Teachings of Jesus — John 5:17-47

The Nation of Israel was not a nation of laws, but of direct divine rule. Neither God nor Moses legislated; the Covenant was not fixed. It was merely the written expression of the Sovereign’s will, a revelation of His divine moral character. The members of the covenant were expected to read it and read between the lines. Thus, when Jesus the Messiah arrives as Son of God, the Law is subject to Him, not vice versa.

This is the logic of Ancient Near Eastern feudal government. It was the Jews who twisted this into something impersonal, pretending it was objective. But prior to Hellenization, any decent Hebrew scholar would have understood that law and covenant meant only what the sovereign ruler said it meant. There was no authority anywhere within his domain higher than the sovereign. In this case, the Creator Himself gave the Covenant, and there was no one in Heaven or on Earth who could hold Him accountable. The sheer arrogance of the Jewish leaders is off the scale.

Further, Jesus flatly said Jehovah was His Father, and He was the Son of God. Like any heir to a throne, no one could question His authority to assert the meaning of the Covenant. It meant whatever He said it meant.

If the Father works on the Sabbath, then clearly the Sabbath Law didn’t apply to either the Father or the Son. And any ruler’s heir is going to take his cue from the one still on the throne. Children learn what they see in their parents. In this case, the relationship between the two is close and loving, so the Father hides nothing from His Son, and the Son faithfully executes what He sees His Father doing.

And this authority extends beyond death, so that dead people can be called back to life. The Son has the power of life itself in His own hands. With His Son now walking the earth, the Father has no reason at all to stay His Son’s hand in giving life. Healing that man who had been waiting at the Pool of Bethesda was simply restoring life as God had intended for that man. The implication was that the Jewish leaders had created a situation where the man had suffered a touch of death. If they were claiming the authority of death, why did they not have the power to raise that man to full health on any day of the week for the years before Jesus came along on that Sabbath?

The Father intended that the Son be honored the same as Himself. That’s natural enough with any father and son, but more so with rulers. So anyone who embraces the teaching of the Son has that touch of Life that is rooted in Eternity. Soon enough it won’t be just Israelis, but anyone on earth who embraces the Son will receive that same Eternal Life. The Son has full authority like any co-regent; there’s no mystery here. And if we push things off long enough, the Son will one day call everyone from the grave to face the Final Judgment. Meanwhile, the Son does nothing except what the Father has ordered, so these Jewish leaders were arguing with the God they proclaimed.

If Jesus had made all this noise without any proof, then it should be obvious He was lying. But there is another witness involved here, and He never lies. Now the Sanhedrin did send officials to John the Baptist, and he told the truth about the Messiah coming. He also testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God. Now if John’s word alone was all Jesus had, it would still have been pretty persuasive, but that’s not why Jesus went to be baptized of John. Rather, it was the reverse: Jesus was testifying to John’s ministry as a far higher authority than John. John didn’t do the miracles Jesus did. Jesus came to fulfill His co-regency prior to being fully vested as heir. Everyone knows how that works.

So the Father Himself offers supporting testimony in the form of miraculous powers. The Sanhedrin never saw the Father’s form, nor heard His voice, but they saw the miracles they certainly couldn’t do. So clearly they really don’t know who God is, nor what He requires. They don’t have a clue about God. If they had bothered to search the Scriptures, they would be forced to admit Jesus fulfilled all of them, too. But their hearts were closed, so they were unable to discern accurately what to expect, and rejected the Son. It was tantamount to rejecting the Father, the God on whose behalf they were now telling lies.

They never understood God’s heart. Wasn’t it funny how, Jesus coming in the power and authority of God was rejected, but they seemed to have no trouble welcoming all kinds of men who asserted their own authority? They trusted self-proclaimed authorities who had nothing more than their own fallen reason and logic to rely on. How could they hope to understand divine revelation when all they had was the echo chamber approval of their own kind, and never sought the favor and power of God?

There was no reason for Jesus to bring charges against them before the Father. They claimed Moses, and it was Moses who accused them. They kept reinterpreting Moses to the point what he wrote was twisted and perverted far, far away from the purpose of God. Moses was now a foreigner to them, so there’s no surprise they rejected the testimony of Moses about the Messiah. They were looking for an excuse to disregard Moses, the servant of God, so there’s no way they would accept the Son of God.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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