Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Year: John 5-6 for Nov 9

In John 5-6, Jesus teaches largely in the midst of a settled hostility or unwillingness to believe in Him. Who does He teach? The other ones, merely the ones who are willing? No, he confronts the unbelievers, and does not mince words with them.

The moral categorizations in this chapter are very clear. It's not only the language, but the thought forms. It's a standard Hebrew thought-form (categorization) to divide the world into the righteous and the wicked. Jesus does not teach against this, but adds to it. Let's look at some of these additions.

In John 5:29-30, all who are in the tombs will come forth, to one of two resurrections, "of life," and "of judgment." This should not surprise us given what Jesus has taught so far! John 5:24 anticipates it: "he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." This single verse sheds light on 5:29-30, which does NOT divide the world into those who pass or fail at the judgment, but on those who have already passed out of death into life, are not judged, versus those who go to judgment! It's not judgment passed or judgment failed, but either life already or judgment!

The two additions are the avoiding of judgment ("does not come into judgment," 5:24, and "resurrection of life" 5:29), and the relationship of that to something that happens at that very time: "he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me" (5:24), a) does not come into judgmnet, and b) has eternal life (5:24)!

What is it "about believing Him who sent Me" in 5:24 that changes things? The negative is also stated in 5:38, "you do not believe Him who He sent." Believing God, as in believing a person, sounds like believing what a person is saying or said. Abraham believed God about the stars, and God credited it to him as righteousness. That's another way of saying this.

Believing God when they hear Jesus's word: this implies the very coordination of activity that Jesus had just explained to them about Himself and His Father. Indeed, He doesn't back off any of it, in the many subtopics from 5:18-38. When Jesus spoke, the question was, were they going to believe God. This implies that God was giving witness to them of the truth of what Jesus said. And, if that were not good enough, the Lord would even allow it, for them to have taken it -- on the testimony of John the Baptist (5:34)!

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