similar manner we are to study God's Word, examining each expression, tracing it to its first occurrence, and every occurrence, and finding out its meaning from its usage.
It takes work to rightly divide the Word of God.
If you will do this Jesus says to the listening Jews, that the scriptures will lead you to Christ,
the ultimate jewel of scripture,
the diamond above every diamond,
the pure gold above all gold,
the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
You may memorize the scriptures from cover to cover,
you may read a chapter a day for the rest of your life,
you may revere the book and treat it with respect and try to obey all the commandants that you find there, but unless you find Jesus Christ in the book all of your effort is in vain.
Eternal life is not found in knowing the scriptures but eternal life is found in knowing the person of Jesus Christ.
The One of whom the scriptures testify, from front cover to back cover.
From page to page as you diligently search and seek.
They not only neglected a diligent search of the scriptures so Jesus now points out that the problem is with their will.
It was not that they could not come, the problem was that they would not come.
The will is the battle ground.
Verses 5:40-42, And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
The carnal mind is enmity against God!
The carnal mind, the old nature hates God.
God is light and light reveals the depravity of the carnal mind.
Light pokes itself in all the hidden crevasses of the heart.
Light disturbs the comfort of the darkness which the carnal mind so loves.
Light points out a need to the carnal mind, the old nature.
Light tells the carnal mind that there is no hope for it regardless of the coverings or the lovely mental perfumes that the mind invents.
Jesus tells it straight!
He does not pussy foot around these religious leaders.
He does not try to win them to himself by being nice.
He tells them that they "will" to go to Hell.
They choose to keep on the path of all men.
The path that leads to destruction.
Those that go to Hell choose to go to Hell.
Their will is the kingpin that prevents them from the way of life.
Your will is in the equation of the Grace of God.
Jesus' will is also in the equation.
The Grace of God is ready when you are.
All that come to me I will in no wise cast out. In other words, all that will to come to me I will in no wise cast out.
He says here that he receives no honor from men.
Jesus Christ was not about to compromise himself to receive honor from men.
He was not about to be a Messiah made in the image of man, made how the Jews expected their Messiah to act.
He could have performed in such a way as the Jews desired and had the honor of men.
But that was not Jesus Christ's purpose.
He was here to do the Father's will.
He knows that they have no love of God in them because they have no interest in the Father's will.
If they had an interest in the Father's will they would have loved Jesus because he loved to do the Father's will.
Why do we love Jesus?
Why do we love the brethren?
Because they love to do the Father's will.
Verse 5:43, I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Jesus compares himself and his purpose with another that will come, that will appeal more to the mind of the Jews.
He will come with an image that the Jews like.
He will come in his own name which means he will come in his own authority.
It is a man's name. It indicates man's authority.
And as we know from the Book of the Revelation, the number of his name is 666.
But he will appeal to the Jews.
He will have no credentials but his name.
He will act like they think a Messiah should act.
He will appeal to the flesh!
He will promise them peace.
Peace in this life.
Peace in the land.
Not peace in the soul.
They were not interested in Jesus.
He had gifts of eternal worth to offer but the one that will come in his own name will offer a mess of pottage.
And the Jews will gladly take it and sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.
Israel's rejection of Christ has prepared the way for them to receive the Antichrist who will come in his own name, doing his own pleasure and seeking glory from men.
Anytime the truth is rejected, the vacuum is quickly filled by the Devil's lie.
Not until Israel rejected the true Messiah was Israel tested with over 60 false Christs.
II Thess 2:10-12 (paraphrased and rearranged)
But God sent them and will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie (the Lie), that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth...because they received not the love of the truth
Verse 5:44, How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
Another way of saying this is: How can you believe, when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory which comes from the only God?
They compared themselves among themselves, which is not wise.
Their chief aim was to win the good opinion of each other and they remained indifferent to the approval of God.
John 12:43, For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Jesus tells them if this is the case it is not possible for you to believe.
How is it possible to admit your need when you are satisfied to receive honor from each other?
How can you admit your need when all about you sing your praises?
They were unable to humble themselves and to receive the Christ and then live for his glory and his honor, not honor for themselves.
They were looking to the wrong place and for the wrong kind of honor.
They were looking to get in on the honor that their imagined Messiah would bring.
The Messiah that would destroy the power of Rome, make Jerusalem the capital of a new world empire, and give them status and power among the nations.
They did not see this kind of honor or glory in this Jesus.
All Jesus sought was honor from the Father.
But they were of the flesh and they sought fleshly honor, temporal honor, honor that their peers would see.
Verse 5:45-47, Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believed not his writings, how shall ye believe my word?
Here Jesus faces his enemies with the one in whom they think they put their trust.
He tells them that Moses will some day stand before their judge and accuse them.
They claim Moses but Moses will not claim them at the judgment.
They claimed to believe the written word of God,
they claimed that they contended for the law,
they lifted up the name of Moses most highly,
they were ready to die for what Moses taught,
but Jesus tells them boldly that they do not believe his writings.
Any sincere study of Moses will bring the sinner to Jesus.
He tells them that because they do not believe Jesus and that unbelief reveals the lie of their claimed trust in Moses.
He tells them that Moses wrote of him.
If they were Moses' faithful disciples they would be the disciples of Christ.
Christ is the center of scripture, the law and the prophets and in all right understanding of the scriptures Jesus Christ will be revealed and exalted.
These Jews were living proof of Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that seemeth right, unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.
Liberal thinker! Free thinker! Independent Thinker, Higher Critic!
Listen to the words of Jesus.
But if ye believed not his (Moses) writings, how shall ye believe my word?
Jesus tells us here that the word of God is not divided.
You cannot pick and choose what you will believe.
Moses writings of old are as good as Jesus' face to face word to these Jews.
Jesus confirms the writings of Moses as the word of God, of equal veracity and of equal accuracy and inspiration as his word.
Jesus tells them that lack of belief in Moses writings confirms their status before God. Disbelief in me is disbelief in him.
They are lost and deceived in their religion.
Their faith in traditions of men had clouded their being to the truth which stood before them.
The Law was transitory, they looked upon it as eternal and failed to see it as a schoolmaster simply to be used to bring them to Christ.
They worshipped the Law and not the Lawgiver.