Doing the Father’s Work
Posted March 19, 2023
Lesson 3 Spring Quarter
Lesson Text: John 5:19-29
Golden Text: John 5:24
This week’s lesson is the last lesson within the first unit of lessons for the spring quarter. As our lesson last week was coming to a close, we saw that John the Baptist had been imprisoned which would leave Jesus as the one ministering for the Lord. News of Jesus’ ministry had begun to spread and word of His ministry had certainly reached the ears of the religious leaders in Jerusalem. In our lesson this week, we will see those leaders question the work that Jesus was doing.
The Father’s Work
Our lesson opens in the midst of a back and forth between Jesus and the religious leaders. To understand what is going on, earlier in this chapter, we will see where Jesus had healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (John 5:1-2, 5-9). This was a miracle that should have been celebrated but the religious leaders were upset that the man was carrying his bed on the Sabbath and confronted him (John 5:10-13).
Religious leaders confront Jesus
Their anger towards the man then turned to Jesus because when they learned that Jesus healed the man, they were angry that it was done on the Sabbath; they were so upset that they sought to kill Him (John 5:16). In this anger, the religious leaders confronted Jesus about the work He was doing. When Jesus said that His Father has been working until now (John 5:17), their anger only increased because Jesus had not only “worked” on Sabbath but was also claiming the Lord to be His Father and that He was equal to Him (John 5:18).
Let us understand that the religious leaders never looked at Jesus as the Messiah, as all they saw was a blasphemer. Blasphemers, according to the law, were to be put to death and so these men believed that they were in the right to stone Jesus. By confronting Jesus, I believe they expected Jesus to relent from His claim, but little did they know! Jesus did not relent from His claim, He doubled down!
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner (v.19).” As I mentioned in a sermon not too long ago, Jesus did not work by His own authority but by the Father’s authority; what He spoke, He spoke by the Father’s authority and relayed what He heard from the Father (John 12:49-50).
Doing the Father’s work
So, what was the work of the Father that Jesus was carrying out? This work is something that I touched for about 2 to 3 months – the Father desires for mankind to be restored unto the righteousness we once had. As you have heard me reference before from Genesis 1:26, mankind was created to be holy and righteous – perfect. Mankind was not created sinners as the Lord made us in His image and likeness which is holy and righteous.
Jesus said to the religious leaders, “as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will (v.21).” The life that was being spoken of was not in reference to physical life but spiritual life. The dead that’s being spoken of is not talking about someone being raised from physical death, though we do know that the Lord can raise someone who is physically dead.
The dead, as Paul said, are those that have had their understanding darkened as they are alienated from the life of God in the manner that they live (Eph. 4:18). Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers that the Lord had made alive those who were dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). So, let us understand that the Father’s work that Jesus was speaking of was spiritual work to restore souls. As we saw last quarter, Jesus’ work was a work of reconciling mankind to the Lord (2 Cor. 5:18).
Essentially, we should understand that by questioning the work that Jesus was doing, the religious leaders were questioning His authority. When Jesus says that He will give to whom “He will”, He’s speaking about His authority. Jesus knew that they were questioning His authority which is why He began to speak about His judgment.
About His judgment, Jesus said that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son and because of this, He should be honored just as the Father is honored (vss.22-23). To me this is a very interesting statement from the learning perspective because this statement defines a role for the Son that many of us often miss. The Father is going to judge nobody as that is a role solely for the Son.
Jesus is going to judge every single person that has lived. In the book of Isaiah, we will see where the Lord swears by Himself that His word has gone out of His mouth in righteousness, and that to Him, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess (Is. 45:23). From Isaiah to the time of Christ, we have to remember that the Word of God literally became flesh; the Word of God is His only begotten Son (John 1:1,14).
Because the Word became flesh, Paul could write to the Philippians, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth (Phil. 2:10).” Remember, after His resurrection, Jesus proclaimed that all authority was given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Jesus will judge who is saved and who is not saved.
Judging who will be saved
On this note, you can imagine the heat rising from the religious leaders because Jesus was not only doubling down on being equal to the Father, He was tripling down. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (v.24).”
To show that He had authority over who He will be saved or not, Jesus shares with the religious leaders, and us, His guidelines to determine who will be saved. Now, we are already familiar with these guidelines because Jesus shared them with Nicodemus. Jesus said to Nicodemus that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
To all of the religious leaders, Jesus said to them that those who hear My word and then believe in Him who Me will have everlasting life and not come into judgment. You see, it was not just enough to hear Jesus teach and preach just as it is not just enough to go to church every Sunday and listen to the Sunday School or sermon. No, you must believe in the Lord wholly; you must believe in the Father and the Son (the Word). When we believe in God fully, we can receive what has been promised to us – the Holy Spirit and eternal life.
Let us also take note that Jesus states within His guidelines that those who hear His word and believe will not come into judgment. This statement is why when you see me speak about the judgment seat of Christ I speak about there not being a judgment of life and death. Those that go before the judgment seat of Christ are all who have genuinely believed. Yes, we will be held accountable for the things we did in our lifetime, but at the same time, we will not be judged to spiritual death.
You see, those that go before the judgment seat of Christ will be rewarded with everlasting life for their faith. Those who did not hear nor believe, they will never see the judgment seat of Christ. Non-believers will go before the Great White Throne and they will face the judgment of death (spiritual death) for not heeding the word of God. This authority, Jesus again states, has been given to Him to execute by the Father (vss. 26-27).
So, with Jesus stating this truth to the religious leaders and the rest of the Jews, we will see Him give a warning. Jesus warns, I certainly believe, because of the way the religious leaders were approaching Him and questioning His works and authority. You see, the religious leaders were those that were denying Christ and as I have preached in recent sermons, those that deny Christ are those fit to live apart from God for all of eternity.
Jesus essentially says to them, now is the time to get right with the Lord – now is the time to make corrections. He specifically said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (vss.28-29).”
Jesus wanted those He was preaching to and teaching to take advantage of the time that they lived in. You see, once we physically die, it will be too late for us to choose to correct ourselves if we are living in error. So, for those that Jesus had been speaking to at that time, they are long gone from this world so if they did not correct their way while they were living, it’s certainly too late for them now.
Now, the same thing holds true today. For all of us that believe today, we have the ability and should be doing the work of the Father by sharing the ministry of reconciliation. You and I, we have a saving gospel to share with all people and we have been commissioned by Christ to share this good news.
To those we minister to, if they have not already repented, you should take advantage of the time because you do not want to wait until it is too late! As all of us know, tomorrow is never promised so take advantage of today. Jesus has made it clear, He is going to judge whether or not you were of faith. If you were of faith you will be saved, but if you were not of faith, you will not be saved.