Summary: This is the 17th in a series we've been doing on the Gospel of John. Here we talk about what it means to be a slave to either Christ or sin.
Free! Yet a Slave. (Gospel of John Part 17)
Text: John 5:16-47
We are back in the Gospel of John this morning… and just to re-cap, last time we talked about how Jesus had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda. If you remember; the man had been in his condition for 38 years, but Jesus healed him, and the man took up his bed and was walking… And as he was walking he ran into a group of Pharisees, and they tried to rebuke the man because he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath Day. The Pharisees were so blinded by their legalism, they couldn’t even acknowledge that a miracle had taken place. Eventually they learn that Jesus was the One who healed the man, and so they want to come down on Him, and attack Him.
And that’s the point we’ve come to in our text this morning. Let’s go ahead and open our Bibles to John 5:16-47 (READ).
So as we’ve been looking through John’s Gospel, what John has done is show us one miraculous event after another, and he’ll continue to do that. And the reason that John is doing that is because he’s trying to show his readers that Jesus is God. In the very first chapter, that’s what he said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
So John says in chapter 1 “Jesus is God.” And then he’s like – let me prove it to you. First He sees Nathaniel under the fig tree before Philip calls him – So Jesus is all knowing, He can see all things. Second, Jesus turns water into wine – He has the power to create and change the very substance of a thing. Third – Jesus again displays His omniscience with the woman at the well… telling her everything about her. Only God would know all of those things. Fourth… Jesus heals the official’s son, without even having to go to him. He just says the word, and the boy is healed. That shows that Jesus is not only able to heal, but also that He’s not bound by space and time. He just says the word and it happens. Then He heals the man at the pool of Bethesda. So John is giving us select stories and events in the ministry of Jesus to show us, that Jesus really and truly is God.
Now the Pharisee’s they don’t see it… in-fact; they have a problem with Jesus. They basically come up to Him and they’re like, “Hey, you’re breaking the Sabbath by healing this man… and you’re causing him to break the Sabbath by telling him to take up his bed and walk.” And I love Jesus’ answer to them… it’s there in verse 17, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” You see the Pharisees rightly understood that the Sabbath was supposed to be a day of rest… but then they took it to the extreme. And what Jesus was saying to them there, was, “Listen. God rested on the 7th day. He rested from His work of creation. But don’t you understand that God is still working? He’s working in people’s lives. He’s working holding all of creation together. He’s working in blessing folks, and providing for folks, and healing folks, and protecting folks, and causing grass to grow, and tides to rise and fall, and providing food for man and beast alike. All this time, God has been working.” But Jesus makes it more personal here. He doesn’t just say “God is working…” He says, “My Father is working.” And then He goes on and says, “And I’m working too.” Now by saying it that way, what Jesus is doing is claiming to be one with God. He’s saying, “I’m just doing what I see my Father doing… I’m just doing what my Father does.” And that’s what verse 18 tells us.
Jesus goes on with this line of reasoning in the next few verses as well. And He basically says, that everything He does, everything He says, everything that He knows… all of His wisdom… it all comes from the fact that He is His Father’s Son, and that He is one with the Father (meaning God). We might say it like this – “LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.”
Now this is an ongoing conversation that Jesus is going to have with the Jews… concerning who His Father actually is, and what that means.
It’s going to be brought up again in chapter 6, and in chapter 7, and then finally it’s going to culminate in chapter 8. But the point of it is always the same.
Jesus is saying, “I’m doing what I’ve seen My Father do, I’m saying what I’ve heard My Father say, I AM My Father’s Son… and then He hammers them, and says, ‘You are also YOUR father’s children.”