John 5:17-23, Isaiah 9:6, John 1:14, John 20:28, Romans 9:5, Hebrews 1:8, Matthew 28:18, Colossians 2:3, Luke 4:16-30
Summary: Shortly after Jesus healed the crippled man at the pool of Bethsaida (John 5:1-15), He was confronted by the religious officials who wanted Him dead for saying that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Jesus responded with facts to back up His claim.
If there was an apt description of the attitude of the Pharisees towards the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:18), it is this: “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” All throughout this account of the Lord’s life and work and in the other Gospels as well, it is clear to see that when anyone encountered Jesus, they could not remain neutral about Him. People either loved or loathed Him, and the same unfortunate attitude prevails today. No other figure of religion, faith, or belief has brought upon this world the reactions, riots, and revivals we have witnessed throughout history as did Jesus Christ.
The name of Jesus Christ is forbidden in almost every country in terms of public expression and exaltation. Even some so-called “churches” have downplayed His divinity, miracles, and ability to transform even the most depraved of lives. After nearly fifty years of following Him and the near apoplectic reactions He receives from an ever-increasing depraved and reprobate world, all I can say is that He is right and the other religions and philosophies are wrong, especially in terms of where we will spend a very real eternity.
One of the first public reactions to the work of the Lord Jesus appears in Luke 4:16-30, where He read from the prophet Isaiah, specifically the verses which described the work of the Promised Messiah of Israel (Isaiah 61:1-2). This reading took place in His hometown of Nazareth, where everyone knew Him and was at first impressed by His reading, which was done with reverence and authority. Then He hit them with the bombshell that those verses had been fulfilled that day, namely that He was the One of whom the prophet referred.
He went on to tell them that the compassion of God extended beyond Israel. This was a declaration to the Jews that God’s work of salvation and mercy was not confined to them exclusively but would come upon all who called upon Him. Needless to say, that did not go over well as the crowd attempted to throw Him over the nearby cliff for what they interpreted as blasphemy.
Jesus did not return to Nazareth but went on to accomplish His mission, not to make people happy or content in their ideas of how to approach God or that their works would suffice in order to enter into glory at the end of life. He would preach the truth that our works towards God are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and that we are unable in our own power to reconcile with God, nor do we wish to do so because we love our sin and are in a state of perpetual rebellion towards God and His standards (Romans 3:10-18, 23). We are His enemies and remain so unless He transforms us and draws us to Him (John 6:44; Romans 5:6-11).
People cannot stand the fact that salvation is of the Lord alone, and we play no part save to humble ourselves and give Him thanks and worship for the mercy and grace we do not deserve (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 1:18). The words of Jesus in John 5:18-23 show that inconvenient truth to the Pharisees and all who witnessed this encounter.
Jesus told His accusers that He did not do anything apart from what God the Father directed Him to do (v.19). All of His work was based on the Word of God and the attributes of God. He was not a rogue, self-appointed “Messiah” who took it upon Himself to decide what was right and wrong in terms of following God’s laws and decrees. He was totally obedient and subservient to the will of the Father in all things. As God the Son, He worked in harmony with the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. All three worked as One in the mission of providing redemption and salvation to His fallen people and ultimate restoration to fallen creation (Romans 8:20-23; 1John 5:6-8; Revelation 21:1-7).
He went on to teach of the love and great works the Father had bestowed upon His Son and that the Father had given all authority to the Son to impose judgment upon those who would not believe (vv.20-21). By this act of Sovereign decree, God the Father was not to be obeyed and worshipped alone, but that honor, glory, and worship would go to the Son as well (vv.22-23). Without recognizing the Divine mission, person, and purpose of the Son, no one has true access to God the Father. If you ignore or reject Jesus Christ as Lord, you have no relationship with God the Father, no matter how many religious observations or practices you might muster or follow. He made it as plain as He could that eternal life, peace of mind, and forgiveness of sins are only possible through Him.
The teachings and mission of Jesus Christ have not changed, nor have they been compromised and tailored to fit the ideas and ideologies of the world with its corrupt conceptions and objections. The Sovereign God and His Words bow to no one, nor will they ever accommodate or bring comfort to those who feel that God’s standards are too “narrow” or “not with the thinking and times of today,” or other inept excuses we want to throw at Him. As a minister of the Gospel, I will not water down His absolute standards in order to make you feel better as you continue to wallow in the cesspool of your iniquities and be content in some false hope that all is well between you and Him (2 Timoty 4:1-4) apart from the only hope of peace, rescue, and freedom He provides.
If you will but swallow your pride, abdicate the kingdom of “self” and come to Him in repentance, asking Him to save you and make you truly one of His own, He will receive you and never let you go (Psalm 103:11-12; Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:28-30). Too many people have read of and heard of the saving grace provided by Jesus Christ and have walked away from it, as did many of the Pharisees and His own people. Please don’t go down that destructive path. Receive the love the Son of God provides you this day.
Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor in churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In 2018 he began to devote his time to the rich field of internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. He also writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. His website is: www.realitycityreverend.com . A copy of his resume is also available upon request.