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The Scriptorium

Life and Death

Jesus can't leave bad enough alone.

The Gospel of John: John 5.16-30

Read and meditate on John 5.21-24

Jesus can’t leave bad enough alone. Having justified His doing work on the Sabbath, and claimed that God was His Father, He now insists that matters of life and death are in His hands, and that He, the Son, should be honored just as much as the Father. You don’t need to guess how such claims were received by those who were already beginning to plot His death.

                               21For as God the Father to
new life can raise the dead, the Son can, too,
just as He will. 22The Father judges no
man, but all judgment has committed to
the Son, 23that all the Son should honor as
they do the Father. Anyone who has
no honor for the Son will have none for
the Father, Who has sent Him. 24Furthermore,
I say to you, whoever listens to
My Word, believing in the Father Who
has sent Me, will have everlasting life,
and shall not come to judgment nor to strife,
but has passed on to life from death.”

- John 5.21-24

1.  Jesus seems to have taken it for granted that His hearers would understand that God the Father can raise the dead. What Old Testament examples of this might He have had in mind? What do we learn about God’s power of life and death from these examples? Complete this prayer: You can raise the dead, Lord, including all who are dead in their trespasses and sins. Give me confidence in Your life-giving power, so that…

2.  Jesus piles remarkable and dangerous claim upon remarkable and dangerous claim. He says that He “gives life to whom He will.” How did the healing of the man at the pool illustrate this claim? Thank You, Lord, that You willed to give life to me. Help me always…

3.  From giving life, Jesus moves on to exercising judgment, saying that the Father has “committed all judgment to the Son…” How would that claim have been received by those who regarded themselves as the judges of Israel? Do people today prickle at Jesus’ claims to be their Judge? Explain. Lord, it’s good that You are our Judge, because…

4.  Jesus says that God intends all people to honor the Son as they would honor the Father. How would the Jews have heard this? What was Jesus saying to them about the place He should have in their religious life? How does this add to His previous claim of being equal to God? Lord, I want to honor You and the Father in everything I do. Today especially, I hope to honor You by…

5.  Meditate on verse 24. What can we conclude from this about how we should understand all other parts of the Word of God, or any claims about having received revelation from God? What would have been the effect of Jesus’ saying this on the religious traditions of the Jews? Bring together into one your prayers from questions 1-4.

“The Father has given judgment to the Son even from the very beginning. For when he speaks of all power and all judgment and says that all things were made by him and all things have been delivered into his hand, he allows no exception [in respect] of time, because they would not be all things unless they were the things of all time. It is the Son, therefore, who has been from the beginning administering judgment, throwing down the haughty tower and dividing the tongues, punishing the whole world by the violence of waters, raining upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone, as the Lord from the Lord.” Tertullian (fl. 197-222 AD)

Everything the people of His day had come to believe about God, Jesus now began to appropriate for Himself. Many believed Him, but many more did not. What keeps people from believing Jesus?

Closing Prayer
The fool hath said in his heart,
There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works,
there is none that doeth good.
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men,
to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy:
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and call not upon the LORD.
There were they in great fear:
for God is in the generation of the righteous.

Psalm 14.1-5

Psalm 14.4, 5 (St. Anne: O God, Our Help in Ages Past)
None understands, none seeks the Lord; they all have turned aside.
Deception leads them from God’s Word who have His grace denied.

The workers of iniquity consume God’s sheep like bread;
They trust not in the Lord, and He shall fill their hearts with dread.
T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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