Summary: Jesus answers a charge of blasphemy and shows that He is the Son of Man who will soon have dominion over all creation.
Jesus healed a lame man, but the Jews persecuted Him for doing it on the Sabbath. In answering He equated Himself with God which made them angrier and blasphemy was added to the charges. Well, He answered further, and we looked at some of that last time and we’re going to continue now. In verse 23 He speaks of honoring the Son as the Father is honored. You can picture His accusers reeling; what right does He have to expect the same honor due God?
Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Verily is a Hebrew word: “amen, amen.” What He’s about to say next is “truth, truth.” They need to pay extra careful attention to what they’re about to hear:
He that heareth my word,
What is His “word” in the immediate context? He’s revealing Himself to be the Son of God. “If you listen to what I’m saying to you right now…”
and believeth on him that sent me,
Notice the words here: “he that believes on him that sent me.” Jesus tells them that He is from God and to believe Him is to believe God. Everyone who hears His word and believes God about Him:
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
To believe in Christ is to believe on God. And to believe on God means we have eternal life. Notice that it says we now have eternal life. This speaks to the union that we have with Christ now. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Knowing this helps us make more sense of the fruit of the Spirit and walking in a manner worthy of our calling. We were buried with Him and raised with Him; this is why we have no fear of death or of losing our salvation. We are bound up with Him in death and life!
This life is everlasting because His life is everlasting. Think about the blessings and curses of the Old Testament. One of the curses is death. But the blessing is life. When Christ fulfilled the Law He received the reward of those who keep it. Life is a reward for His obedience, and we are His co-heirs. If God has given us His Son, how will He not also give us all things with Him? (Rom. 8:32). That’s not a name-it and claim-it or prosperity verse; this is a verse about receiving the inheritance rewarded to Christ and part of that inheritance is life eternal!
We can’t separate our eternal life can’t be separated from Christ. We are bound to Him in this. If He dies, so we will die. But since He lives forever we know we also will live forever because we’re bound to Him. Our life is hid in Him. And this is what He tells them here. They don’t believe, but He says, “Amen, amen; He that hears My word.” We hear because He gives us ears to hear. We hear because He speaks. And I can’t help but think of Lazarus when I hear that verse. Lazarus was a dead man, and he’d been dead long enough that they believed he had already begun to smell. But Jesus comes and says, “Lazarus, come forth” (Jn. 11:43). “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.” When He judges all men at the end of time, it won’t be the Jews who don’t come into condemnation but all those who hear and believe. Those who do not hear or believe will come under condemnation and ultimately be thrown into the lake of fire and everlasting death.
But those who believe are raised to everlasting life and hear, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” This is given to them because their good works prove their union with Christ. They have heard and believed and have had fruit.
This word can’t be preached by a man. However, God does preach it through men and says, “How beautiful are the feet that bring good news” (Rom. 10:15). But not every man who hears believes because not all men can hear the word of Christ to come forth and come to Him. This is the word He gives to His people and all who hear come and pass from death to life.
And this is something we need to understand: we’ve always belonged to Him and have always been in His hands, but we also became lost. We were truly dead in our trespasses. We died in Adam and we died because of our own wickedness. We were enemies in our minds and by nature objects of wrath. We fit right into the description given in Romans 3. But this is all for a reason. God put us in this world so that He could prove His great love for us. His grace abounds more than our sin and His love is everlasting and our union with the Son is everlasting, so He saves us and atones for all our transgressions. Stripes are put on His back so that we are healed. And because He has borne our iniquities, His righteousness is placed on us. He is our Substitution. So what we deserved was death, but because of His work and because we have heard and believed, we have passed over from death unto life. Now we’re called friends and sons of God.