Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 5:21-22 AFor as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.@
Jesus claimed to have God=s authority (5:17-18), unity with God (5:19), and intimacy with God (5:20). Fourth, Jesus claimed the power of God.
Giving life and rendering judgment are beyond human power. No mere creature can do either. They are Divine prerogatives. Only God can accomplish them.
Jesus gives life and determines where every human life will be everlastingly spent. Jesus hereby claimed omniscience, the main requirement necessary for the ultimate judgment of people. Judgment requires acquaintance with secrets of character as well as of open actions. Hypocrisy must be detected and punished. Unobtrusive merit must be noted and rewarded.
Jesus claimed not only omniscience, but also to be the standard for judgment. AAll@ judgment is given to the Son. People pass judgment on themselves by their attitude to Jesus. Our final destiny depends on our reaction to Jesus.
What we see in Jesus reflects what we are on the inside. If we see loveliness and desirability in Him, it reflects goodness within us. But if we see ugliness in Jesus, or view Him as an enemy, we condemn ourselves.
At the final judgment, character will be manifested and everlasting destiny determined. People will be judged by how they responded in this life to Jesus.
We will see ourselves differently then. Misers will realize their life was wasted on selfishly gathering wealth. Businessmen will be amazed they bartered their own souls for their companies. Sensualists will dread the thought of their luxury and lewdness.
Skeptics will no longer argue against Divine truth. Impenitents will be amazed they clung to sins. Mockers will no longer joke about sacred things.
Judgment Day will unveil a complete and sudden reversal in lost people=s priorities. AIn that day a man shall cast his idols of silver and gold . . . to the moles and to the bats; to go into the cleft of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth@ (Isaiah 2:20-21).
On the final day people will finally see what really counts, but for many it will be too late. Life is found in Jesus. He determines our destiny. Seek Him while He may be found.
John 5:23 AThat all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father, which hath sent Him.@
Fifth, Jesus claimed the honor of God. If the Son exercises judgment, He must of necessity receive the highest honor due God. No higher honor can be conceived than to be the One who determines the final, everlasting state of each and every human being.
The Father and Son are so united that whatever honor or dishonor is shown to the Son is also done to the Father. Jesus is meant to receive universal Divine honor. It is impossible to please the Father without honoring Jesus.
Amphilochus, Bishop of Iconium, was not pleased with the level of Emperor Theodosius= respect for Jesus. To illustrate the point, the Bishop one day bowed to the Emperor, but not to Arcadius his son. The Emperor commented about the oversight, but the Bishop still refused to bow. When the Emperor=s anger was aroused, the Bishop said, AO King, how much more will Jehovah abhor those neglecting His Son.@
Someday all people will honor the Son. This is an unconquerable certainty. Sooner or later, in loss and sorrow, or in gain and gladness, this shall occur.
At the end of days, every descendant of Adam and Eve will be drawn to the Crucified One, the Lamb standing as if slain. They will all recognize and acknowledge Him, but for most it will be too late.
To make these claims required extraordinary courage. Jesus knew words like these were hastening His death.
Christ=s claims forced people to decide for or against Him, something they usually hate to do. Now, as then, the listener must either accept Jesus as the Son of God or reject Him as a blasphemer. We who know Him testify He is AGod of very God.@
John 5:24 AVerily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.@
Jesus used Averily, verily@ to arrest attention, to designate a statement as supremely important. Not all dead people are in tombs.
Some are dead emotionally, hard of heart. Some are dead mentally, minds are gone but machines maintain vital functions.
Worst of all, many are spiritually dead. They were created for fellowship with God, but opt to let that part of their existence remain dead.
Spiritual death means being destitute of spiritual life, being dead to God. As natural death disfigures the body, spiritual death disfigures the spirit. This disfigurement is seen in four kinds of spiritual rigamortis.
First, as a dead body has no understanding of the physical realm, a dead spirit does not understand the things of God. This lack of spiritual understanding results in superficial religion. The victim becomes satisfied with partial truth, partial obedience, partial consecration, partial love.
Spiritual rigamortis entails no burning desire for growth toward Jesus. In fact, not only is there no growth unto the Lord, there is actually a continual shrinking from Him.
Second, people slowly become more and more insensitive to sin. The longer a person is in the state of spiritual death, the less he or she sorrows over sin.
It is dangerous when a person can sin without remorse. When sinners no longer care or express regret, death is obvious.
Cardinal Newman said, AThe one great security against sin is to be shocked by it.@ A person can be shocked and sensitive to sin only by keeping himself consciously in the presence of Jesus. Since the lost do not know Christ, they automatically become more and more numb to sin.
Third, while the love for sin increases, love for God decreases. Tragically, the dead one=s opinion of self is going up while his opinion of God is going down.
The sinner believes he can help himself. Pride, Satan=s poison, enters the blood. People begin to feel it is unnecessary to put their case wholly in God=s hands. They fail to realize a dead spirit cannot raise itself any more than a dead body can raise itself.
If lost, we are a spiritual corpse. We can do nothing by ourselves to produce life. Pride must die, or nothing of heaven can ever live in us. Spiritual death eliminates our strength. We are unable to help ourselves. The very fact we continue to try is evidence of rigamortis.
Fourth, as people worsen in sin, and their love for self increases, they show less desire to be made right with God. It usually becomes harder and harder for a sinner to repent.
The worst horribleness of spiritual death is, it reveals a lack of love for God. He wants us, but we don=t want Him. Not to love our neighbor is sin; not to love a parent is greater sin; not to love God, our divine parent, is the worst sin of all.