39: The Family on Mission (John 5:19-30)
39: The Family on Mission
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19)
Jesus continues to explain why He healed the man on the Sabbath. His Father was working and so He must work as well. This is the God family on mission. When is the Family on Mission? Whenever the Father is working. Where is the Family on Mission? Wherever the Father is working. It all flows from the heart of the Father.
That’s why Jesus didn’t try to heal everyone at the pool. The Father only wanted one healed, and the one he chose to be healed may well have been one of the least worthy to be healed, judging by how quick he was to throw his healer into the lion’s den of the religious leaders.
What the Father does doesn’t always make sense to us. He’s always thinking about the longer plan, years and years ahead. What He does now will make sense one day. In this case what started as an anonymous healing becomes a public prosecution. We all know where this is going to lead. A cross. Pain, suffering, betrayal for Jesus. The release of the waters of healing and salvation for the rest of us. One man healed here is part of the journey towards all of us having that same opportunity, at better waters.
“For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.” (John 5:20)
Jesus lived in the rock solid certainty of His Father’s love for Him. That’s what gave Him the confidence to live the way He did. Out of that love, the Father shows Jesus everything that He is doing. He opens His heart to Jesus, all of it. That’s the rock solid certainty of the Father’s trust in His Son. That’s what gives the Father the confidence to share all of His heart with Jesus. The Father knows that Jesus is going to carry out His desires, His pleasure, to the letter.
Their love for each other is more than a feeling or emotion, it is built on an incredibly deep level of trust and unshakable confidence in each other. Their love for each other is then expressed in love for others. That love operates in such a way that everyone who sees marvels and is in awe and wonder at what the Lord is doing and who He is.
Why is the Family on mission? Because they love. They have the most wonderful relationship. It is totally fulfilling in itself. However, because true love will always look to include more in the circle of their affections, they have chosen to create a world full of people that can be encapsulated in that love. They love each and are looking for opportunities to reveal that love to others, people who will be amazed (and ultimately drawn to) the love that they see (“so that you may marvel”).
The Father loves the Son and so He shows Him everything that He is doing. Can we draw confidence from that? Does the Father love us? He loves us even when we are far from Him, as we discovered in John 3:16. How much more the Father loves us when we receive and believe in His Son and He grants us the right to truly be His children. Can we now have an assurance that the Father will share what He is doing with us, because He loves us too?
John, the gospel writer is going to unpack the answer to that question more as he takes us on the journey through his book. For now, we can say with confidence that the Father shares His heart with the Son of His heart. Therefore it is safe to assume that the Father will share His heart with the children of His heart.
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” (John 5:21)
The works that will make us marvel are going to be pretty spectacular, the greatest of which will be the raising of the dead. Jesus is saying that such resurrections are going to define the Family Mission. He is going to unpack what He means by that in the next few verses.
If you were to define the God Family Mission Statement out of this passage you would simply start it with: “The Raising of the Dead.”
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.” (John 5:22-23)
Why are they on mission together? Honour. As an expression of their love for each other they are looking to honour each other. Specifically, the Father is looking that all may honour the Son, as they honour Him.
The Father wants to raise up Jesus so that all may honour, respect, worship Jesus as they do (or should do) the Father. The Father’s heart is to make His Son known.
Let’s not miss a key piece of information here: The Father wants everyone, “all”, to honour the Son as much as they honour Him. Both Jew and Gentile, regardless of background, culture or creed. Those that willingly acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord and those that won’t. The end of our historical lives in this age will be the same.
Paul tells us in Philippians: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
What happens after that moment, when we enter the new age of eternity will be different for different people, depending on whether they have received and believed in Jesus. But at the defining moment of this present age, everyone will be doing the same thing, for the one and only time since the fall in the garden. We will all honour the Son.
Jesus speaks on His own behalf. If it was anyone else you would have rightly thought that he was very self obsessed and totally delusional, because he talked about Himself so much and in such incredible terms. But when you know that you are the Logos, the One and Only of the Father, on whose shoulders rests the fate of us all and when you know there’s no pride in it because you are only doing what your Father tells you and saying what your Father tells you to say, then it is simply being honest and transparent.
Also, let’s always keep in mind the incredible humility that Jesus displays at the beginning of this discourse:
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’” (John 4:19)
Because the Son is seeking nothing for Himself, the Father is going to give Him everything. There is a lesson for us in the journey towards real greatness in God. Again, John is going to continue to unpack this truth to us through the gospel.
Humility comes before honour. Humility leads inevitably to honour, certainly with God if not in this world.
The route to Philippians 2:9-11 (quote above), is Philippians 2:5-8:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Incredible humility leads to incredible honour.
So if Jesus’ claims sound like the delusional muttering of the ultimate ego-maniac, He clearly demonstrates by His life and His works that His motives are entirely self-less. That is why the crowds listened to Him. That is why people still do. And listening to Jesus is a life or death issue.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Back to the family mission.
What is the Family mission (part 1a)?
The raising of the spiritually dead. God’s heart, as we have discovered back in John 3:16 is that “that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Father didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn us all to judgement and hell, He sent Him that we might have life not death: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)
We are all facing the judgement, whether we like it or not, whether we even believe in the existence of God or not. None of us, outside of Jesus, will come out of that with a “not guilty” verdict. The punishment has already been set. We are “dead men walking” and “dead women walking”. We are already dead spiritually, having separated ourselves from the only One in whom is life. We are already condemned to further death.
But the Family mission, is raising the dead. And it begins with the spiritual, We needs God’s eternal DNA alive in us again. We need to born again of the Holy Spirit. Once that happens, then we are assured of another resurrection.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25)
What is the Family mission (part 1b)? The raising of the physically dead. Jesus was going to demonstrate this resurrection power a number of times and John, in his gospel, is going to focus on that power before Jesus Himself is put to death. This statement of Jesus has a future hope (“an hour is coming”), but also a present reality (“and is now here”). Resurrection power is here on the earth now, because the Logos is here and “in Him is life” (John 1:4). For those of us who receive and believe Him, there is the future hope of resurrection into eternal life with Him but also the present reality of the resurrection power at work in our daily lives both spiritually and physically. The resurrection power of Jesus touches every part of our lives now and for ever. Jesus Himself now restates that fact:
“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)
How is the Family mission accomplished (part 2a)? In Him is life. The Family mission is accomplished in Christ.
This life is found no one else. This is crucial to John’s argument. Right from the beginning of his gospel he is offering a life that is way beyond what we live, a life really worth living. The message that he wants us to get is this, this life is in the Son, the Logos, the One and Only of the Father, the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus. And it is only found in Him.
“And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:27)
How is the Family mission accomplished (part 2b)? On Him is authority. The Family mission is accomplished by Christ.
The Father has given His Son authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man. Something happened in that journey from Son of God to now both Son of God and Son of Man for Jesus. It raised the bar in terms of the authority that the Father gives the Son. Jesus came down and the Father raised Him up, as we have already seen from Philippians 2. He didn’t raise Him up as the Son of God only. But as the Son of Man. This elevates mankind too – particularly those that are in Christ.
The government is upon His shoulders.
The Father’s initial stated intent was to give a measure of authority to Adam and Eve:
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)
As Jesus will explain to us in a few chapters, we abdicated that authority and gave it over to the devil. However that is a sphere of authority that was delegated to mankind, a very significant piece of authority and it needs to be recovered by a descendant of the human race. But that person needs to be profoundly different from Adam and Eve. They must listen to and perfectly obey every word that the Father gives them. In thousands of years of history, no one has yet come anywhere close.
But now there is a Son of Man, who only ever does what the Father tells Him to do and so He is able to reclaim the authority that was given to mankind from the usurper satan and return it to His Father, who will in turn return it to Jesus who as both Son of God and Son of Man now carries “all authority in heaven and on earth” as Jesus Himself states in Matthew 28:18:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
And that authority extends to the living and the dead.
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29)
What is the Family mission (part 1c)? The resurrection of the soul. The very essence of our being will be resurrected. It doesn’t matter whether we were buried in the ground, died at sea or incinerated in a fire. It doesn’t matter how many millions of pieces our dead bodies may have disintegrated into. One day our souls, the essence of who we are, will hear the voice of Jesus calling us out and everyone of us, even those who would wish to stay dead where they are, will have to respond. Then there will be two clear destinations. The resurrection to eternal life and the resurrection to judgement and eternal separation from God. God has already made it perfectly clear that He wants “all” to end up at the first and avoid the second. The only way to secure a ticket to the right destination is to get it from the only One who has the authority to give it. Jesus is the only One who has that authority, it is eternally vital that we receive and believe in Him.
Just in case we have forgotten where Jesus started in all of this, He now reminds us. He is not doing this by Himself and for His own ends, He is simply serving the will and good pleasure of His Father:
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30)
There it is again, “by myself I can do nothing”. These verses that, taken alone in today’s world, would consign Jesus to a secure Psychiatric Ward or worse as a seriously deranged and dangerous delusional egotistical meglomaniac. They are dynamite. But they are framed by this simple truth: Jesus is just the servant, doing what His Master the Father is telling Him to do. If He is delusional, it is not because He wants Himself at the centre of the universe, He plainly sees His Father as having that position. The way He serves and gives Himself so selflessly to others would also point towards someone who is more driven by humility than selfish ambition.
His motives would appear to be of the purest kind. So could He then be speaking the truth? Well, we are finding out as we read through the gospel. Does He back up His words with truth? Is He really about His Family business? Can He really raise the dead?
This whole discourse started with Him raising a man who had been crippled for 38 years. That is some serious evidence, particularly for those like John himself who witnessed it.
The Family mission of raising the dead is accomplished in Christ and by Christ, who cannot and does not do anything by Himself or for Himself. He has total authority because He has total humility. He is not looking for His own will, just the will of His Father. Wow.
That is how God’s Family does mission together.
How are we doing as part of God’s Family on mission?
How is our church doing as part of God’s Family on mission?
Do we have the heart of the mission, raising the dead and giving them life, to serve the Father and exalt Jesus?
Do we have the heart for the mission, humility and obedience?
Do we have the heart in the mission, love for God and each other, honour for God and for each other?
If we have these qualities in increasing measure then we can expect to be churches and individuals that are growing in the revelation and reality of the resurrection power that is the hallmark of all that the Father is doing in and through His One and Only Son, Jesus.Posted on: June 15, 2018Peter Todd