Gospel of John #15: An exposition of John 5:16-30. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 20, 2011.
It’s a beautiful, warm afternoon. The year is A.D. 30 and we are just north of the city of Jerusalem approaching the Sheep Gate. The city is crowded due to the feast. Jews from throughout the region are in town. The streets are crowded, people are laughing, singing and celebrating. Over there are large crowd has gathered near the Pool of Bethesda. Because we are curious, we elbow our way through the crowd to get a better look. A man turns and with great excitement says, “A cripple has been healed!” This whole section of the city is worked up into a frenzy. “What happened,” we ask? “This teacher was walking through the area, stopped at the feet of the man and asked, ‘do you want to be healed?’ Then he said, ‘get up and go’ and he did!” Unbelievable. Incredible. Fantastic. You would think everyone would be thrilled but they weren’t. The scribes, Pharisees and the religious establishment looked at the healed invalid and all they could see was a violation of the Sabbath law. “You there, how dare you carry your bed on the Sabbath.” The man tried to explain, “I’m sorry but you see I’ve been an invalid for 38 years. This man he told me to get up and take up my bed and walk and well…I’ve been healed!” “We don’t care about your medical history you are in violation of the Sabbath law and that is a serious offense.” That’s the trouble with legalists. They are incapable of sharing in the joy of a miracle if one of their rules is broken.
This is the backdrop for our text this morning found in John chapter 5 beginning with verse 16.
Text: John 5:16-30
I don’t know if you’ve learned this yet but faith can be messy. It doesn’t always fit into nice, neat categories. We’re comfortable when everything fits and we know what to expect. I think that’s why so many people have a problem with Jesus. He doesn’t fit. He refuses to be confined to a box – anyone’s box. Make it as big as you want, whatever shape you want – your system can’t contain him. Look at 5:16, 18:
And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus makes some incredible claims in this text. Claims that cannot be ignored. Claims that go to the heart of who he is and what he came to do. We begin with verse 16.
Thesis: Jesus’ answer to the religious establishment demanded a response then and requires your response now.
- Jesus boldly declares himself to be one with the Father in His actions. (5:19-20)
- Jesus brazenly declared himself the Giver of Life. (5:21, 24-26)
- Jesus authoritatively declares himself the Sovereign Judge of all things. (5:22, 27-30)
These claims demand your response.
He is one with the Father.
He is the Giver of Life.
He is the Sovereign Judge.
What will you do with Jesus?
He will not be ignored.
Will you flee to him in repentance and faith and thus receive life eternal and abundant?
Will you reject his claims as fanciful and nonsensical and thus perish in your sin?
You could put it off for another day – but you have no assurance there will be another day thus you may seal your doom. These claims are eternal. They are weighty. They demand your serious consideration. What will you do with Jesus?