John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 5:25-29

From the moment we are born, sometimes way before, our future begins to be planned. At first, our parents handle the details of that. Once we begin to go to school though, we share in the responsibility of it too. By the time we finish high school, we have a pretty good idea what we want to do with our lives and, unless you’re a Democratic Socialist Party snowflake that believes that everything should be handed out to you without working for it, we take the reins and begin to take steps to accomplish that. For some of us, marriage and kids of our own are in those future plans so we begin to plan for that. As we get older, we plan for our retirement and then the older we get, our funeral as well. The point is, we are always planning for the future that is, while we are here on earth but what about afterwards? What about our spiritual future? Yes, there is something else after we are gone from this world. We go on whether you believe that or not. I don’t just say this…the Lord Jesus Christ says this! In this post, we are going to take a look at a small passage, the words of Jesus, that should serve as a warning to us all! Small passage, a lot of ground to cover so let’s get started! As always, the text link for the chapter and audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word. Father, Your Word speaks truth and is powerful and it convicts those who read it or even hear it. We thank You for allowing us to continue living in a country where we are still allowed to read it and hear it even though we live in a society that wants to silence it! Bless this time in Your Word, make it fruitful by opening up our hearts to what You want to reveal to us through it. Father, we put aside all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 5

Let’s take a look at the passage for this study…

(25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.  (26)  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,  (27)  and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.  (28)  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  (29)  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. … John 5:25-29 NKJV

If you are just joining this study of John’s Gospel, what we have here is a continuing discourse by Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders after healing a cripple man who had been suffering from his affliction for 38 years. The Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus of breaking one of their laws regarding the Sabbath. This discourse, which begins in verse 17, is Jesus backing up His claim of who He really is. He will actually do this several times which John records in his Gospel because it is the overwhelming theme of it…that Jesus was and is in fact God!

When someone makes an outlandish claim, rest assured, there will be fireworks. I know this firsthand because when I was a kid, I made a claim that I was a king in a past life. I made this outlandish claim in a social studies class which we were all studying world religions and the subject came up about reincarnation. Of course I had no evidence to back up this ridiculous claim other than an excuse for maybe why I was picked on so much by the other kids. Yeah, I was pretty screwed up back then! LOL! Anyway, whereas I had absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back up my outlandish claim, Jesus backed up all of His claims by everything He did…all the miracles and healings. This infuriated the Jews and it is a reoccurring theme throughout the ministry of Jesus where they would constantly confront Jesus with this question…”Why, being a man, do you make yourself out to be God?”. Because of Jesus’s claims of divinity, and because the Jews couldn’t disprove them, it would move Jesus closer and closer to the cross because in their eyes, He was committing blasphemy.

In this short passage, Jesus tells them and us three sobering truths…

*Everyone dies

*Everyone will be judged

*Everyone will be resurrected

It is absolutely amazing the attitude that most people have when it comes to the subject of hell, including many Christians. It is a word that is used and abused in many of our daily conversations. There are many TV programs and movies about hell and one of these TV programs that actually portrays Lucifer as some type of misunderstood person and a hero! Why such a cavalier attitude about it? Because most people believe that it does not exist but did you know that Jesus talks about hell more times in The Bible than He does about heaven? Why? Because He knew it existed and He knew what takes place there. After all, He created it! He talks about it more than heaven because it is a warning to us to make us take heed so we don’t wind up there. Here’s the kicker though…He never intended for man to go there. In Matthew, Jesus says…

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: … Matthew 25:41 NKJV

More about this in a bit but now let’s take a closer look at these three truths in this passage from John that Jesus tell us about. First…everyone dies. Look at verse 25…

v 25 – (25) Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to know that everyone dies. Rich, poor, male, female, young, old, famous, obscure…everyone dies. There are only two people since the beginning of mankind on this earth that did not die…Enoch and Elijah. Enoch is briefly mentioned in Genesis…

(21) Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah.  (22)  After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters.  (23)  So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.  (24)  And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. … Genesis 5:21-24 NKJV

Now you might be saying to yourself now wait a minute that’s not true because the text says God took him which is a term or phrase that is used sometimes to explain a sudden death of a loved one. However if you read the whole chapter and read all the names listed and you will read the words…and he died. All except for Enoch. The other person is Elijah, a prophet of God. Elijah disappears in front of Elisha in a chariot that is taken up to heaven by a whirlwind. This is told in 2 Kings 2…

(11) Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. … 2 Kings 2:11 NKJV

So out of the billions of people that have lived on this planet, these are the only two that escaped physical death. We too will all eventually die unless we who are believers are still alive when Christ comes back and takes us back to heaven.

The word dead in verse 25 is the Greek word necros. From it, we get the word necrosis which is a process that the body goes through when we die. It speaks of physical death. In the last post, I made mention that there was a dual meaning to verse 25 that it also meant that those who were spiritually dead and would hear the Gospel would have a new spiritual life. I think that Jesus is speaking here about physical death though and that everyone who has died will hear His voice and live. I’ll explain why in just a bit. Now we come to the second truth that Jesus talks about in this passage…everyone will be judged. Look at verses 26 and 27…

vv 26-27 – (26)  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,  (27)  and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

I covered these verses in the last post but in this one, we are going to look at them from a different perspective. Jesus is referred to many terms in The Bible. He is referred to as the Son of God meaning He is part of the Godhead, the Holy Trinity, and is equal with God The Father. We saw how He is in many ways in the last post. Here in verse 27, Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man. What does that term mean? Very simply that God, came to the earth in the form of a Man in Jesus Christ. He is one of us…human. Everything that we feel, He knows because He is a Man. When Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man, it generally refers to the cross but look at what else it means in verse 27…He has the authority to execute judgement. This is the God of The Bible that nobody likes, believers and unbelievers alike…the God of judgement! Ask somebody who they think God is and they’ll tell you that He is a kind, gentle God who loves everyone but you’ll seldom hear that He is also a God of judgement. However, if you read The Bible, it’s full of judgement. In fact the word judge and all forms of the word, when applied to God, appears 450 times. First, God judges Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Then God judges the entire world by The Flood. He judges the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for immorality and idolatry, a coming judgement that awaits America. He judges Pharaoh and Egypt with a series of plagues because he refuses to end the slavery of the Hebrews and let them go. God judges Saul and Hophni and Phineas and the house of Eli. Later, He judges the nations of Israel and Judah with the Assyrian captivity and the Babylonian captivity. During the captivity, God judges King Belshazzar and the nation of Babylon for blasphemy in the famous writing on the wall in Daniel 5. That’s just to name a few. There are a whole lot more. A lot of people will say, “Well that’s the God of The Old Testament!” as if there was any difference between the two, but let’s look in The New Testament. In Matthew, Jesus judges Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Chorazin saying that it would be better for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah than for them because they had heard His words and seen the miracles and did not repent. He judges Jerusalem with tears in His eyes because they failed to recognize their Messiah and predicts the coming destruction of the city in 70 A.D. Let’s go further in The New Testament. In Acts, Herod is struck dead for his boasting of superiority and comparing himself to God. Ananias and Sapphira are judged for holding back funds and lying about it and they are struck dead as well. In Revelation, the book is full of judgement when Jesus comes back to judge the entire world. Because Jesus was born a man, this makes Him the perfect judge and gives Him the authority to do so. Besides His attributes of love and forgiveness, this is one of my favorite attributes…His judgement. I honor it and I respect it!

The word  judgement is the Greek word krisis which means judgement or court. We get the word crisis from it. What Jesus is basically saying in verses 25-29 is that there is a coming crisis. Despite what most people think, death is not the end. There is a coming judgement where we will all be evaluated, Hebrews 9:27 says…

(27) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, … Hebrews 9:27 NKJV

More on this in just a second but let’s look at the rest of the passage and the last truth that Jesus talks about in it…everyone will be resurrected.

vv 28-29 – (28)  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  (29)  and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

No doubt that the Jewish religious leaders were amazed as Jesus spoke because He tells them do not marvel and then He tells them another startling truth…that everyone will be raised to life again and those who do good will undergo a resurrection of life and those who are evil will undergo a resurrection of condemnation. Verse 29 is often misinterpreted as salvation being dependent on what one does during their life but good works are a result of salvation. It is the proof whether one is saved or not. The only thing that guarantees salvation is believing and giving one’s life to Jesus Christ…period! If one does that, then the good works will naturally follow. These are the ones that will be raised to a resurrection of life. Those who don’t, unbelievers, those that consistently turn their backs to Jesus, will be raised to a resurrection of condemnation. When Jesus talks about an hour is coming, He is not talking about a certain 60 minute time period but rather a certain time period. In Revelation, we read that there are two resurrections which are a 1000 years apart from each other. First, the righteous dead are resurrected looking at Revelation 20…

(4) And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  (5)  But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. … Revelation 20:4-5 NKJV

After the 1000 years are completed, then the unrighteous dead are resurrected and everyone is evaluated. It is important to note though that the judgement of believers is entirely different than the judgement of unbelievers. If you are a believer and trust in Jesus Christ, you will never be judged based on your sins because Jesus took care of that when He went to the cross. Not to get ahead here, but when Christ uttered the words on the cross, “It is finished”, He didn’t mean that His suffering was finished. The phrase is the Greek word tetelestai. Loosely translated, it means done, completed, repaid. The debt of sin, my sins, your sins, everyone’s sins was taken away by Christ but you have to believe in Him and accept Him. In Romans, Paul says…

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. … Romans 8:1 NKJV

The judgement that believers will be faced with will be judgements of rewards, or lack of them, based on our service to the Lord. We will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ or Judgement Seat of Christ. …

(10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. … 2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV

The word for the judgement seat is the Greek word bematis 0r bema. It means raised step. It was the place in town where speeches were given and judgements and laws were passed out. The judgements for unbelievers is entirely different but the bottom line is that when we stand before God, believers and unbelievers will be judged on one thing and only one thing…whether we accepted Jesus Christ or not!

We as believers should be excited at the prospect of resurrection. Some may ask why the new body? I don’t know about you but I’m dying for a new one! As I get older, I find that I’m becoming more and more tired, I don’t have the same energy level that I had when I was younger, and I am in a lot more pain than when I was younger. So what will our new bodies be like? No one really knows. I’d like to think that it will be like “The Tomorrow People”. It was one of my favorite shows that I used to watch in the 1980’s on Nickleodeon and it was recently remade a couple of years ago but with a modern day twist which aired on the CW network for one season. It was a show about people with the powers of telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation. These people were supposed to be the next step in human evolution. The fact is though that Jesus had these powers when He was resurrected. Paul gives us a glimpse of what our new bodies might be like in 1 Corinthians 15 which tells us that our resurrected bodies will be very similar to Christ. Whatever our new bodies are like though, it has to be way better than they are right now though! LOL!

Here’s an interesting question though…why will those bound for hell need new bodies? Well just like the believer will need a new body to enjoy eternal bliss, so the unbeliever will need a new body to endure eternal punishment. To give you an idea of what awaits the unbeliever, turn to Revelation, the last book in The Bible, and to Chapter 20. The Bible teaches that there are two resurrections that are separated by a 1000 years. What we have in the final verses in Chapter 20, is a courtroom scene but this is not for believers but for unbelievers as we read starting in verse 11…

(11) Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. … Revelation 20:11-15 NKJV

So to close this out, here’s the takeaway of all of this. Believers go from spiritual death to spiritual life to physical death to eternal life. Unbelievers go from spiritual death to physical death to eternal death! What side of the coin do you want to be on? Jesus actually sums this up best in Matthew…

(30) He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. … Matthew 12:30 NKJV

If you accept Christ, then you are for Him. If you don’t and you continue to reject Him, then you are against Him! I’d rather play it safe and be for Him! Listen, true Christianity is not a religion…it is a relationship! You are either have it or you don’t! There’s no halfway point! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

As we read these sobering words, these words, straight out of mouth of Jesus, may we as believers all take good look inwardly at ourselves and ask ourselves…do I have a true, meaningful relationship with Jesus? When we stand before Him, will we hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!” or will He say, “Depart from Me! I never knew you!”. Help us to reach out to people who do not know Your Son Jesus Christ with these truths so they too can enjoy eternal life instead of eternal death. Father, thank You for all that You give us, not only the blessings in our lives, but also the trials and tribulations that come our way that make us stronger. Bless us, bless our families, and bless our country in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!