John 5

John 5:20

“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

(a) The Father; see entry for John 4:21.

(b) The Father loves the Son. The original word for “loves” is the verb phileo which means fondness or affection. The Father views the son with tender affection.

John 5:21

“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.

(a) The Father; see entry for John 4:21.

(b) Gives them life… gives life. Zoe-life originates with God and is manifested and given to us in Jesus through the Holy Spirit (John 6:63). See entry for New Life.

John 5:24

“Truly, truly, I say to you, 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.

(a) Hears my word. Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ.

It’s the unfailing love of God that inspires us to trust him (see entry for 1 John 4:16). Since the love of God is revealed in Jesus Christ (John 17:26), faith comes from hearing about Jesus (Acts 15:7, 28:24).

(b) And believes. All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and eternal life, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith. Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Eph. 2:8.

(c) Passed out means to cross over or change places. The moment you put your faith in Jesus, you passed out of Adam’s family and were placed into God’s family. Crossing over from death to life is a one-way trip. Once the Lord takes hold of you, he will never let you go (John 10:28).

(d) Eternal life is living forever in union with Jesus; see entry for John 3:15.

John 5:26

“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

(a) The Father; see entry for John 4:21.

(b) Has life in Himself. God is the source of zoe-life, the life of the spirit. See entry for New Life.

John 5:29

and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Those who did the good deeds. What are the good deeds Jesus wants us to do and which lead to eternal life? He has just told us: “He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life” (John 5:24). Doing good is hearing and believing Jesus. Indeed, this is the work of God (see entry for John 6:29).

Jesus is speaking to religious Jews who were trying to kill him (verse 18). Jesus doesn’t rebuke these people for being murderous, but for being unbelievers. “You refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:40). “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me” (John 5:46).

Further reading: “Judged for what we have done

John 5:38

“You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

The religious Jews considered themselves a God-fearing people. They had faith in the one God, yet they persecuted his Son and tried to kill him (John 5:18). Thus their faith was a dead and useless faith for it was not accompanied by the work of believing in the One sent by God (see entry for Jas. 2:14).

John 5:39

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Eternal life is living forever in union with Jesus; see entry for John 3:15.

John 5:40

and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

Life. Two kinds of life are described in the Bible; the psuche– or soul life we inherited from Adam and the zoe– or spirit life that comes from God (John 5:26). It’s the second kind of life that is described here. See entry for New Life.

John 5:43

“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

(a) My Father; see entry for John 4:21.

(b) You do not receive me. They did not believe that Jesus had been sent by the Father (John 6:29).

In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to: receive Jesus (John 1:11-12), receive the message of Jesus (John 17:8), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20).

Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7).

But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).


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