John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 5:30-47

We are in John Chapter 5. Yeah still in it, LOL, but hopefully, this post will end our look into this chapter. Whereas we looked at a small passage in the last post, in this one, we will be looking at a much larger passage, 17 verses actually, so this will not be a verse by verse look. What I will be doing is centering on a few verses and summarizing the rest.

Here’s a question…why do you believe in God? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, why do you believe what you believe? Before you answer by pulling out some verse or verses from The Bible, put it aside for a second and tell me why you, myself, or anyone for that matter, should believe in God. The reason why I ask this is because when you approach unbelievers with this subject or if they ask you why, chances are, they are not going to understand your answer if you pull something out of The Bible. Now you can use an obvious reason that none of this; the earth, life, human life, none of it just happened by chance even though that is the garbage that is taught in schools and colleges these days. You could also use another logical reason by saying that you’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to believing God. Both of these are good, valid answers. However the best reason to give someone about why they should believe in God is something that they can witness for themselves…a changed life yours and others that you know who believe around you that they know as well. When I say a changed life, I don’t mean that you go to church more or you give money to the church and/or volunteer your time to the church. It means your ideology has changed, in other words your beliefs on what is right and what is wrong has changed. Your former lifestyle is dead and buried the moment you were saved. In 1 Peter, Peter writes…

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (2) that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (3) For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. (4) In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. … 1 Peter 4:1-4 NKJV

It’s something called your testimony and all believers should have one. In this rather large passage that closes out Chapter 5, Jesus gives His “testimony”. He brings forth “witnesses” to prove who He is and why they, and all of us, should believe in Him. A lot of ground to cover again so let’s get started. As always, the text link and audio for the chapter is included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father, 

Thank You for the word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God…for those of us who wish to follow You in truth and in spirit. We give thanks to You, Lord, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. Lord we pray that as we look at this passage, it will give us clear and concise reasons why everyone should believe and we can relay that message to an unbelieving country and unbelieving world. 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 look at the passage for study in this post…

(30) I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (31) “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. (32) There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. (33) You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. (34) Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. (35) He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. (36) But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. (37) And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. (38) But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. (39) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (40) But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. (41) “I do not receive honor from men. (42) But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. (43) I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. (44) How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? (45) Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. (46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” … John 5:30-47 NKJV

This is Jesus’s final part of His discourse to the Jewish religious leaders after a mercy healing that He performs at the pool of Bethesda that occurs on (gasp!) the Sabbath. From this point on, Jesus will be in the cross hairs of these religious leaders as we read back up in verse 16…

(16) For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. … John 5:16 NKJV

Jesus never bowed down to the “political correctness” of that time. When He saw someone with a need, He fulfilled that need. When He saw hypocrisy, He called people out on it and when He saw immorality, He called it what it was…sin! We believers should never compromise with the political correctness of our time either!

One of the main reasons though why these religious leaders were so infuriated and so intent on killing Jesus was because of this discourse with them and making Himself out to be God. Going back up to verse 18…

(18) Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. … John 5:18 NKJV

This discourse in verses 15 through 47 doesn’t have a well known name like “The Olivet Discourse” (Matthew 23, 24, & 25) or “The Upper Room Discourse” (John 14-17). In fact, I don’t think it even has a name and if it doesn’t, this one names it appropriately…”The Don’t You Know Who I Am Discourse”. Jesus was being accused by the religious leaders for breaking the Sabbath by healing a man and He was just pointing out to them who came up with the Sabbath in the first place! The first verse that we will take an in-depth look at will be verse 30. …

v 30 – I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

When Jesus said I can of Myself do nothing, He didn’t mean that He couldn’t do anything on His own accord. He meant that when He acted, He was working in perfect harmony with the Father. In other words, they are one and the same! That phrase in verse 30 is where critics and false teaching will point to and say, “See Jesus says that He’s not God!”. However, it proves the exact opposite. False teaching uses this verse to support the claim that Jesus Christ was not God since He could do nothing on His own and therefore proves He was just a man and not God. When Jesus said I can of Myself do nothing, He didn’t mean that He was physically unable to act on His own but morally unable to. Jesus was a man and was perfectly capable to physically to do anything whether or not it was in God’s will, just as we are. Jesus could only do the things though that God did as well. He acted on the will of the Father and therefore, proves that Jesus was, and is, God. His one and only ambition was to do the will of the Father and please Him.

In the remaining verses of the chapter, 31 through 47, Jesus now begins to bring forth witnesses to His deity. God’s law stated that in order to pass adequate judgement on someone, it had to be based on the testimony of two or three other witnesses. Jesus produces not two or three witnesses but four. His first witness is John the Baptist in verses 32 through 35. Jesus does point out that His claim to be God just didn’t come from the testimony of men. The claim would amount to nothing if that were the case. John The Baptist knew who Jesus was though and he told people who He was. John The Baptist and Jesus were believed to have been cousins. John The Baptist’s mother was Elizabeth who was a relative of Mary…Jesus’s mother. John The Baptist and Jesus literally grew up together and during that time, John was able to watch and study his “cousin” very carefully and intently and was able to come up with the inevitable and undeniable truth that Jesus was indeed God in human form. John became the burning and shining lamp as he feverishly pursued a ministry in pointing others to Jesus and Jesus gives him credit for it in verse 35. Jesus also points out how the people rejoiced in John’s ministry and were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. John, the disciple, does not mention John The Baptist’s imprisonment by Herod and his eventual beheading so it is possible by this time as Jesus is talking with these Jewish religious leaders that John The Baptist is already dead. Jesus could have possibly been referring to John The Baptist’s imprisonment and death when He said that they were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. Jesus was puzzled though how they were willing to accept John The Baptist and not the One that he preached about…Jesus. Calling John The Baptist a burning and shining lamp was a tribute to him by Jesus and a true praise coming from God. We as believers should also be known as these!

There were many other human witnesses other than John The Baptist as well. There were Jesus’s disciples. In 2 Peter, Peter says…

(16) For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. … 2 Peter 1:16 NKJV

John, the writer of this Gospel, tells us in 1 John…

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— (2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— (3) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (4) And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. … 1 John 1:1-4 NKJV

There were also the many people who Jesus performed healings and other miracles too. All of these people are witnesses to the deity of Jesus Christ.

In the end of verse 34, Jesus tells the leaders, but I say these things that you may be saved. Jesus was proving the love He had for them even though He knew deep down in their hearts, they wanted to kill Him. This is the message that John is trying to get through in his Gospel. He wants you, the reader, to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. The word believe is the central theme in John’s Gospel. The word shows up 98 times in it. John writes…

(31) but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. … John 20:31 NKJV

Here John shows us the love that Jesus has for all of us, even these religious leaders who were blind to who He really was and wanted to kill Him.

The next “witness” that Jesus talks about is His works in verse 36…

v 36 – But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

What works is Jesus talking about here? What we’ve been reading here of course. He had just healed a man that had been sick for 38 years and couldn’t walk. He was talking about the miracles that were happening around them. That’s a word that is thrown around loosely these days…miracle. Every time a baby is born…”Oh it’s a miracle!” or when the sun rises or sets…”Oh it’s a miracle!”. No it’s not! Those are things that happen naturally every single day! A miracle is when natural law is suspended by supernatural forces. There are 34 miracles that are told of in the Gospels that Jesus performed and probably a whole host of others that aren’t in the Gospels. Now to be fair, it was wise for these leaders to question this miracle. They were just following what it says in Deuteronomy 13 where it says…

(1) “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, (2) and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—’and let us serve them,’ (3) you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (5) But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. … Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NKJV

In other words, look at the message behind the miracle. The leaders were blind to the messages behind the miracles that Jesus performed in part, I believe, because they were jealous that they couldn’t do this themselves. There are many cases in The Bible of people that performed “miracles” but they were different and even some had evil intentions behind them. The miracles that Jesus performed were much different though in four ways. First, He had the power in Himself to do them whereas others were given the power to do them. Second, He not only had the power in Himself to do them but He could also pass that power onto others like His disciples. …

(14) Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, (15) and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: … Mark 3:14-15 NKJV

And then third, the miracles that Jesus performed were foretold by the prophets who prophesied about the coming of The Messiah. Fourth, and lastly, they were unique in scope, character and number. So what about today? Are miracles occurring today? Actually, yes, especially in nations where The Gospel is banned. So many people in countries where Christianity is forbidden under penalty of death are coming to Christ in creative New Testament like ways. God gets His message through to people where The Gospel is not allowed. A Muslim cleric is reported to have lamented on Al-Jazeer-a television that 6 million Muslims a year are converting to Christianity. Take this story of conversion that you can’t chalk up to sheer coincidence that Skip Heitzig from Calvary Albuquerque in New Mexico told his congregation while teaching on this chapter. …

Mariam Asal, an Islamic evangelist for 7 years, she was teaching women verses from the Koran. She was teaching them prayers so they’d live an obedient Islamic life and she was on track, says the source, to become a female Ayatollah, a Shiite religious and political leader. Well, that was then. What happened after that is her mother came down or exhibited severe M.S.—multiple sclerosis. Got so severe one day she said I prayed to Allah. I’ve served you for many years of my life. I’ve given you my youth and this is what you’ve done for me? I read that. I thought, that’s interesting. I know a lot of people here who, not necessarily in this church, but in America, who pray that same kind of prayer. Well, her mom’s health deteriorated. She became disillusioned with God, disillusioned with everything, and she decided that she and her mom would commit suicide together. They’d kill themselves. They’d get everything ready and, I don’t know if it was television or radio, but some broadcast was on on one of those two sources, and as they were getting ready to commit suicide, this voice over the airwaves said, are you trying to kill yourself today? And it was a message being broadcast into her language about the gospel. She called the station. She received Christ as her Savior. She then took her mother to get an MRI sometime later and it was completely negative—no signs at all of multiple sclerosis. She knew Jesus healed her mother. It confirmed her own faith and led her mother to Jesus Christ as well.

I have heard about stories like this in America as well. I can use my conversion as an example and the results of it. I have heard that by the time a person reaches 50 years of age, the odds of them turning to Christ are slim and next to none and yet, I did. My conversion occurred after I too was seriously thinking about cashing it in, committing suicide. I was walking to work one day and was picked up by a Korean woman who had converted to Christianity. Her adopted name was Sarah. Long story short, she eventually convinced me to go to her church after picking me up day after day and taking me to work and talking about her faith. She was different than any other Christian that I had known. After coming to Christ, I wanted to thank her. She attended the Korean service after the regular service at the church. Many churches do this. It helps defer the cost of rent and other expenses. Anyway, I hung around one Sunday waiting for her to come but she never showed up. I did this for several Sundays afterwards but still no Sarah. I called her phone number but it was disconnected. Finally one Sunday, I asked some of the members of the Korean congregation where Sarah was and what happened to her. They told me that they didn’t know who she was. This wasn’t a big congregation either and yet, nobody knew who I was talking about. I’ve never seen her since that first day that she dropped me off at the church. I am convinced that she was an angel! Also after coming to Christ and being saved, I was able to stop smoking and I am still smoke free after 8 years! I had tried many times and many ways, unsuccessfully, to quit. The most I ever went was 6 months that is until…I turned to Christ. I prayed about it and read my Bible and His power made me able to quit! So yes, He is still performing miracles today!

The next witness that Jesus brings forth is the witness of the Father in verses 37 & 38. 

vv 37-38 – (37) And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.  (38)  But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. … John 5:37-38 NKJV

In the first part of verse 37, Jesus could be referring to the time that He was baptized by John The Baptist. The Father’s voice is audibly heard three times in the Gospels. The first time was when Jesus was baptized…

(17) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” …. Matthew 3:17 NKJV

The second time is during the transfiguration where the Father tells Peter…

(17) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” … Matthew 17:5 NKJV

The third time is when Jesus is praying…

(28) Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” … John 12:28 NKJV 

The reason why the Jews had never heard His voice is because they were unbelievers which is explained in verse 38…because you do not have His word abiding in you. God spoke through His Word. The Jews had the Scriptures yet they did not believe what had been written about Jesus by the prophets and therefore, did not believe in Him. God still speaks to us today through His Word, The Bible, but too many of us are too preoccupied with our lives and our hobbies to read it and therefore, do not hear Him as well. Which brings up this point…if you are a believer, does His Word abide in you? Now I’m about to say something that will probably make some believers uncomfortable and maybe even angry but His Word does not abide in most believers either. When church services are structured around football games every Sunday, His Word does not abide in us! When we pull out our Bibles only on Sundays, the occasional Wednesday, or when we need to “feel good” about ourselves, His Word does not abide in us! When we live our lives under a bushel basket for fear that the light of Christ will get out because it’s not politically correct or acceptable to be a Christian anymore in America, His Word does not abide in us! When we allow Democratic socialists to take over our government, our judicial system, and to turn what used to be a God fearing nation into an immoral, pagan, Third World nation dumping ground, His Word does not abide in us! That’s right…I said it! The point I am trying to make here is that if we are Christians only when it’s convenient or when it suits our needs, His Word does not abide in us! Enough said on that.

The last witness that Jesus brings forth as proof of His deity, are the Scriptures looking at verse 39…

v 39 – You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

The first part of verse 39 could be taken as a command or as a statement of fact. Either translation is acceptable but the bottom line is because the Jews thought that they read the Scriptures, they thought they had eternal life. The problem was though, they didn’t really know them because everything in them pointed to Christ. There is a belief today that The Old Testament no longer applies and that it shouldn’t even be read anymore and totally disregarded because we live under The New Testament. Nothing could be further from the truth because everything in The Old Testament is about the coming of Christ. Also The Old Testament serves as a warning to us about the fate of a nation whose people turn their backs on God. Reading The Bible will not grant you eternal life. Only knowing its author will. The more you read The Bible though, the whole thing not just the parts that are uncomfortable or inspirational, the more you will get to know the author. One more passage to look at and we’ll wrap this up dropping down to verse 45…

vv 45-47 – Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. (46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The Jews held Moses in such high esteem and still do to this day. On the list of the most influential Hebrews in history, Moses comes in at #2. Moses is the one that wrote the first 5 books of The Bible…Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy known as The Torah. They claimed that they read and followed the writings of Moses and yet, they totally missed one of the key points that Moses wrote about…the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Turn to Deuteronomy and Chapter 18. Moses in Chapter 18 writes…

(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, … Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV

Let’s stop there for a second. When Moses told the people Him you shall hear, he wasn’t making a statement of fact. He was making a command. He was telling the people, “A prophet is coming. Him you must listen to!”. This actually translates better in the NIV by the way. Drop down now to verse 18…

(18) I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. … Deuteronomy 18:18 NKJV

So Jesus shows up on the scene. He’s not only foretold by Moses but by several other prophets as well. Is He listened to? No! For the most part. He’s labeled a fraud and a blasphemer, labels that have followed Him to this very day by the way. The point is that they didn’t know the Scriptures and they didn’t follow what Moses told them although they claimed they held him in such high esteem and Jesus points out this fact to them.

To wrap this up, people claim to be very spiritual these days but they approach it as one going to a salad bar. It’s like they say, “I’ll take a small order of Christianity…hold the guilt because I’m on a guilt free diet. I’ll top that off with a little Hinduism and Buddhism because that’s really cool. I’ll take a side of Islam too because that’s politically correct and I’ll spice it up with New Age and humanism…you know to spice it up a bit.” The fact of the matter is people really don’t know what they believe anymore or why they believe it. The fact is there is a God and He would tell you to believe in Jesus. I would testify that. My fellow believers would testify to that. The Bible would testify to that and even God the Father testifies to that! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word, one of the greatest witness of truth and light for those of us who choose to believe it. The truth is out there, right in these pages of Your Word and in the words that You gave so many writers of it, of who Your Son Jesus Christ is. We don’t have to ask “Who will ascend up to heaven to bring it to us?”. It is not beyond the sea that we have to have someone bring it to us. It is in the very pages of The Bible, Your holy Word, if we would only take the time to read it. Lord, bless our homes, our families, and our country…God bless America! In the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!