Monthly Archives: January 2011

John 5:19-36 – Jesus’ Apologetic – Part II

Last week, we examined (2) reasons why the Jews “were seeking all the more to kill him” (John 5:18).
  • (1) Breaking the Sabbath
  • (2) Making Himself equal with God

The second of the two was Jesus’ response to the first.
  • And in His response Jesus used language with legal overtones denoting a defense against the Jews’ accusations.
    o “Answer” in verse 17 literally means “to vindicate oneself”.
  • Our lesson today covers John 5:19-37.
  • Jesus expands on his defense and spells out clearly His relationship with the Father.

D.A. Carson sums up beautifully what our text today does.
  • The ensuing verses [our text] set out some of the parameters by which we may rightly understand that Jesus is equal with God. Jesus is not equal with God as another God or as a competing God: the functional subordination of the Son to the Father, the utter dependence of the Son upon the Father, are about to be explicated.

Kostenberger says it like this.
  • Jesus’ words clearly convey that He is both, “equal to God, [yet] is functionally subordinate to him as a son is to his father…this relationship preserves distinctness of roles” – A. Kostenberger.

Today, we will merely do a high altitude flyover of verses 19-36.
  • This will give us a look at the big picture of Jesus’ defense.
  • Next week we will give a detailed treatment of verses 38-47 where Jesus makes a profound link to belief in Scripture and belief in Him.

Before we go further, we must deal with what appears to be a contradiction.
  • Jesus is accused of “making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
  • As we saw last week, the accusation is true; by His words in John 5:17 (and in our text today) Jesus does make this claim.
  • However, in our text today, Jesus goes out of His way to also show He (the Son) is “subordinate” to the Father.

So here is the problem:
  • Logically speaking, for something to be subordinate to something else, it must be separate/distinct from it.
  • Yet Jesus is claiming that He is also equal to God; that He is what He is subordinate to.

How is it that Jesus can be both Equal and Subordinate to God the Father?
How can He be what He is “functionally subordinate” to?
  • The answer is to be found in Doctrine of the Trinity.
  • “God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God” – Wayne Grudem.
  • And, as we see from our text, if there is no Trinity, then either:
    (1) Jesus is claiming that He is a 2nd God.
    (2) Jesus is merely a specially and uniquely appointed human that acts on God’s authority.

Now that we have seen how our text today requires the doctrine of the Trinity to be rightly understood, we can move on to the summary of Jesus’ defense of His divinity and relationship with the Father.

1) A SUMMARY OF JESUS DEFENSE – JOHN 5:19-37

John 5:19-36 can be broken down into (3) basic categories.
  • (1) Father/Son Relationship
  • (2) Testimony about Father/Son relationship
  • (3) Implications for us given the truth of this Father/Son relationship

We will take them one at a time.

(1) Father/Son Relationship
  • As stated earlier, Jesus spells out 7 of these formulations.
  • They demonstrate that Jesus viewed His ministry as operating under the authority of the Father.
  • They demonstrate Jesus’ dependence on the Father not independence.
  • They demonstrate Jesus’ obedience to the Father.
  • And some of them demonstrate His divinity, that He is in fact “equal with God”.

Just from these summary statements, we can see why we are to take our cues from Jesus.
  • Do we live our lives fully under the authority of the Father?
  • Do we live our lives dependent on Him or do we rebel in independence?
  • Do we obey Him?

Here are Jesus’ 7 formulations of the Father/Son relationship (John 5:19-23, 26).

John 5:19 (ESV) — 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
  • Father Does – Son Does
    o Son does not act autonomously
    o D.A. Carson states this verse makes clear that, “it is impossible for the Son to take independent, self-determined action that would set Him over against the Father as another God”.
  o Carson also describes Jesus doing as “The Son exegeting or narrating the Father” for our benefit.

POI – If even Jesus doesn’t act autonomously, why do so many believe that man must be able to?
  • John 5:30, Jesus discloses again that He, “can do nothing on his own” but that He does the will of the Father.

John 5:20 (ESV) — 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
  • Father Loves Son – So Father Shows Son what to do
    o The “greater works than these [healing of cripple]” refers most likely to what event?
    o This is scandalous to the world – the cross motivated by love for the object of its scorn!
    o This is not a very palatable way to demonstrate love.

John 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
  • Father Raises and Gives Life – Son Raises and Gives Live
    o Judaism is clear that raising life and giving life “are the sole prerogatives of God” – Kostenberger.
    o 2 Kings 5:7 (ESV) — 7 “…Am I God, to kill and to make alive”
    o So if Jesus can raise and give life to “whom he will”, Jesus is who (unlike Elijah – as is honor below)?

John 5:22 (ESV) — 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
  • Father Does not Judge – Son Given Judgement
    o Again, according to the OT, judgment is “the exclusive prerogative of God” – Kostenberger.
    o So if Jesus can judge in this way, Jesus is who?

John 5:23 (ESV) — 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
  • Honor the Father – Honor Son
  • Don’t Honor Father – If Don’t Honor Son
    o So “The purpose of the Father’s delegation of life-giving and judgment-related authority to the Son [in verses 21 and 22] is that people might honor the Son just as they honor the Father” – Kostenberger.
    o In other words, the Son is “at one with the Father not only in activity but in honor” – D.A. Carson.
    o If Jesus were just a representative of God, he would never be due the same honor as Father.
    o This is another claim of divinity!

John 5:26 (ESV) — 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
  • Father Has Life in Him – Son Has Life in Him
    o Jesus is self-existent and has life-in-himself.
    o As John stated in John 1, Jesus is eternal and not created.
    o “This verse explains how it is that the Son can exercise divine judgment and generate resurrection life by his powerful word” – D.A. Carson.

So we have learned about the Father/Son relationship.
  • Now we will let Jesus’ words tell us about those who testify to the truth of this relationship.

(2) Testimony about Father/Son Relationship
  • Jesus puts to us 3 witnesses that testify about Him.
    o John the Baptist
    o The Father
    o Scripture

As Kostenberger points out, “the need for multiple witnesses” is taught “in Hebrew Scriptures” and “Jewish tradition”.
  • John 8:17 (ESV) — 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true.
  • So it is no surprise here that we have more language with legal overtones as Jesus defends His claims.
  • However, Carson suggests that the real point here is that Jesus is saying that if He Himself is the only one who can testify of Himself, then the revelation from the Father through the Son can’t be true.
  • At a minimum, given Jesus’ words thus far in our text, the Father must be one of the witnesses or Jesus is deluded.
  • So the obvious question is how does the Father testify about Jesus?
    o We will come to that in just a second.

John the Baptist:
John 5:31–35 (ESV) — 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he [God the Father] bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
  • John the Baptist testified to Jesus as we have already seen in John 1.
  • Jesus points this out here so that “you may be saved”.
    o This of course was the reason for John the Baptist’s ministry.

The Father:
Earlier we asked how the Father testifies about Jesus.
  • Jesus provides the answer for us here.

John 5:32 and 36–38 (ESV) — 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
  • Jesus then cites the testimony of the Father.
  • The works Jesus has performed, works which require the authority and power of God to perform, demonstrate that the Father bears witness to Jesus claims.
  • Many believe that Jesus is also referring to the baptism event where the Father bore witness to Jesus.
    o Mark 1:11 (ESV) — 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
  • And finally, here we have an indictment by Jesus against the Jews for by not accepting Jesus’ testimony they unwittingly reject the OT they claim to believe.

Scripture:
John 5:38–47 details the testimony of Scripture about Jesus.
  • We will cover this next week.

So, thus far we have seen Jesus defense unfold via the Father/Son relationship and the Testimony about that relationship.
  • We now come to the 3rd aspect of Jesus’ defense which, as we have said, is the Implications for us if the Father/Son relationship is true.

(3) Implications

John 5:24 (ESV) — 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
John 5:25 (ESV) — 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
John 5:27–29 (ESV) — 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
John 5:30 (ESV) — 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
  • If you Hear Jesus and Believe Father sent him then you pass from death to life
  • Those who hear (“believe”) Jesus will live
  • Father/Son relationship gives Jesus authority to judge believers and unbelievers
  • Judgment is Just because it is under Father’s authority and will

These implications echo those spelled out by Jesus when he spoke to Nicodemus in John 3.
  • It always strikes me as odd when I hear people argue that God is hidden or that He has not provided enough revelation to make Himself adequately known.
  • Therefore, they argue, they can’t be held accountable for their agnosticism because it is God’s fault.
  • As a result, they feel they should be exempt from the consequences that Jesus is speaking of here.

How would you respond to such a person?
Do you believe God’s revelation to mankind has been sufficient?

John 5:16-18 – Jesus’ Apologetic – Part I

Our Diving Deeper lesson title and lesson focus comes from Jesus’ words in verse 17, “Jesus answered them”.
  • Most consider these words to have legal overtones and thus convey a pointed defense against the Jews’ accusations.
  • But before we examine Jesus’ defense we need to understand why His words in verse 17 were so offensive.

John 5:16–18 (ESV) — 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” 18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

In our text today, John cites two reasons “the Jews were persecuting Jesus” (vs. 16).
  • (1) Breaking the Sabbath
  • (2) Making Himself Equal with God

The 2nd reason, the charge of “making himself equal with God” (vs. 18), stemmed from Jesus’ answer to the first charge against him of “doing these things on the Sabbath” (vs. 16).

We will deal with the breaking the Sabbath accusations first.

1) WAS JESUS BREAKING THE SABBATH?

We first have to do a brief background on Sabbath laws to give us some context for the exchange between the Jews and Jesus.

Sabbath laws were extremely important to Jews.
  • John MacArthur describes them as being, “at the heart of Jewish worship in Jesus’ day”.
  • In accommodating Roman rule to the Jewish religion, the Romans themselves recognized this in that the Sabbath “had been officially acknowledged by Roman authorities since Julius Caesar decreed that the Jews had the right to observe it throughout the Roman Empire” – AYBD.

Surprisingly, the “Biblical laws on the Sabbath are not numerous” – AYBD.
  • Exodus 20:8–11 (ESV) — 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • Exodus 23:12 (ESV) — 12 “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.
  • Exodus 35:3 (ESV) — 3 You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.”
    o Numbers 15:32 also says gathering fire wood is prohibited – a man was stoned for doing so.
  • Nehemiah 10:31 (ESV) — 31 And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.

However, as most of us know, the Pharisees added Sabbath restrictions over and above those outlined in the OT.
  • Josephus even made note of this practice:
    o “The Pharisees had handed down [paredosan] certain regulations [nomima] from [their] forebears [ek paterōn diadochēs], which are not recorded in the laws of Moses, and which on this account are rejected by the Sadducean group” (Ant 13.10.6 §297) – AYBD.
  • And it was one of these additions, by the way, that Jesus was accused of violating.

Why did the Jews add to the Sabbath restrictions?
  • “To be sure the Sabbath law to abstain from labor was not broken, the rabbis forbade any conduct that could contribute to labor: for example, one was not to carry anything [like the cripple carrying his mat], lest one carry tools; again, one was not to walk far from one’s house, lest one go to one’s fields. Establishing such rules to keep a law from being transgressed was called “building a fence around the law,” and it was enjoined as one of a rabbi’s chief endeavors” – AYBD.
  • They wanted to ensure compliance!

Not surprisingly, just as politicians provide loopholes in their ever convoluted and complicated laws, so too did the Jews come up with loopholes in the Sabbath laws.
But why the loopholes – an interesting rabbit trail?

Jeremiah 17:21–22 (ESV) — 21 Thus says the LORD: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. 22 And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers.
  • Jeremiah refers to a specific command of God concerning the Sabbath which forbids carrying a load out of one’s house.
  • However, the Jews found this to be an excellent loophole opportunity.

All they needed to do was to “make” multiple houses into “one house” and they could fellowship with each other in a way that would have been forbidden to do otherwise.
• It is a conception indicated by the word ˓êrûb [eruv], “the fusion of sabbath limits”. By the erection of cross-beams, for example, all the houses in a courtyard or along an alley could be “fused” into one house, and then vessels containing food could be carried from house to house, thus permitting communal dining on the Sabbath (despite Jer 17:19–27) – AYBD.

Modern Day Eruv – Corruption to the 2nd Power
  • “Eruv” is fishing line or nylon string strung along the top of utility poles that “fence in” in a section of community providing them a loophole for violating Sabbath restrictions, much like the cross-beams from Jesus’ day.
  • This is a total corruption of the “building a fence around the law”, which of course, was also a total corruption of Sabbath law.





Back to Jesus and the Sabbath:
  • So, by healing the man and telling him to carry his mat were the Jews right in accusing Jesus of breaking Sabbath laws?
  • From their perspective, yes.
  • Or, at the very least, He certainly “broke through the fence”, so to speak.

But what about from Jesus perspective, what was His view?
  • Obviously, He clearly did not break any Sabbath laws in His view.
  • And He countered their charge with the following words in verse 17, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.
  • He didn’t even bother giving them a lesson on what a legitimate Sabbath law was.
  • But refuted their charge by opening up a whole new can of worms.
  • What did Jesus mean to convey with these words?

2) MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD

(1)  Firstly, Jesus words were meant to demonstrate that God the Father works on the Sabbath.
Isn’t God still at rest?
• Genesis 2:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Oddly, one of the things that Jesus and the Jews would have been in agreement on was that God DID work on the Sabbath.
  • D.A. Carson puts the Jews’ logic as follows, if God “observes the Sabbath, who keeps the universe in running order while he rests?
  • He goes on to tell us, “About the end of the first century, four eminent rabbis (Rabban Gamaliel II, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and R. Akiba) discussed the point, and concluded that although God works constantly, he cannot rightly be charged with violating the Sabbath law, since (1) the entire universe is his domain (Is. 6:3), and therefore he never carries anything outside it; (2) otherwise put, God fills the whole world (Je. 23:24); and in any case (3) God lifts nothing to a height greater than his own stature (Exodus Rabbah 30:9; cf. Genesis Rabbah 11:10)” – D.A. Carson.

And the Bible itself confirms the necessity of God actively upholding the universe:
  • Psalm 75:3 (ESV) — 3 When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
  • Colossians 1:17 (ESV) — 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
  • Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

So clearly, there was no disagreement that the Father worked on the Sabbath.
  • In fact John MacArthur reminds us to remember that the, “Sabbath was not instituted for God’s benefit but for man’s”.
  • So why, then, would Jesus point out that the Father works on the Sabbath?
  • The answer to this question leads us to the 2nd thing Jesus meant to convey with His words in verse 17.

(2)  Secondly, Jesus words were meant to reveal that His working on the Sabbath is no different than the Father working on the Sabbath.
  • Of course, this only made any sense if Jesus was claiming to be God!
  • This is why the Jews were so offended by Jesus’ statement.
  • And in verse 18 they were correct in suggesting that Jesus was, “making himself equal with God”.

Can one be equal with God and not God?
  • Did the Bible writers claim that Jesus is God?
    o John 1:1; John 1:18; John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1
  • Did Jesus claim to be God?
    o John 8:58 – the “I am” statement.
    o Matt 22:44, Jesus quotes Psalm 110:1 when explaining who He is.
    o Rev 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega”.
    o See “The Word Was – Part II” lesson from John 1
  • Why does it matter? (From Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology)
    o (1) It is taught in Scripture
    o (2) Only God could “bear the full penalty for all the sins” of believers – only God can save man
    o (3) Only God can “be the one mediator between God and man” – only God can reveal God
    o (4) If Christ is not God, there is no salvation

Next week we will finish this lesson and examine Jesus apologetic and how he demonstrates His equality with God.

John 5:1-15 – Do You Want to Be Healed?

This Diving Deeper outline is a basic overview of Jesus’ interaction with the lame man He chose to heal.

  • The lesson title comes from the peculiar question Jesus asks the lame man in John 5:6.
  • This interaction with the lame man is important in that it leads to Jesus’ articulating a defense of His actions to the Jews.

 

 

1)  A NEED FOR HEALING

 

John 5:1–5 (ESV) — 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

 

The “after this” in verse 1 could have been as long as 1.5 years after the healing of the Galilean official’s son – Kostenberger.

  • John’s Gospel, as we have said, is not primarily concerned with a chronological presentation of Jesus’ life.
  • John desires, among other things, to reveal and confirm the evidence for the Messianic claims and divinity of Jesus.
  • John 20:30–31 (ESV) — 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

Verse 3 is a remarkable verse.

  • We are told that a “multitude of invalidsblind, lame, and paralyzed” were at the pool all hoping to be healed.
  • But John goes on to tell us that Jesus signaled out one person and chose to heal him and him alone.
  • What about all the rest of those in need of physical healing?
  • And for that matter, if the healing was an inroads to a discussion on salvation (John 5:14), why not heal them all to ease all of their suffering and invite all to “Sin no more”?

 

John Piper says this:

The point is this: In the first coming of the Son of God into the world, we receive foretastes of his healing power. The full healing of all his people and all their diseases and disabilities awaits the second coming of Christ. And the aim of these foretastes which we receive now is to call us to faith and holiness” – John Piper.

  • Philip Yancey puts it like this, “He came to heal our ‘souls’ not our ‘selves’”.
  • In other words, at Jesus’ 1st coming healing is the exception, not the rule; Jesus has come to seek and save the lost (similar to the “Two Worlds” lesson about Jesus coming to save at 1st coming and judge at 2nd coming).

 

These answers seem to address only a general principle about Jesus’ current ministry focus – Healing vs. Saving.

  • But as to why Jesus would heal one and not the others, leave it to Paul to address the issue head on and provide an answer that provokes controversy to this day.
  • Romans 9:13–16 (ESV) — 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
  • And, of course, John addressed this notion in his “Born Again” text – 3:8 (ESV) — 8a The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.

 

Now what about this pool, did it actually heal?

 

It is doubtful, but with respect to the pool and its healing powers, D.A. Carson makes the following comment about the significance of this third use of “water” in John’s Gospel.

“Just as the water from the purification pots of the orthodox could neither produce nor be mistaken for the new wine of the kingdom (2:1–11), and just as the water from Jacob’s well could not satiate the ultimate thirst of religious people who may have looked to genuine revelation but whose views were widely viewed as aberrant (4:1–42), so the promises of merely superstitious religion have no power to transform the truly needy”.

  • Religion can “muddy the waters”.

 

Verse 4 is also a remarkable verse; it doesn’t exist in the ESV, NIV or NLT.

  • Where did it go?

 

BTW – And speaking of MSS, in verse 2, we are told that the name of the pool is “in Aramaic called Bethesda” (house of outpouring).

  • This is an excellent example of how the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm textual criticism and the manuscript evidence.
  • The MSS evidence lists as many as 4 different names for this pool with the earliest MSS citing “Bethesda”.
  • In 1960 this earliest reading was confirmed by the Copper Scroll from Qumran – D.A. Carson.

 

 

2)  A NEED FOR SAVING

 

John 5:5–9 (ESV) — 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.

 

In verse 6, some translations (NIV) say Jesus “learned” about the man’s condition instead of “knew”.

  • The meaning behind the Greek word used is that Jesus “became aware” via supernatural knowledge, according to D.A. Carson.

 

Piper agrees, and about this knowledge demonstrated here, John Piper says the following:

  • When you know Jesus, this is the kind of person you know.  A person who knows you perfectly—knows everything about you, inside and out, and all you have ever felt or thought or done” – John Piper.

 

The Bible provides additional evidence about God’s knowledge of us (omniscience).

  • Psalm 139:2–4 (ESV) — 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
  • Hebrews 4:13 (ESV) — 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

BTW – Jesus’ supernatural knowledge, as demonstrated in John’s Gospel, is also one of the many arguments John uses to demonstrate Jesus’ divinity.

  • Only God knows everything about everybody.
  • Jesus knows everything about everybody.
  • Therefore, Jesus is God.
  • And this logic was certainly at play with Nathanael and the Samaritan woman, both of whom ultimately responded with belief.
    • John 4:39 (ESV) — 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”
    • John 1:48–49 (ESV) — 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

 

But in our text today, the lame man had it even better.

  • The lame man had the privilege of experiencing directly the power of God.
  • Jesus’ supernatural knowledge of the man led Him to perform a supernatural physical healing of the man.
  • The man who had been an invalid for 38 years was instantly healed by Jesus saying simply, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk (John 5:8).”

 

Yet, notice something odd, before the healing, Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to be healed? (John 5:6)”

  • What is this all about?

 

There are at least two options available to us here (certainly there maybe more):

(1) The peculiar option available to us here, which takes into account the culture at the time of Jesus and its attitude toward those unable to care for themselves, is that Jesus is being literal.

  • Speaking about the blind man in Luke 18:35-43 that Jesus healed, Kenneth Bailey says:

The difficulty with this profession [begging] is that some visible handicap is necessary.  A man with one leg or one arm might manage to support himself by begging on a street corner, but a blind man is virtually guaranteed success.  At the same time, a blind man, such as the beggar in this story, has no education, training, employment record or marketable skills.  If healed, self-support will be extremely difficult.  Indeed, is it not in his interests to remain blind?  The grace of God is free but not cheap…” – Kenneth Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes.

  • Certainly, the lame man was in the same boat as the blind man.

 

(2) But I think the best way to get a grasp on the intent of Jesus’ question is to look back to his questioning of the Samaritan woman – Jesus is going deep again, to the spiritual.

  • John 4:10 (ESV) — 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
  • Just as physical thirst always returns, so too does the body always grow old.
  • If the man had just asked, Jesus could have told him of a body that never grows old.

 

The problem in today’s text, however, is that the lame man apparently had no desire to go deeper.

  • Jesus’ question was designed to reveal the fundamental need for healing that we all have – the healing from sin.
  • But the lame man’s response in verse 7, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me”, revealed he apparently had no desire to understand this (more on the man’s response later – it is important).
  • He just wanted someone to put him in the pool at the right time.
  • And, suffice it to say, “The first step towards wholeness is always a deep desire for it” – D.A. Carson.
  • The Samaritan woman expressed her desire by continuing the conversation and engaging Jesus.
  • The lame man did no such thing.

 

But before we get into the lame man’s response, I want to quickly dig into Jesus’ question in verse 14.

 

John 5:14 (ESV) — 14 “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you”

  • It appears that many believe that Jesus is telling the man that sin will cause him to be sick again.
  • But, according to the smart people, what can’t be concluded as axiomatic here is that sin leads to physical illness; at least not always.
  • “Jesus himself…rejected simple cause-and-effect explanations (cf. John 9:3; Luke 13:1–5). Nevertheless, though he did not attribute every instance of suffering to sin, Jesus acknowledged that sin may well lead to suffering” – A. Kostenberger.
  • But in our text today, “The “something worse” that Jesus threatened probably refers not to a worse physical condition at all but rather to eternal judgment for sin” – A. Kostenberger.

 

Now, let’s get back to the lame man’s response.

 

The lame man’s response:

John 5:10–15 (ESV) — 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.

 

(1) After being accused of “working” on the Sabbath, the man deflects blame from himself and puts it on Jesus.

  • John 5:11 (ESV) — 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ”
  • One would think that praise and adulation would be in order not offering up your healer as a scapegoat.
    • Of course, Jesus would become our scapegoat in the way it mattered most!

 

(2) One would think that after being healed; one would want to know who it was that did the healing.

  • But, apparently, the lame man didn’t even ask Jesus who he was.
  • John 5:13 – “…the man who had been healed did not know who it was”.
    • D.A. Carson describes him as being, “so dull he has not even discovered his benefactor’s name”.
    • BTW – The rest of the verse 13 is describing a scene in which the lame man couldn’t point out Jesus to the authorities because of the crowd.

 

(3) When Jesus’ tracks down the healed man and seeks to continue the “conversation” by bringing up the man’s need for spiritual healing (as he did with the Samaritan woman), the healed man blows Him off.

  • He apparently does not want to continue the conversation himself.
  • But, like the Samaritan woman, he does go and tell others about Jesus.
  • John 5:15 (ESV) — 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.
  • But, what was the difference between his “telling” and the Samaritan woman’s “telling”?
    • The man seeks to ingratiate himself to the authorities who were questioning him instead of telling them more about the marvels of Jesus – D.A. Carson.

 

Lessons for Us:

Do we ever respond to Jesus this way?

  • Do we discount the work of Jesus in our lives?
  • And even worse, do we bail on Jesus in front of others that we might not look foolish or to ingratiate ourselves to them?

 

“In the entire pericope there is no expression of gratitude or appreciation toward Jesus from the healed man” – A. Kostenberger.

  • Do you show gratitude to Jesus?
  • How?

 

John 4:43-54 – Saving Faith and Spurious Faith

John 4:43–54 (ESV) — 43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. 46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

This Diving Deeper lesson outline seeks to gain some understanding of the different kinds of belief we have encountered thus far in the Gospel of John.
  • Specifically, we have encountered those who believe in Christ’s works for personal benefit.
  • And then we have encountered those who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior.
  • The first is a Spurious Faith and the Second is a Saving Faith.
  • We begin, however, with one of John’s “hard sayings” followed by Jesus’ healing of the son.

1) TRAVELING

John 4:43–44 (ESV) — 43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)

Jesus spent only two days in Samaria and then resumed His journey back to Galilee.
  • John then provides us with a very peculiar commentary in verse 44 (one of John’s “hard sayings”).
  • This is a “hard saying” because it presents us with at least (2) difficulties.

(1) He tells us that Jesus is going to Galilee because “he has no honor” there.
  • Yet he then tells us that “the Galileans welcomed him”.
  • So what is it rejection or welcoming?

(2) And even more peculiar is that the testimony of Jesus that John is referring to (Matt 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24) was actually the reason Jesus gives for leaving Nazareth in Galilee not arriving.
  • John alludes to Jesus’ testimony, and then has Jesus acting the exact opposite of the testimony being alluded to.
  • Why would Jesus leave for reason “A”, and then be shown to return for the very same reason?

It is important to reconcile these difficulties because how one does so affects how we understand the rest of our text today.
  • Scholars appear to be in agreement that what is needed in order to properly resolve these apparent difficulties is a correct understanding of the “where” John is referring to when he speaks of Jesus’ “hometown”.

D.A. Carson tells us that there are about 10 directions one can take here.
  • Some of the more prevalent are that John is talking about Jerusalem, Judea, or heaven.
  • And the most obvious option, my first guest, is Nazareth.
    o We know Jesus was forcefully rejected in Nazareth.
    o And as mentioned, we know that Jesus word’s alluded to by John refer to His rejection in Nazareth.

But, these views don’t help us understand the difficulties nor do they appreciate the broader context of chapter 4; specifically the Samarian interlude.
  • D.A. Carson, Andreas Kostenberger and John MacArthur all seem to agree about the “where” and Nazareth, Jerusalem, Judea and heaven are not really it at all.
  • BTW – this text presents us with an excellent example of the need for good commentaries.
 
So what is going on here and why is it so important to the rest of our text?
  • And how does it help us resolve the difficulties?

As stated earlier, the heart of the meaning rests with to what location John is referring to when he uses the Greek word “patris”.
  • In our text it is most often translated as “hometown”.
  • However, it can also mean “fatherland” or “homeland”.

The answer also hinges on John’s use of the Greek word “oun”.
  • In our text it is most often translated as “so”.
  • Grammatically, however, “oun” logically connects what is before it with what comes after it.
  • Therefore it is best understood as “therefore”.
  • In fact, Carson says that the 10 unlikely solutions “falter on the “oun” which in the Greek text begins v. 45”.

Given all this (and other considerations) we are left with the following possibility:
  • John intends to contrast the response of the Jews both in Galilee where he is returning and in Judea from whence He came with that of the Samaritans (a “Samaritan Sandwich” if you will – Jew-Samaritan-Jew).
  • In this is the case, “patris” here is referring to “fatherland” not “hometown”.
  • D.A. Carson puts it like this:
    o “A more plausible interpretation identifies patris with Galilee—indeed, not just with Galilee, but with Galilee as it represents Jewish soil over against Samaritan soil. Jesus’ ‘own country’, then, is Galilee and Judea, Jewish turf, as opposed to Samaria, from which he has just come. This obviously suits the immediate context…In Samaria Jesus has just enjoyed his first unqualified, unopposed, and open-hearted success. Now he returns to his own people (cf 1:11), and, consistent with the pattern developed so far, the response is at best ambiguous”.
    o John 1:11 (ESV) — 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

How does this take on verse 44 impact the meaning of the rest of our text and answer the difficulties?
  • Moving forward, we will soon find out.

John 4:45–46a (ESV) — 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. 46a So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine.
  • John refers back to Jerusalem about which he wrote in chapter 2, so we must also.
  • In chapter 2 we have Jesus’ first sign (water into wine); we have Jesus clearing out the temple; and then in John 2:23-25 we get a great deal of info to help us out.

John 2:23–25 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
  • (1) We learn that the “feast” (John 4:45) that brought everyone to Jerusalem was Passover.
  • (2) We learn that the “seen all that he had done” (John 4:45) is referring to the signs performed by Jesus.
    o John 20:30 (ESV) — 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
  • (3) We learn that there is a belief in Jesus that is not a saving belief.
    o Presumably, this belief, one based only on Jesus’ Works which has as its object Jesus the Healer not Jesus the Messiah, is the belief held by the Galileans and explains why they welcomed him.

So here is how the difficulties are answered and how verse 44 impacts the meaning of the rest of our text:
(1) The first difficulty is resolved because:
  • It turns out that verse 45 is not a positive commentary; John is being “deeply ironic” – D.A. Carson.
  • We saw last week in John 4:42 that many Samaritans came to have a right belief in Christ as Messiah based on His Words.
    o John 4:26 (ESV) — 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
    o John 4:42 (ESV) — 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
    o John 4:41 (ESV) — 41 And many more believed because of his word.
  • In contrast, our text today shows that the Galileans “welcome” Christ as Healer based on His Works.
  • This means that they merely “welcome” Jesus as the “signs” guy not as “the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
  • And given our lesson on the “Two Whoevers”, one either trusts Jesus as Messiah or rejects Him.
    o So in this sense, their welcome is in fact a rejection!
  • Therefore, they are those to whom Jesus has not entrusted Himself (John 2:24).
  • Kostenberger puts it like this, “‘Receiving’ Jesus is not necessarily the same as accepting him, in keeping with the Johannine pattern of initial “faith” that is subsequently exposed as inadequate”.
    o Psalm 78:32 (ESV) — 32 In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe.
    o Numbers 14:11 (ESV) — 11 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?
    o John 12:37–38 (ESV) — 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

(2) The second difficulty is resolved because:
  • “Jesus went to Galilee because the Galileans needed the gospel” – Boice.
    o In spite of their spurious belief which Jesus and John are condemning (John 4:48), they are still in need of the Gospel.
    o Remember, in spite of man’s heart, God “so loved the world” (John 2:24 & John 3:16)!
  • Moreover, Jesus’ leaving Galilee in the Synoptics because of the peoples’ unbelief was not an outright rejection.
    o Remember, he had not come to explicitly judge yet – the “Two Worlds” lesson (John 3:17).
  • Additionally, Jesus was being obedient to Scripture and he desired to do so.
    o Matthew 4:13–16 (ESV) — 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
    o Luke 13:34 (ESV) — 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
  • Finally, there were some Galileans that would come to a saving belief as demonstrated by Nathanael (John 1:43-51) and in our text today (John 4:53) – Words plus Works, Healer and Messiah.

And as we move on in our text, we see all of this play out with an official from Capernaum.

2) HEALING

John 4:46a–51 (ESV) — 46a And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering.

It was two days journey from Samaria to Cana and Capernaum was 14 more miles than that, so evidently news spread fast that the wonder worker was in Galilee.
  • And the fact that the official traveled those 14 miles up hill (700’ elevation change) on his sick sons behalf, demonstrates how well known Jesus’ abilities were.

But, after the official asked Jesus to “come down and heal his son” (John 4:47), Jesus makes a seemingly curt statement that can now be completely understood give our lesson thus far.

Jesus tells the official, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” (John 4:48).
  • The “you” here refers to not just the official, but to the Galileans at large.
  • In other words, at this point the official was your typical Galilean who would gladly accept Jesus Works of healing but not his Words of Messianic claim.
  • He “welcomed” (John 4:45) his supernatural power, but did not “entrust himself” (John 2:24) to Jesus as Messiah.

But there is a subtle difference with the official.
  • Though Jesus identified him with the rest of the Galileans, we do get a sense of a seeking heart.
  • Even after Jesus exposed the nature of the official’s belief in Him as spurious in verse 48, the official was undeterred and asked Jesus again, “Sir, come down before my child dies” (John 4:49).
  • Jesus then made this surprising statement, “Go; your son will live” (John 4:50).
  • And the official’s response reveals there is something a little different about his heart.
  • John tells us that he “believed the word that Jesus spoke to him” (John 4:50).
  • Clearly the official’s words express a faith that is subtly different at this point than it was moments before.
    o Without seeing his son healed, he believed Jesus healed him.

Kostenberger puts it like this, “His urgent prayer for help (including come down: cf. notes on v. 47) wins the Master’s healing powers. The man accepts Jesus’ word and departs, thus demonstrating that he, unlike most Galileans, is not simply interested in signs and wonders (v. 48).
  • In other words, he “welcomed” (John 4:45) Jesus because of the power of His Works, but left Jesus believing in the power of His Word to perform His Works from a distance.
  • And in John 4:51, the official’s “subtly different” faith and Jesus’ power were both vindicated, “his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering”.

But was his “subtly different” faith a saving faith?
  • It seems it was about to be.
  • BTW – it seems to me that there is a subtle parallel with the official’s subtle faith at this point and the faith of Nathanael (John 1:49-50).
  • They came to have saving faith from a spurious faith.
    o Spurious – not valid or well-founded.
    o In the case of these parallels, spurious faith is a belief in Christ based on the Works of His supernatural power not on the truth of His Words as Messiah.

What is a Spurious Faith?
What does Jesus and John’s Gospel say about this Spurious Faith?
  • “In John’s Gospel, too much interest in the raw miracles themselves is spiritually dangerous (2:23–25; 6:26). Miracles cannot compel genuine faith (e.g. 11:45–46). But the apologetic value of miracles, though often exaggerated, should not be despised: Jesus himself can encourage faith on that basis, especially amongst those too skeptical to trust his word (10:38; 14:11)” – D.A. Carson.

(1) Spiritually Dangerous:
  • John 2:23–25 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
  • John 6:28–30 (ESV) — 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?
  • John 10:25–26 (ESV) — 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.
  • John 7:27 (ESV) — 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” – AND – John 7:31 (ESV) — 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
    o A Spurious Faith can give false assurance that one has a Saving Faith (John 2:23-25).
    o A Spurious Faith can reject the Words of Christ while accepting His Works (John 6:28-30).
    o A Spurious Faith is man-centered not Christ-centered (John 10:25-26).
    o And as such, a Spurious Faith is vulnerable to “opposing evidence” (John 7:27 & 31).

(2) Cannot Compel Genuine Faith:
  • John 3:1–2 & 12(ESV) — 1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” – BUT – 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
  • John 6:36 (ESV) — 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
  • John 11:45–46 (ESV) — 45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
  • John 12:37 (ESV) — 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,
    o It can compel interest, a following and even religiosity, but not a saving faith.

(3) Can Encourage Faith for Skeptics of His Word:
  • John 1:49–50 (ESV) —49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
  • John 10:37–38 (ESV) — 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
  • John 14:11 (ESV) — 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

3) SPURIOUS FAITH VS. SAVING FAITH

John 4:52–54 (ESV) — 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

We just saw that the official believed in the power of Jesus’ Words to perform long distance Works.
  • And on learning that his son’s healing did in fact occur, the official had an interesting response.
  • And I must confess at this point that I identify completely with the officials road to conversion.

On learning that his son was indeed healed, we are given no indication that he rejoices or worships Jesus.
  • Instead, what does the official do?
    o He seeks confirmation that Jesus was the source of the healing; that his belief in Jesus is an intellectually tenable one.
      * Contrast with Peter’s response in Luke 5:8-9.
    o The official appeals to a man centered authority – reasoning as adjudicated by one’s own criteria as opposed to Christ’s criteria.
    o Importantly, the official’s course of action is symptomatic of a Spurious Faith.
    o We will explore all of this more later.
  • And how does his investigation reveal that Jesus was the source of the healing?
    o It matches up the time of his son’s healing with the exact time Jesus told him “Go; your son will live” (John 4:50).

But to the official’s credit, what is yet another indication that his faith is subtly different from other Galileans?
  • The official still hasn’t seen his son with his own eyes yet.
  • His belief that Jesus did in fact heal his son is based on the words of his servants confirming the Words of Jesus.

And in finding confirmation of the truth of Jesus’ Words, the man and his household did what?
  • They “believed” (John 4:53).
  • The official moved from a Spurious Faith to a saving faith.

We must keep in mind a crucial fact when understanding the official’s movement from a Spurious Faith to a saving faith.
  • In John 3:3 we learned that one must be what to have saving faith?
    o Born Again.
    o So like any form of unbelief, a Spurious Faith can only lead to a saving faith if we are born again by the Spirit of God.
    o This means that no amount of well-reasoned evidence and confirmation can bring one to a saving faith!
      * Not easy to swallow for one who has come from a Spurious Faith to a saving faith.

So, one who comes to a saving faith from a Spurious Faith is like any other saved person.
  • A born again person who believes in Jesus the Messiah and His work on the cross.
  • But coming from a Spurious Faith to a saving faith is peculiar.

In fact, Jesus Himself acknowledges the existence of this Spurious Saving Faith when speaking to Thomas.
  • John 20:29 (ESV) — 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
  • And reference the “For the Skeptics of His Word” section above for more.

But why is it peculiar?
  • It carries with it baggage from the past.
  • The dangers inherent to it (as discussed earlier) continue to manifest themselves and “haunt” the saving faith.

The Baggage of a Spurious Saving Faith (speaking from experience):
(1) A Spurious Faith is at odds with a saving faith and it creates tension for a believer as long as it lingers.
  • A Spurious Saving Faith seeks too often to appeal to a man centered authority – reasoning as adjudicated by one’s own criteria as opposed to Christ’s criteria, as mentioned earlier.
  • The official believed Jesus healed his son because he found the position intellectually tenable.
(2) A Spurious Saving Faith hinders worship.
  • The official sought to confirm, but Peter fell to his knees in worship when confronted with Christ’s power.
  • And though it may be that the official eventually worshiped Jesus in this instance, as I can attest about my response to God, it was probably measured.
(3) A Spurious Saving Faith remains Spiritually Dangerous for the believer who has come out of it.
  • It can reject the Words of Christ while accepting His Works (John 6:28-30).
  • It is man-centered not Christ-centered (John 10:25-26).
  • And as such, it is vulnerable to “opposing evidence” (John 7:27 & 31).

To illuminate the baggage even more, we need to look at what a Saving Faith w/o any Spurious Faith Baggage is?
  • (1) It is a faith that accepts, irrespective of any man-centered reason, the Words of Jesus.
    o “In John believing Jesus or his words is believing in him, for proclaimer and proclaimed are the same, as the proclaimed himself meets and speaks with us. [Why? Because…] The act of God is word, and Jesus is this word-act (Jn. 1:1)” – TDNT.
  • (2) It is a faith whose reasoning is foolishness to the world; to a man-centered reason.
    o 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 (ESV) — 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
  • (3) It is a faith in which Jesus is the source of wisdom and knowledge!
    o Colossians 2:1–4 (ESV) — 1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
    o So reason, wisdom and knowledge are rooted in Christ!
    o Therefore, the fact that we can reason at all demonstrates the truth of Christ.
    o In other words, without Him we couldn’t.

The foundation for the basing one’s reasoning and knowledge, not in the Works (signs and wonders) of Christ, or man, but in the Word of God can be found in Jesus own words.

Jesus (and John) provide this reason for us.
  • John 3:34 (ESV) — 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.
  • John 12:49 (ESV) — 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
  • John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
  • John 17:8 (ESV) — 8 For I [Jesus] have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
    o Biblically speaking, this should be enough!

And it is for these reasons that Jesus says the following about His Words:
  • John 5:24 (ESV) — 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word [NOT WORKS] and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
  • John 5:47 (ESV) — 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
  • John 8:31 (ESV) — 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word [NOT WORKS], you are truly my disciples,

Lesson For Us:
  • (1) One coming from a Spurious Faith finds it difficult to abandon oneself to Living Inside Out as discussed a few weeks ago – a flow of Heart-Mind-Action.
    o There is still the thought, contrary to Paul’s words, that this type of living is “stupid” or “foolish”.
  • (2) “Jesus had said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe.” This statement was a true description of the thinking of vast numbers of men and women. The world even has it in a proverb, which says, “Seeing is believing.” The teaching of Jesus was that in spiritual things the order is reversed and that believing is seeing, for it is only as one believes in Jesus that he sees spiritual things happening” – James Boice.
    o And speaking from experience, this tension of trying to reconcile “seeing is believing” with “believing is seeing” can rob some of the joy out of one’s walk when out of balance.

John 4:16-26 – Quenched with Living Water – Part II

John 4:16–26 (ESV) — 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Review of Part I:
We found two parched conditions in need of quenching in our text last week.
  • Parched Relationships – Jew/Samaritan and man/woman
  • Parch Understanding – lack of understanding of the Gospel and all it implications (spiritual things)

And in our text today we encounter two more parched conditions in need of quenching.

1) A PARCHED SOUL

John 4:16–18 (ESV) — 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

From last week, we should remember that the woman asked for the water Jesus offered.
  • And her reason was that, “who wouldn’t want water that would permanently quench one’s thirst”.
  • She clearly failed to understand what Jesus was talking about – she was in the kiddy pool and Jesus was in the Deep End.

In our text today, Jesus makes a sudden transition back to the “real” world from the “figurative” Deep End.
  • He once again tries to bring her where He is.
  • “Jesus is a surgically penetrating prophet who lays bare our souls and knows us to the bottom of our being and pursues us anyway” – John Piper.
  • After all, as we have previously learned, God, in His prescriptive will, desires that all should repent.
  • And He does so by bringing up the very subject we so often shy away from – her sin and depravity.
    o And remember from the end of John 2, that it is for this reason that Jesus does not “entrust” Himself to us.

What sin of hers was Jesus referring to?
  • Many scholars believe that Jesus was using wordplay here on her use of the word “husband/man”.
    o “If so, Jesus may be telling the woman that she has had five “men” (with whom she lived in fornication) and that the one she is now living with is not her “man,” that is, husband (though he may be that of another woman: note the emphatic position of “your” in the Greek)” – A. Kostenberger.
    o Therefore her sin was that she was “a serial fornicator” and adulterer – A. Kostenberger.

And in exposing this sin, Jesus also reveals two important things:
  (1) He has the supernatural power to discern the exact nature of her sin.
  (2) And as importantly, Jesus was attempting to show her that, “she has also misunderstood the true dimensions of her own need” – D.A. Carson.
    o His concern here was not her physical thirst.
    o Jesus wants her to know that her soul is parched from sin and in need of living water.

2) A PARCHED WORSHIP

John 4:19–24 (ESV) — 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

In verse 19, the Samaritan woman quickly changed the subject.
  • She obviously recognized Jesus’ credentials as some sort of prophet.
  • However, scholars caution that we should not read too much into this recognition.
    o “The word ‘prophet’ was used to refer to a wide range of ‘gifted’ people, and at this point may not, in the woman’s mind, denote a full-orbed Old Testament prophet, let alone a messianic figure” – D. A. Carson.

And on the heels of this recognition, she curiously raises an, “outstanding point of theological contention between Jews and Samaritans” – D.A. Carson.
  • Where is the proper place of worship?

It is unclear why she changed the subject abruptly, but it seems to have been a combination of 3 things:
  • Avoiding any further discussion of her fornication
  • Demonstrating her religiosity
  • Seeking an answer to these “competing religious claims” from this prophet


POI – this is similar to the exchange between Jesus and the rich young ruler.

Whatever the motivation behind her statement, Jesus uses her statement as another springboard to jump back into the deep end of the “living water”.

Before we can grasp what he told her, we need to understand some background.
  • Both the Samaritans and the Jews understood the call of God to an ordained place of worship.

Deuteronomy 12:5 (ESV) — 5 But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go,
  • Both the Jews and Samaritans believed they found that place.
    o For the Jew it was Jerusalem
    o For the Samaritan is was Mount Gerizim

Why the difference in locations?
  • As we learned last week the Samaritans’ saw only the Pentateuch as Scripture.
  • And because, “the Pentateuch…does not specifically identify Jerusalem as the proper place of worship—though other portions of Scripture do (see 2 Chron. 6:6; 7:12; Ps. 78:68–69)” the Samaritans had to find the place of worship in the Scripture they had – Andreas Kostenberger.
  • This led the Samaritans to “establish their own sanctuary on Mount Gerizim” – A. Kostenberger.

So, using her change of subject as an opportunity, Jesus seeks to reveal to her that the “outstanding point of theological contention between Jews and Samaritans” will soon become a moot point.
  • Jesus takes her “where” and makes it about the “who” (the Father) and “how” (spirit and truth).
  • Jesus takes her “geography” and makes about the “spiritual”.

We have already seen in Jesus treatment of the temple in John 2:13-22 that the Jews’ worship was parched.
  • And now Jesus reveals (3) ways that the Samaritans’ worship is parched and in need of living water.

(1) Ignorant Worship – “Samaritan worship at Mount Gerizim was based on ignorance regarding Israel’s role in God’s plan of salvation” – A. Kostenberger.
  • Because, “salvation is from the Jews” (v.22).
  • The entire Bible speaks to and points to this fact.
  • But, they ignored the rest of the inspired word of God as revealed in the O.T. outside of the Pentatuech.
    o We will see more examples of this ignorance as we go.

(2) False Worship – this worship is not true worship.
  • “You worship what you do not know” (v.22).
  • “No matter how ceremonially elaborate, emotionally rousing, or sermonically eloquent, worship that is not offered from a proper understanding of who God is falls short” – Kostenberger.

(3) Backwards Worship – Jesus says to her that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth”.
  • In other words, “Since God is spirit, proper worship of him is also a matter of spirit rather than physical location (Jerusalem versus Mount Gerizim)” – Kostenberger.
  • True worship will soon be completely extricated from geography!

Notice, how even proper worship is done from “The Inside Out” – “spirit and truth” not time and place.
  • John 3:6 (ESV) — 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  • If true worship is done “in spirit” and “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”, the flow of true worship (like belief, confession, repentance, etc.) is heart to mind to action (Inside Out) just like we discussed in John 3.
  • In other words, true worship is only possible by the born again!
  • What does this mean for other religions and world views?

POI – With regards to Jerusalem, “That’s amazing for a Jew to say. The day is coming, he says, when Jerusalem, the holy city, the city of David, the place with the temple of God, will not be the focus of true worship” – John Piper.

So we now have identified four desperately thirsty things in need of quenching.
  • Parched Relationships
  • Parched Understanding
  • Parched Soul
  • Parched Worship

And it is only the living water that can quench them.
  • So what is the living water?

3) LIVING WATER – THE ULTIMATE THIRST QUENCHER

John 4:25–26 (ESV) — 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Jesus identified Himself to her as the Messiah and He had already spoken of these things.
  • John 4:10 (ESV) — 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
  • And Jesus identified Himself not only as Messiah, but, unlike the water from Jacob’s well, as both the source and giver of living water!
    o John 4:14a (ESV) — 14a “…water that I will give him”.


So, did she finally drink Jesus’ living water? (we will see in a later lesson.)

But what is living water?
  • The OT, like it does with the new birth, teaches us something about “living water”.
  • And in the OT it is both a literal and figurative provision.

God literally made provision for a physical need:
  • Numbers 20:8–11 (ESV) — 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the staff from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.

And God made provision of a figurative water to meet a spiritual need:
  • Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV) — 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
  • Isaiah 12:3 (ESV) — 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
    o BTW – these verses speak to the ignorance of the Samaritan woman because they did not recognize them as Scripture and so were not exposed to their truth in a meaningful way.

And of course, as a Samaritan, her rejection of most of the OT as Scripture deprived her of an expectation of God’s figurative provision of living water from Jerusalem:
  • Zechariah 14:8 (ESV) — 8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.
  • BTW – Yet another example of how her ignorance of God’s word inhibited her understanding.
    o What are we failing to grasp and benefit from because of our ignorance of or rejection of God’s word?

But the final answer on what the living water is resides in Jesus’ own words.

In and through Jesus, God makes the final provision of this living water – the Holy Spirit:
  • John 7:37–39 (ESV) — 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
  • What is the ultimate fruit produced by this living water?
    o Eternal Life – John 4:14b (ESV) — 14b “…will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Questions for us about Living Water’s relationship to John 3:
Jesus tells us in 7:39 that those who believe receive living water.
Who are those that believe in Him – John 3?
So if living water is the Holy Spirit, what is the relationship between the new birth and living water?

So, how exactly does living water quench the parched conditions we identified?

As we learned in John 3 about belief, etc., and based on Jesus words in 7:38, what is the direction of the flow of living water?
  • The broad answer is that being born again by the upwelling of living water and thereby “Living Inside Out” – heart to mind to action – is how these parched conditions are quenched.

Lessons for Us:
Can the Christian inhibit the quenching provided by the living water?