14 January 2010

John 5 - Learning from Dad

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In John 5 we have an amazing catalogue of right and wrong ways to see things. Carpenter's toolsThis is important because seeing things the right way provides an opportunity for life while seeing the same things in the wrong way leads to death.

The chapter begins with the healing of an invalid. Two factors are significant. First, the invalid had been regularly and patiently trying to follow an accepted approach to healing, but Yahshua chose a much simpler way. And secondly, the healing was performed illegally because it took place on Shabbat, the day of rest. It seems that the traditional and legal ways were completely ineffective. But Yahshua's novel and illegal way was entirely and immediately effective!

Yahshua had a conversation with 'the Jews' about this. The term 'the Jews' normally means the scribes, Temple priests, Pharisees, Saducees, and probably other groups like the Essenes. These groups didn't agree on everything, but they certainly agreed that true authority was to be found somewhere in their teachings about the Law and in all the traditions and regulations they had built around the Law.

With that in mind, lets look at some of things he said to them.

John 5:17 - We are disciples, or perhaps the word apprentices describes it better in modern English. And in a sense, Yahshua himself was the first apprentice. He learned the skills of working in wood from Joseph just as any boy in Galilee would have learned the family trade at that time. And being an apprentice meant living and working with the master craftsman in the family home. Usually, the master craftsman would also have been the apprentice's father. So it was natural for Yahshua to have the same relationship with his heavenly Father, doing what an apprentice does, watching Dad at work and learning by copying. So Yahshua told them, 'My Father's always doing his work even today, and I'm working too.' And what was today? It was Shabbat, the Holy Sabbath day of rest. No wonder they're angry! Not only is he saying he's the Son of the Most High (they already know that's what he's alluding to), he's also saying, 'The Almighty works on Shabbat so I do too.'

John 5:19 - Here's a perfect description of family at work, apprenticeship at its best, the Father and the Son in unison, the Son following the Father's lead.

John 5:20-23 - It doesn't get much clearer than this! The Father loves the Son (as indeed any good father does). And he shows him what? Just the beginner's tasks? Everything but the really important stuff? No! He shows him everything! He even gives the Son the choice of who shall live, and he gives him responsibility for judging people. Why? So that the Son will get the same honour as the Father. And now he tells them to their face, 'If you don't honour me, you don't honour the Father either.' Ouch!

John 5:24-27 - But it gets worse for these Jewish authorities. Now Yahshua tells them that anyone who listens to him and believes his Father, already has eternal life, won't be condemned, and has crossed over from death to life. He tells them that even the dead will hear, that the Son is judge. They began by judging him for working on Shabbat - now he says he is going judge them!

So you see, this really is a matter of life and death whether those Jewish leaders thought so or not. We need to understand that Yahshua (Jesus) is who he claimed to be - the Son of the Most High. We need to understand that he has the power and authority to judge us, and that we have already crossed over from death to life if we hear him and believe. It makes a difference!

< John 4 | Index | John 6 >

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