Because He Raises the Spiritually and Physically Dead

Stefan Nitzschke March 28, 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.


*Job Interview = 10 years from now vs 10,000 years from now

*Jesus directs our attention to eternity

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 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.

This week’s passage centers around the same verse as last week: verse 18:

…the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

Jesus explained His equality with God last week by describing His relationship with the Father

In our passage this morning, He brings forth quite a few more witnesses to this fact, centering around some concepts that are relatively new to the Book of John

In verse 21 that we read last week, Jesus claimed that both He and the Father had authority to give life

Our passage will begin by zeroing in on that particular concept—please read along with me…

*Read John 5:25-47

Our title this morning is Enjoying Life in His name because Jesus raises the spiritually and physically dead and with our passage in mind, let’s consider two truths about Jesus raising the dead.

And to answer the question before you ask it: no, I didn’t wake up thinking TODAY was Easter…

The resurrections that Jesus is talking about in our passage are not referring to His own resurrection, specifically

Rather, He is talking about His authority to raise everyone from the dead, which is the heading of our first point…

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

More specifically…

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. 26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

Jesus is talking about a resurrection that is happening now and will happen later: how can this be?

This actually proves to shed a bit of light on the passages that have come before this one

Why does Jesus say Nicodemus needs to be born again?

Why does He offer the Samaritan woman living water?

Why does Jesus seem more concerned about the sick man’s spiritual well-being rather than his physical health?

Because Jesus, knowing what is in a man, also knows that…

1) We all are spiritually dead

Like Nicodemus when Jesus said “you must be born again,” you may be thinking to yourself: “how can this be?”

How is it you can say everyone’s spiritual default is dead?

First, there is a lot of NT evidence of this fact: Eph 2:1, Col 2:13, 1 John 3:14, and so on

But the words of Jesus in this passage make it abundantly clear as well…

*resuscitating someone conscious vs unconscious (makes no sense / makes sense)

Jesus, in saying that the dead will hear voice and live is making our condition clear

Just like you would not need to resuscitate someone who was not unconscious, so Jesus would not need to resurrect from the dead anyone who was already spiritually alive

Jesus knew Nicodemus’ plight and that a dead person cannot make himself alive, no matter how hard he tries: he needed Jesus’ spiritual resurrection

He knew the Samaritan woman’s condition and that a dead person can’t find satisfaction, no matter where she looks: she needed Jesus’ spiritual resurrection

He knew the sick man from earlier in chapter 5’s healing would only be temporary, like a tourniquet on a resident of the morgue: he needed Jesus’ spiritual resurrection

And everyone: in that day as well as this day: everyone who has not received the spiritual resurrection that only Jesus provides is still functioning out of their default condition: dead

But praise be to God, “spiritually dead” doesn’t need to be our permanent prognosis, because:

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

And v 25 says that “all those who hear” His voice will live

So consider the difference between these two phrases:

“The Bible teaches that I am dead in my sin and I need Jesus to experience spiritual life.”

Contrast it with this possible statement:

“I am dead in my sin and I desperately need Jesus to forgive me in order to have spiritual life.”

Which of these two people heard the voice of Jesus? Which of these two people will receive spiritual life?

I mentioned earlier that Eph 2:1 is one of the passages that we are dead—but praise be to God, it doesn’t end there…

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.

Have you heard the voice of the One who has life in Himself? He alone has authority to resuscitate the dead soul

*Gospel plug (know you’re dead, hear His voice)

Christian friend, I want to ask you a strange question that comes right out of the 1999 film, “the 6th Sense” –

Do you see dead people? (*pause)

Are you aware of the spiritual state of those around you, and that all without Christ are dead?

And are you convinced that the only—THE ONLY—thing that can give them life is the good news of the sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection of Christ?

And here is something really hard—something that every Christian wrestles with (myself included): do you care enough to tell them about this possibility of life in Christ, or are you more concerned about spiritually dead people liking you, up to the point where they become physically dead and go to hell?

Because while spiritual resurrection is only for those who will hear the voice of Jesus…

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

We get this from vv 27-29

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

Let me pause here and give a quick aside:

Back in John 3, Jesus said that He didn’t come into the world to judge, but here He says He will judge… how do you reconcile that? Did John forget what he wrote just 2 chapters ago?

Just like Jesus is talking about 2 different resurrections (spiritual, which is available now; and physical, which is yet to come), Jesus is referring to 2 different times

He came the first time to save—after He comes again, He will judge the nations

This, again, brings a sobering reminder concerning the timeliness of hearing Jesus’ voice—but our passage continues with this…

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.

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.

This is a literal reality—one day, every single person who has ever lived will finally “hear His voice”

But this will result in a bodily resurrection for one of two purposes:

First…

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.

Nicodemus showed He heard the voice of Jesus: he risked everything to take his Savior off the cross

The Samaritan woman showed that she heard the voice of Jesus by telling literally anyone with a set of ears about Him, leading many to hear His voice as well

We will actually see these individuals during the bodily resurrection—isn’t that pretty cool?

And they, like the rest of us who have placed our faith in Jesus, will rise to new life—but that is not the case with everyone…

2) Others experience the torment of judgment

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

The fact of the matter is—the judgment for those who did not listen to the voice of Jesus for spiritual life while on this earth will be severe and permanent

For the believers, earlier I asked if you see people this way: do you see spiritually dead people in need of life?

It may be that you are nervous to tell someone about Jesus

If this is the case, it’s definitely an area that I would encourage you to actively seek to grow in

But in the meantime, I would encourage you to at least invite folks in your sphere of influence to come with you to church—they will definitely hear the good news of Jesus from one of us

And what will be the determining factor for either of these resurrections?

What did they think about JESUS?? (pause)—it’s simple; it all comes down to that!

Because…

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

As we will see, the religious leaders got this wrong

They thought they could reject Jesus and still be good with the Father—they were dead wrong.

And to show it, Jesus calls forth four witnesses

And this is what the bulk of the text focuses on …

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

*put ourselves in the shoes of a Jew at that time:

*you (please God, read Torah, attend synagogue, offer sacrifices, go to appointed festivals, etc.)

*along comes Jesus (claims to be God, give life, judge all, etc.)

You would likely have the same question they had: why should I believe you?

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.

While Jesus’ words are certainly true on their own, He applies the same practice found in Deuteronomy 19 that says a matter will be confirmed on the evidence of two or three witnesses

He does this for the sake of His hearers

The first witness He calls up is…

A) 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.

What were some of the highlights of John that we have discussed in earlier chapters?

1) He claimed that Jesus was the Messiah and prepared a way for His coming

2) He prophesied that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit

3) He valued himself as unworthy to untie Jesus’ sandals, insisting that he must decrease and Jesus must increase

John was such a profound character that he was very quickly and very widely recognized to be the prophet he was

Here, Jesus even exposes the religious leader’s captive pull towards him, saying they were willing to rejoice in his light for a while

Unfortunately, they still preferred the concealing darkness over the exposing light

Regardless—why is Jesus calling forth the witness of John?

V 34 gives it away: “I say these things so that you may be saved”

Jesus assumes a few things about His argument in bringing forth John:

1) John truly was a prophet

2) as a prophet, John spoke what was true

3) John testified that Jesus was the Messiah

4) the Messiah was sent to save the lost

5) through belief in Jesus, the lost can be saved

In short—if you see John for who He is, you should KNOW that salvation is in Jesus

For Christians, this should strengthen our faith that Jesus truly is who He said He is

For non-Christians, John is a witness to the claim in v 18—Jesus is God and thus, the savior of the world

Nevertheless, Jesus calls witness number 2.

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.

This would have been undeniable—what sparked this conversation in the first place?

Don’t let this phrase ring common to you: Jesus fully cured a man that was helplessly crippled for 38 years

*imagine that today

Add that to the pile of all the works Jesus had already done and was going to do

And each of these had a specific purpose… each was given by the Father to testify about the Son

If Jesus had come to simply do works because He could, or if He had simply come to alleviate human suffering—why heal only one man at the colonnades?

The purpose of each sign was, in itself, a witness to the mission and person of Jesus as the Lord of life and Lamb of God

So with John the Baptist as a witness, as the works of Jesus as a witness, that should do it, right?

That satisfies the witness requirements of Deuteronomy—case closed

*football coach “pour it on!”

Jesus pours it on, calling forth more witnesses—next…

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. 38 “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

How should they have known that the Father sent Him?

One way should have been Jesus’ baptism, where the Father miraculously announces that Jesus was His Son

But their rejection of Christ shows why Jesus can go on to say “you have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form”

Because as I mentioned before, a rejection of the Son is a rejection of the Father: even passages in the copy of Scripture that would have been available to them at that time testified to this, like Psalm 2

But Jesus is about to show that it’s more than just a handful of passages they are neglecting when they ignore the testimony of the Father concerning the Son

Jesus calls out His final witness:

D) The Scriptures (vv. 39-47)

5 verses in particular point this out:

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life... 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

The Bible as a whole proves to be Jesus’ final witness, showing that He is equal with God, has authority to grant life, and will judge everyone at the last time

It’s possible that Jesus is referring to Deut 18:15 regarding Moses’ promise of a coming prophet

But it’s also possible that he’s referring to the entire law of Moses

Passages like Luke 24:27 give credence to this possibility

The Bible was never meant to save, and even Moses would say that

It was meant to point us to Christ.

Paul would go on to make the connection clear for us:

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

Contrast that to the accusation Jesus levels on these religious men and women in v 44 –

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”

You can read your Bible and think the same thing that these religious men and women came away with:

Am I doing better than the people around me? (*explain + justification)

What Paul and Moses and Jesus and all the rest are saying is that the Bible is not a template, it is a WITNESS

I’d like to close our time with some questions for your consideration:

First, to the non-Christians:

Do you see your dire need for Jesus?

Your perception of the Bible may have been that it’s a dusty book full of nice suggestions—but I hope this passage scares you

I hope you see there is an eternity

I hope you see that you cannot be right with God and reject Jesus

You will be raised on the last day and you will be judged

Do you believe the testimony of the witnesses?

Eternity is a long time to be wrong.

I hope you accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation that He won on the cross—if you would like to know more about what this means, please talk with myself or one of the other pastors TODAY

Christians:

Do you see dead people?

We’re called to live with an awareness of eternity (Col 3:2-4)—this would include remembering the coming resurrection and judgment of all

This should also lead you to ensure Jesus is permeating throughout every facet of your life

If this world truly is passing away and Jesus has life in-Himself, who wouldn’t want more Jesus?

Which leads naturally to the final question:

Are you a witness for Jesus? When He calls you up to the stand in the courtroom of life, what is your testimony regarding Him to your peers?

Do you know what should give us confidence to boldly witness regarding Jesus? The Judge is also our Exonerator

The love of Christ should compel you towards witnessing about His goodness—like a man who has found a great deal of buried treasure

Who are you telling about Jesus? I would encourage each of us to invite 3 people to come to church with us

Guess what’s coming up? (Easter!)

If each one of us invited 3 people and only a small percentage actually came, this place would be full of people who either want to loudly witness concerning Jesus or desperately need to hear this message…

Because the reality of the resurrections and these 4 witnesses that claim Jesus is the only way to life, beckon us to have an eternal focus

So… Where do you see yourself, and those around you, in 10,000 years?

Authors

Stefan Nitzschke

Roles

Pastor of College Ministries - Faith Church

Director of Faith West Ministry Housing - Faith West

Bio

B.S. - Management Information Systems, Iowa State University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Stefan has been serving on the pastoral team at Faith Church since 2016. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism. They are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl. Stefan is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is a board member of Faith’s Community Development Corporation.