Summary: As part of our ongoing study in the book of John, we are spending several messages examining some of the claims of Christ. In each of these messages we are seeing different ways that Jesus claims to be God. Today we will see Christ’s claim that He is Go
How would you feel if you were clothes shopping at the mall one day and somebody came up to you and said that your shopping trip was on them? You could have anything you wanted in the store and they would pay for it. What would you do? That happened the other day in a Burlington Coat Factory in the Chicago area. A lady pulled up to the store in a long, black Hummer limousine. She walked inside and stood next to the register. As people came up to the line to check out, she said, “I’ve got it.” “You can have anything you want and I’ll pay for it.” She said that she had just won half a million dollars in the lottery and was going to give it all away. Well, you can imagine what happened. People immediately got on their cell phones and called everybody they knew. The place was packed within just a few minutes. People loaded up everything they could possibly carry and lined up waiting for the giveaway. Some people just by-passed the lines and went right up to the woman. They started asking her for rent money and all kinds of things. And do you know what the woman did? She started writing checks. She gave her debit card to the cashier to pay for the clothes. But to the other people, she started writing checks. Of course, if you saw the story on the news, you know what happened. Within just a few minutes, her debit card was maxed out at $5000. When that happened, she told the people that she was going to go to the bank and get some more money for them. She rode away in her limo and never came back. Why did she never come back? Because she was a fraud. Her family said she was mentally ill and never had any money in the first place. She didn’t win the lottery. She was just a crazy person who was giving away something she didn’t have. And when all of the people who had packed that store found out, they rioted. They destroyed the store. Why? Because they had believed a lie. Out of their greed, they had placed their trust in someone who was untrustworthy. They had believed the claims of a liar. Over the past several weeks, we have been looking at a list of the claims of Christ here in John 5. Remember the background. Jesus walked into Jerusalem. And the first place John records that He went was the pool of Bethesda. Around that pool were five colonnades or porches that were overflowing with sick and crippled and diseased people. These were people who were placing all of their hope in a local myth. They believed that an angel would come down and stir up the water in the pool. In reality, there was an underground spring that intermittently fed the pool. When it “turned on”, the water would bubble. Because of a local superstition, all of those sick people believed that whoever was the first one to get in the water when it started to bubble would be healed. And if you think things got crazy in that Burlington Coat Factory, imagine what it was like at that pool when the water bubbled. Talk about utter chaos. But Jesus walked into the midst of that mess and picked out one man who had been crippled for 38 years. Jesus walked up to him and healed him. And when He did, the man got up, tucked his mat under his arm and did something he hadn’t done for 38 years—he walked off. And when he did, he walked right into the legalistic Pharisees who jumped all over him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath. That confrontation is what opened the door for Jesus to confront the Pharisees. Of course, they thought that they were confronting Him. They accused Jesus of breaking their Sabbath laws. Then Jesus openly and boldly and plainly confronted them with the fact that He is God. That’s what we’ve been looking at over the past several weeks. Jesus claimed to be God. God in person. God in works. God in power. God in honor. In our verse this morning, Jesus claims to be God in salvation. He claims to have the ability to save that only God has. He claims to remove condemnation and judgment. He claims to take away eternal death and give eternal life. Those are some bold claims aren’t they? They’re a whole lot more bold that claiming to be giving away lottery money. That woman who was writing the checks in Chicago this week turned out to have no credibility. She had no authority to be doing the things that she was doing. And because of that, there were a whole lot of people who were disappointed. Because of that, she left a whole lot of chaos in her wake. Jesus is offering something infinitely more valuable than free clothes, isn’t He? The question is, is He credible? The only way He can credibly make the offer of salvation that He makes in this verse, is if He is truly God. That’s why He has laid out the case He has, that we’ve talked about over the past several weeks. Jesus is God in the flesh. Just as God the Father is God, God the Son is God. Notice that this claim of salvation only comes after Jesus has established the fact that He is God in person. It’s only after Jesus has shown that He works the same works as God because He is God. It’s only after Jesus has shown that He has the power of God because He is the power of God. And it’s only after Jesus has laid claim to receiving the same honor and worship as God because He is God. It is because of all that, that Jesus can start verse 24 the way that He does. His claim to the power of salvation is authoritative. He makes His claim with boldness and authority when He says, “Verily, verily.” Remember we said that the original words are “Amen, amen.” Jesus is saying, “What I am about to say is truth of all truth.” “It’s a fact that is as sure as the person of God is real.” Because of the fact that Jesus is God, what He is about to say is true. It is an authoritative statement. The signature on His check is guaranteed. But not only is Jesus’ claim to the power of salvation authoritative, it is credible. He says, “I say”. Even the Pharisees that Jesus was talking to understood that God is a god of truth. God does not lie. Throughout the history of Scripture, God makes promises and is faithful to fulfill His promises. His faithfulness is proclaimed throughout Scripture: Psalm 89:8 says, “O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” Psalm 119:90 says, “Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.” Psalm 36:5 says, “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.” Lamentations 3:23 says, “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” Micah 7:20 says, “Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Isaiah 25:1 says, “O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Throughout Scripture, God is shown to be faithful. He keeps His promises. He is a God of truth. He does not lie. He is credible. So when God says something, it will come to pass. And when Jesus says, “I say…” you can take it to the bank that it will come to pass. He is telling the truth. He is faithful to fulfill what He is saying. As God, Jesus’ statement He’s about to make is completely credible. When Jesus makes this claim to the power of salvation, it is an authoritative statement and it is a credible statement. But I want you to notice what else it is. Not only is Jesus claim to the power of salvation an authoritative statement and a credible statement—It is a personal statement. Notice that He says, “I say unto YOU.” Now, who is the “you” that Jesus is talking to? Of course, it’s His immediate audience. Remember that it was the Jewish leaders who were accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath laws. Verse 18 says that it was the Jewish leaders who were seeking to kill Him because He was making Himself equal with God. Their accusation was what began this whole section. All of these claims are in response to their accusation. So, of course the Jewish leaders were the “you” that Jesus was addressing here. But were they the only ones He was addressing? Remember that all of this was going on in the Temple. And remember that there was a Jewish feast going on. We don’t know for sure what feast it was, but the fact was that the temple was very crowded during every Jewish feast. So I’m sure that this conversation wasn’t going on in private. I’m sure that there were lots of people standing around. So those people would have been included in the “you” that Jesus used. But is that all? Who else would the “you” have included? When Jesus is making this claim to the power of salvation, He’s not just talking to the Jewish leaders who were accusing Him. He’s not just talking to the crowd who was gathered around them in the temple that day. Because Jesus is God, when He makes this claim to the power of salvation, He’s talking to you. Because Jesus is God, He is able to reach down through history and speak through His Word directly to you. He is able to speak to you authoritatively. He is able to speak to you credibly. And He is able to speak to you personally. In verse 24, when Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” He is talking directly to you, here in this place, right at this time. Jesus—the eternal, living, all-powerful, all-knowing, righteous and holy Son of God is speaking directly to you this morning. Are you looking for a word from God this morning? Because Jesus is God, you have it. Do you know what it is? “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come unto condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Those are the words of the Son of God directly to you this morning. They are delivered authoritatively. They are delivered credibly. And they are delivered personally to you this morning. Those words come with a demand for action. And those words come with a determined result.