Because He Raises the Spiritually and Physically Dead

Dr. Rob Green March 21, 2021 John 5:25-47
Outline

John 1:11-13 - He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

2 truths about Jesus raising the dead

I. Jesus Raises Both the Spiritually and Physically Dead (vv. 25-29)

A. Spiritual resurrection belongs to those who agree with Jesus (vv. 25-26)

John 5:25 - Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself…

1. We all are spiritually dead

2. Jesus has the power to raise us to new life

Ephesians 2:4-6 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:13-14 - When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

B. Physical resurrection happens for everyone (vv. 27-30)

John 5:27 - …and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

Daniel 7:13-14 - I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.

John 5:28-29 - Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

1. Some enjoy the blessings of resurrected life

2. Others experience the torment of judgment

3. Jesus’ judgment will agree with the Father’s

John 5:30 - I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

II. Four Witness Testimonies that Confirm Jesus’ Words (vv. 31-47)

John 5:31-32 - If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.

A. John the Baptist (vv. 33-35)

John 5:33 - You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

B. Jesus’ works (v. 36)

John 5:36 - But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

C. The Father (vv. 37-38)

John 5:37-38 - And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

D. The Scriptures (vv. 39-47)

Galatians 3:24 - Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

I commonly quote Ecclesiastes 7:2 when I speak at a funeral. The text says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart.”

On the one hand, this verse seems crazy.

  • I have been to many feasts like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Intro to Faith (which are now going to revolve around brick oven pizza), and Wedding dinners.
  • I have also been to many funerals.
  • I enjoy the celebrations more than I enjoy the funerals.
  • Who in their right mind would want to go to a funeral when a party is available?

On the other hand, Ecclesiastes 7:2 is functioning on a different level. The Bible presupposes a truth that this life is not all there is. Parties tend to be about the moment. Funerals make us think about the reality of our future.

  • Frances Chan once brought a 100 foot rope into the auditorium and he put a small piece of tape on one end and explained that the tape represented our lives on earth and the remaining 99 feet 11 inches of rope represented eternity.
  • He explained that our earthly lives are a very small portion of our total lives.

Thus, every moment spent thinking about and preparing for eternity is a moment well spent.

With that in mind please turn in your Bibles to John 5:25. We are continuing our series in the Gospel of John entitled Enjoying Life in His Name. The series title comes from the purpose statement in John 20:30-31.

John 20:30-31 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Let’s quickly review the context:

John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

  • Jesus came to offer life. That is why he turns water into wine, cleanses the temple, tells Nicodemus that he needs to be born again, tells the woman at the well about living water, heals the nobleman’s son, and picks out one man from a crowd of sick people.
  • However, as he proves who he is, opposition arises.
  • Being a miracle worker is great. Healing people on the Sabbath is not.
  • Doing miracles showing that God is with you is great. Telling people you are equal with God is not.

In fact, John 5 shows us that some not only reject him – they want to kill him.

Pastor Dustin explained last week that Jesus and the Father are equal. If you look at vv. 19-23 carefully you will see 4 uses of the word “for”. Each one gives one reason that Jesus and the Father are equal.

  • Verse 19 – because the Son does the same thing the Father does
  • Verse 20 – because the Father loves the Son
  • Verse 21 – because both the Father and the Son have authority to give life
  • Verse 22 – because the Son has authority to judge

It is these last two reasons – giving life and judging that become the subject of our text. Read John 5:25-47 – This is the Word of the Lord. Our title this morning is Enjoying Life in His name because Jesus raises the spiritually and physically dead.

Let’s consider two truths about Jesus raising the dead. For all who are thinking, wait a minute … Easter is still a couple weeks away. Just relax. Our passage touches the theme of resurrection, but it does not address celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. There is plenty of resurrection material for Easter Sunday :-). In John 5 Jesus explains in greater detail the authority he has to raise everyone.

I. Jesus raises both the spiritually and physically dead (vv. 25-29)

As we will see in a moment this is an incredibly exciting and very scary idea.

Spiritual Resurrection belongs to those who agree with Jesus (vv. 25-26)

John 5:25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

In this portion of the text something is happening to someone right now (now is). This statement would be confusing had we not already read John 1-5.

  • Nicodemus came at night – probably talking about both the time of day and the condition of his heart.
  • The woman at the well needed “living water.” The Nobleman’s son needed “life.”
  • Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the Nobleman’s family were all spiritually dead. In fact, …
  1. We all are spiritually dead

Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” It does not say that you were sick or on life support. It says that you were dead.

  • When describing salvation 1 John 3:14 says that you have “passed from death to life.” In Col 2:13 we are told that we were dead in our transgressions.

“Dead” is the condition of everyone without Christ. In the Bible, the word death can describe the separation of the body from the soul (physical death), it can describe a person separated from God forever (second death), and it can describe a person who is separated from God right now (spiritual death).

Jesus explains the troubling condition that all those without a personal relationship with him are spiritually dead.

That does not sound very nice, but it is the truth.

  • When hearing this why aren’t the religious leaders falling down in repentance? Why are those who want Jesus to heal unwilling to listen to his message?
  • Why are people today still rejecting?

Because they are stubborn and dead of heart. That is why they need to hear that …

  1. Jesus has the power to raise us to new life

I need to say something about this little phrase, “all those who hear.” There is a difference between hearing something and agreeing with something. The Bible calls us not simply to understand what it is saying, but to agree that it is right.

The ones who hear are not those who say, “The Bible teaches that I am dead in my sin and I need Jesus to experience spiritual life.”

  • It is the person who says, “I am dead in my sin and I desperately need Jesus to forgive me in order to have spiritual life.”
  • There is a difference. One admits that the Bible teaches something and the other says I believe it.

For those who believe the Bible says they “will live.” They will live. Of course they will … Eph 2:1 says we were dead in our trespasses and sin but vv. 4-6 say,

Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Col 2:13 said we were dead, but continued …

Colossians 2:13-14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

How is this possible? That is the awesomeness of Jesus. He has life in himself! That means he has the authority and power to grant life to whoever believes.

Thank you, Jesus, for the possibility of spiritual life.

If you are here this morning or watching, then I want to encourage you to please repent of your sin and trust in the finished work of Jesus so you can receive spiritual life.

  • You know in your heart that this life is not all there is. Ecclesiastes might not be a passage you knew, but it teaches a truth you know in your heart.
  • We offer this virtually every week, but we would be happy to talk with anyone who has questions about their spiritual need.

Christian friend, I want to ask you to consider one personal goal. On Easter Sunday we believe we are at a place that we can safely move off many of the restrictions. Healthcare workers, teachers, those with illnesses, and people over 45 have access to the vaccine. People are travelling all over. Unless something crazy happens, COVID will not be an excuse for much.

  • That means inviting people to church is not insensitive or uncaring. I would like to see all three services full … not like they were before COVID.
  • Like they were when all 2,000 people who attended Faith were right here at East because that is all we had.
  • Let’s come out of the pandemic even more excited to share Christ, invite people to church and ABF than ever before.

What we see next is a good reason why they need to hear and respond to the message of Jesus.

Physical Resurrection happens for everyone (vv. 27-30)

John 5:27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

We saw this earlier in Jesus’ claim to deity. How do we know that he is equal to the Father? Because he has authority to judge. Remember when I spoke last, we covered John 3:17 which demonstrated that Jesus did not come to judge (=give sentencing). So how does that square with John 5:27?

  • Jesus’ first coming was to bring salvation not final sentencing, but that does not mean that Jesus will not, in the future, deliver final sentencing.
  • John 5:27 points us to the future … this should not come as a surprise

The worship team recently taught us the song called Ancient of Days. That title for God comes from Daniel 7:13-14.

Daniel 7:13-14 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

The Son of Man = Jesus receives the kingdom will all the authority to exercise dominion. After Jesus explains the possibility of new life, he warns his listeners that everyone will rise.

John 5:28-29 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Parties do not remind us that judgment is coming (it does not say and now is like in v. 25). Parties convince us that life is good, easy, and enjoyable. They tell us there is nothing to worry about.

What Jesus says everyone being raised is not a surprise. There will come a day when everyone will be raised from the dead – regardless of what they believed or how they lived. When that day comes Jesus judges (=renders the final sentence).

  1. Some enjoy the blessings of resurrected life

What a person believes in their heart comes out in their words and their behavior. Their deeds will show their belief system.

Some produced spiritual fruit because they already experienced the spiritual birth that they needed. Nicodemus was there to take his savior off the cross, the woman at the well testified that Jesus was the Messiah, many Samaritans, and the Nobleman’s family trusts Christ (4:53).

  1. Others experience the torment of judgment

Here is a good reason why it is so important to invite others to church and share the gospel with them – those who reject Christ now will be raised to eternal judgment. Jesus does not choose to elaborate on the type of judgment, but the Bible explains it.

  • 2 Thessalonians describes it as “retribution” and “eternal destruction.” Revelation describes it as a “lake of fire.”

Sometimes it is difficult, as a Christian, to see people through this lens. I encourage you to try. When you are at your workplace, the store, driving around town, you think about people through the question “what will judgment day be like for them?”

  • When they experience sentencing, what will they endure.

Pastor Viars has said at times that he wants Lafayette Indiana to be a hard place to get to hell from. That is a good application of this passage.

  • What if every teen and adult in services today (1500 or so?) were to think about people through the lens of judgment day?

How might that encourage us to invite and share. I am using invite because I realize some of you might be nervous about a direct conversation about Jesus.

  • If so, invite them because they will get one here and with one of us.

If you are not a follower of Jesus right now, then I urge you to repent and place your faith in Christ so that you might experience spiritual life now and resurrection life in the future.

In our story last week, the man who was healed did not appear to be very impressed with Jesus.

  • When Jesus met him in the temple (5:14) the man did not respond by wanting to follow him, but rather by ratting him out to the Jews.
  • It may be that John wants us to see him as an example of one who will be raised for judgement.

We also see …

  1. Jesus’ judgment will agree with the Father’s

John 5:30 “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me

Although Jesus has full authority to execute judgment, he is not a loose cannon. His judgments are right and just because they always agree with the Father.

  • The reason is simple: Jesus always follows the will of his Father.

For believers this is one more evidence that Jesus and God the Father do the same works (v. 19). For the unbeliever, you cannot be crossways with Jesus and think you are okay with God the father.

  • That is the what the religious leaders believed. They can reject Jesus and still be right with God. They were wrong.
  • In fact, as we work our way through this passage, we will see just how wrong they really were.

The bulk of the text focuses now on …

II. Four Witness Testimonies that Confirm Jesus’ Words (vv. 31-47)

This section of Scripture is very important with some very important background. Let’s imagine for a moment that the year is AD 30. We know that we were once free for political oppression, but our grandparents still talk about what happened when the Romans conquered the nation.

  • We want to please God. We keep the sabbath, go to the synagogue, and read the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible).

A man appears claiming to be equal with God because (1) he does what the father does (v. 19); (2) God loves him (v. 20); (3) He can grant spiritual life (v. 21); and (22) he judges everyone in the end.

That sounds nuts. In 1993 a man by the name of Vernon Howell changed his name to David Koresh and claimed to be the Messiah. He led a small group of followers to die in Waco, Texas in an intentional suicide and fire.

Even Jesus predicted that other people claiming to be Messiah would come.

If Jesus claims that he is the only one who grants spiritual life – a life that we can have right now. If Jesus claims that he will raise everyone from the dead to either a life of blessing or a life of torment … then what evidence do you have for such a claim?

Listen to how this section begins …

John 5:31-32 “If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 “There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.

Jesus applies the test found in the Mosaic law to his own words. Deuteronomy 19:15 says “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.”

  • It is important to remember that Jesus is not saying his words are false.
  • In fact, the “another” in v. 32 might be the Father, but this is only known due to the close relationship within the godhead.
  • Even though Jesus’ words can stand on their own, he is willing to apply the witness test anyway.

In the Deuteronomy context it refers to a capital crime. However, the NT applies it to all sorts of things like church discipline (Matt 18:16); the trials of Jesus (Matt 26:60); elder accusations (1 Tim 5:19); and Paul’s authoritative ministry (2 Cor 13:1).

Jesus says, in essence, “I know that my testimony is true, but for your sakes I am going to call 4 additional witnesses to the stand who will confirm my words.” First up …

John the Baptist (vv. 33-35)

John 5:33 “You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 “But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 “He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

Jesus does not rely on John’s testimony, because he does not need the testimony from any person. However, John testified to the truth. He was the voice preparing the way for Messiah.

While John plays a relatively small role in John’s gospel (1:6-8, 15, 19-34; 3:22-36) what he says is important.

  • The Messiah is Jesus, the lamb of God
  • Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus is greater than I – I am not worthy to untie his sandal – He must increase, and I must decrease

As we learned in John 1, John the Baptist

  • He preached repentance to prepare one’s heart for Messiah.
  • Even at the end of Jesus’ life, long after John was executed, Jesus challenged the Pharisees about whether John’s baptism was from men or from heaven. They punted because they feared the people.

Jesus did not need John’s testimony for his word to be true, but he used John as an illustration because the people recognized him as a prophet. He was an important witness to the identity and authority of Jesus.

  • Sadly, these religious leaders know that John was lamp, but they were unwilling to be convicted by the light because they still loved the darkness.

But for us who believe … for those who do not know Christ … Does Jesus give spiritual life? You bet.

  • Does Jesus have the ability and authority to judge (render final sentencing)? You bet.
  • As a Christian, your faith in Jesus grows and so does your desire to warn others.

Jesus calls witness number 2.

Jesus’ works (v. 36)

John 5:36 “But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

As good as John’s testimony is, there is a greater testimony. The works of Jesus. Note how the words of Jesus in vv. 31-32 are supported by the works of Jesus.

Jesus explains that all of his works, the ones we have seen already (wedding at Cana, the cleansing of the temple, the healing of the sick, etc.) as well as the works that are still to come are according to the will of the Father.

  • Jesus does exactly that which the Father gives him to do.

This fact helps us understand certain verses and events in the gospels.

  • In John 5 for example, Jesus only heals one man. Dustin explained there would have been many more. Why heal only one? Why heal that one?
  • In Mark the crowds are looking for Jesus and Jesus tells his disciples they are leaving.
  • People ask for signs and Jesus does not do them. Why not?

Jesus will only give the signs and do the works that the Father has given him.

Jesus’ miracles and signs testified that he was Messiah and that he is one with the Father.

  • Being one with the Father proves he has authority to grant spiritual life and to judge everyone at the end.

By now the case has already been established. Jesus’ words are true because he said them, because John testified about him and because Jesus’ works confirm his words are true. He has satisfied the witness test.

The evidence does not stop here…

The Father (vv. 37-38)

John 5:37-38 “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38 “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

It is possible that this could refer to the baptism of Jesus. That would make a lot of sense given that such an episode would have been known to John’s readers.

However, it might not be limited to God’s presence at the baptism.

  • It may be more subtle and include all ways that the Father testifies including the Father’s testimony in the Bible as a whole. I mentioned earlier that the religious leaders wanted to reject Jesus and still think they were good with God.
  • Verse 30 showed that was impossible. If you are not good with Jesus, then you are not good with God.

It is possible that Jesus confronts them at the very core of their religious heritage.

  • You have not heard his voice – But of course, God spoke to Moses as one friend speaks to another.
  • You have not seen him – But of course, Jacob wrestled with God and even named the place, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
  • His word is not in you – But of course, David hid God’s word in his heart.

I way I see it, you are not in line with Moses, Jacob, or David! If this is right, then that leads perfectly to final witness.

The Scriptures (vv. 39-47)

The fourth and final witness proving that Jesus is equal with God, has authority to grant life, and will judge everyone at the last time, is the testimony of the Bible.

Those who reject Jesus read their Bible thinking it has life all to itself. Jesus says, “no, it speaks about me.”

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

In v. 41 he says that he does not accept glory (praise) from men. This is not surprising because he does not accept that testimony either. His works have glory in themselves.

The religious leaders, however, encourage each other and that is good enough (vv. 43-44). I remember speaking to a priest many years ago asking about his ministry.

  • I came away discouraged because he made people feel good about their hopeless spiritual condition. That is what Jesus is saying here.
  • They believe they are good because of what they say to each other.

They were more interested in a flashy presentation, then they were in the testimony of God and His Word. There have been many who proclaimed to be Messiah. They all have one thing in common except one – they died awaiting final sentencing from Jesus.

  • Ironically, their flashy presentation persuaded many.

In the greatest irony of this passage, Jesus explains that Moses will be their accuser. I think this makes perfect sense when you remember that they believed they could reject Jesus and still be good with God.

  • Jesus explains that is impossible. You cannot reject him and be right with God.
  • In fact, even Moses – who you think might be on your side – is on mine.

It is possible that Jesus refers to Deut. 18:15 regarding the promise of a prophet like Moses.

  • But is also possible that he refers to the entire law of Moses. It was never meant to save and even Moses would say that. It was meant to point us to Christ.

All 4 testimonies confirm Jesus’ words. He is the giver of spiritual life and he is the one with authority to resurrect everyone and judge them.

For the believer – We are excited that Jesus is the one who gives spiritual life right now and the one who judges in the end.

  • We cannot imagine anyone we would want more to do that job! Our savior, our intercessor, is also our judge. It does not get any better than that.

I hope it:

  1. Encourages you to love your savior even more. Your savior is your judge. You know that your savior will provide a glorious outcome.
  2. Motivates you to put Jesus in the 10,000 little moments of your life. It is too easy to put Jesus on the shelf for too much of our day/too much of our week/and frankly too much of our life.
  3. Excites you to grow Faith East. You want to invite people to hear the message of Jesus because you are not sure what judgment day will be like for them. You want to see this auditorium packed with people praising the name of Jesus.
    1. Write 4 names down before the end of today and invite them. If 1,000 people did that, we would be inviting 4,000 people. Some of them would come.

For those of you who do not know Christ – I hope this passage scares you.

  • I hope you see that you cannot be right with God and reject Jesus. It is not possible.
  • I hope you see that Jesus will raise you on the last day and judge you. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.
  • I hope you will repent … or at least contact someone to talk about your questions so that you can repent of your sin and trust Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Authors

Dr. Rob Green

Roles

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Church

MABC Department Chair, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Bio

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Dr. Rob Green joined the Faith Church staff in August, 2005. Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Pastor Green has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 9 books/booklets. Rob and his wife Stephanie have three children.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.