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The Scriptorium

Father and Son

Jesus threw down the gauntlet. Now He'd have to run it.

The Gospel of John: John 5.16-30

Read and meditate on John 5.16-30.

John presents this story as Jesus’ declaration before the people He had come to save. He has had several private interviews by this time, and one larger teaching visitation (among the Samaritans), but to His own people He is largely unknown, except for the signs previously accomplished in Jerusalem. Now He begins to assert His nature, ministry, and purpose, and He does not mince words.

for this, the Jewish leaders then began
to persecute Him, and they even sought
to kill Him, for they argued that one ought
not on the Sabbath do such things. 17But He
explained to them, “I work, and I must be
about such works as these, because till now
My Father works.” 18They therefore plotted how
they might destroy Him, not because He broke
the Sabbath only, but because He spoke
these words, that God His Father was, and made
Himself God’s equal. 19Answering then He said,
“Assuredly, I say to you, the Son
can nothing do but what He sees is done
by God the Father. What He does the Son 
does also, 20for the Father loves the Son,
and shows Him everything He does. And He
will show Him greater works than these, so see,
and marvel. 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. 25I say
to you, that there is coming soon a day,
and it is now, when all the dead shall hear
the voice of God the Son, and all who hear
shall live. 26For just as God the Father has
all life within Himself, so likewise has
the Son, as God has granted Him. 27And He 
has given to the Son authority
to execute all judgment also, for
He is the Son of Man. 28I tell you more,
and marvel not: An hour is coming when
all those in graves will hear His voice, and then
29will come forth, those who good have done unto
eternal life, but every person who
has evil done will be condemned. 30I can
do nothing of Myself. I understand
the things I hear, and judge; and righteous is
My judgment, for I seek not Mine but His,
that is, the will of Him Who sent Me, God
the Father.”

- John 5.16-30

1.  Imagine yourself a bystander as Jesus is talking with these Jewish leaders. Listening to Him, and watching their responses, how do you think you might respond? How would you explain what you’d heard? Complete this prayer: Help me to keep focused on the wonder of Your love, the mystery of Your might, and the power of Your grace, O Lord, so that in my witness for You…

2.  How do Jesus’ claims in this passage augment or clarify the Gospel as you understand it? I want to be faithful and true in my witness Lord. I thank You that, through Your servant John, You have shown me…

3.  The message of Jesus is the message of newness. Things we always hoped in or depended on in the past now pale into merely relative significance in the light of Jesus. How can you see this in the story of Jesus and the lame man? Lord, make all things new in my life. Today in particular, I ask You to…

4.  Why is it hard for some people to let go of traditions, structures, beliefs, and familiar practices, so that they can believe in Jesus? Should we modify our presentation of the Gospel to focus only on the grace of God, and not so much on what He requires? Explain. Teach and remind me daily, Lord, not to trust in anyone or anything but You. Guard me against the temptation of…

5.  The Kingdom of God is coming, and with it, the resurrection of the dead – some to eternal life, and some to everlasting death. The judgment of Christ will be the determining factor at that time. But that time is already upon us. What evidence do you see that this “last days” scenario is unfolding around us daily? How should this encourage you as a follower of Jesus? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.

“Let unbelievers meditate on the fact that, both by nature and sovereignty, the Son is one with the Father and that his power at work is not at cross-purposes with the Father, inasmuch as ‘whatever the Father does, the Son does as well.’ For no one can do in the same way the same work that another had done unless he shares in the unity of the same nature, but at the same time also is not inferior in the method of working.” Ambrose of Milan (333-397 AD)

Jesus did not hesitate to set forth all His claims, and to unfold the future prospects for all human beings in this first public statement of His ministry. Is the Gospel as you share it as broad, expansive, and specific as Jesus here suggests it should be? Explain.

Closing Prayer
Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
AndHis praise in the assembly of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.
Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand…

Psalm 149.1-6

Psalm 149 (Toulon: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art)
Sing to the Lord a glorious song and new!
Praise Him you people, to Whom praise is due!
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in Him
Who has created us and cleansed our sin.

Praise Him with dance, with tambourine and lyre!
To be so praised is God’s one great desire.
Lord, beautify Your holy ones with grace;
Show us the mercy of Your saving face.

Sing to the Lord, exult with great delight!
Sing on your beds with joy to God by night!
Sing praise and take His Word into your hand;
Publish His grace and wrath in every land!

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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