Sermon #39 John’s Gospel
Title: “Because He is The Son of Man”
Text: John 5:17-23
Subject: Christ Our Mediator—Both God and Man
Date: Sunday Morning — January 25, 2009
Tape: John #39
Reading: Hebrews 2:1-18
After the sin and fall of our father Adam, before the fallen pair were driven from the garden, the Lord God promised a man whom he would send to be the Savior of fallen men, a man who would come to crush the serpent’s head, a man who would make restitution to God for men and restore that which he took not away (Genesis 3:15).
(Genesis 3:15) “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
He who is our Savior is and must be the Son of Man; but he is not and cannot be the seed of man. He is the woman’s Seed.
Abraham understood that this man would be God incarnate, God in our flesh, God in our nature. He told his son Isaac that God himself would be the sacrifice by whom sin would be put away, the sacrifice by whom fallen man would be brought back to God (Genesis 22:8).
Throughout the Old Testament era, believing sinners looked for the coming of one man, who was known as “the Son of Man” (Psalm 80:17; Daniel 7:13-14).
(Psalms 80:14) “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.”
(Psalms 80:17-19) “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. (18) So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. (19) Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
(Daniel 7:13-14) “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
I have come here today to talk to you about that Man. That man, of course, is the God-Man, the Man-God, whom we worship, Jesus Christ the Lord. The title of my message is — “Because He is The Son of Man.” My text is John 5:17-27.
This is one of the deepest, most solemn and profound passages to be found in the entire volume of Sacred Scripture. Here the Lord Jesus asserts his own divinity, in words so plain that even the unbelieving Jews understood him clearly. He declares his own eternal power and Godhead with such distinct clarity that his words cannot be misunderstood, except by those who willfully reject the Word of God as the Word of God. In these verses, the Son of Man, the man Christ Jesus states both his own Divine nature and his complete, eternal union with God.
Yet, it is in this portion of Scripture that our Lord Jesus speaks most plainly of himself as that Man who is “the Son of Man,” Jehovah’s righteous Servant. In fact, the very words used here by our Savior to declare his Godhead are the words by which he reveals himself as “the Son of Man.” Truly, there is much in the verses before us that our puny brains simply cannot comprehend. Of the things here spoken by our Savior and recorded by Divine inspiration for our learning, we must confess, — “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalms 139:6).
(John 5:17-27) “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. (18) Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (19) Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (20) For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. (21) For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (22) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (23) That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. (24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
Here our Lord Jesus Christ holds before us seven glaring declarations of his eternal Godhead. Yet, the things he here asserts are all said to be true of him in his office capacity as our God-man Mediator, “because he is the Son of Man.” Here the words of the psalmist are fulfilled: — “His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him” (Psalms 21:5). Nowhere is the dignity of his character, the greatness of his being and the glory he possesses more fully displayed than in these seven things.
His Redemptive Works
First, our blessed Savior declares that he is one with the Father in his wondrous, redemptive works.
(John 5:17) “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
This work of redemption, the complete salvation of God’s elect was begun and finished by the Triune Jehovah, our great God, before the world began (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-6). — It is written, “The works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).
(Romans 8:28-30) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
(Ephesians 1:3-6) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Though fully accomplished in the decree and purpose of God from eternity, our Lord Jesus engaged himself as our Surety to perform all the great works of redemption for us and in us in time, bringing to the light in the sweet experience of grace that which was done in eternity, in the purpose of grace (2 Timothy 1:9-10).
(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
In all his wondrous, redemptive works, the triune God is one…
The works of the Father are the works of the Son; and the works of the Son are the works of the Father (John 9:4; 14:10).
(John 9:4) “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
(John 14:10) “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
Look at the next verse.
(John 5:18) “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
These Jews were horrified that the Lord Jesus had healed a man on the sabbath. So, being the typical legalists they were, they tried to kill him on the sabbath day for healing on the sabbath day! Would to God I could get the ear of every child of God in this world whom religious legalists seek to bind in legal shackles, whose soul they would murder with law works if they could! I would tell them that all healing is in the Sabbath. — Christ is our Sabbath! — We rest in him! Bro. John Chapman wrote in his bulletin this week…
“Natural men will do anything and everything except rest in Christ and the Believer has to labor to do it because of remaining sin. ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief’” (Hebrews 4:9-11).
But I stray. Look at our text again (John 5:18). — “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” These men understood exactly what the Lord Jesus said. They sought to kill him for declaring that he is God (John 10:30-33; 19:7).
(John 10:30-33) “I and my Father are one. (31) Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (32) Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? (33) The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”
(John 19:7) “The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
In his work our Lord Jesus is one with the Father. Yet, his great, redemptive work is a work performed in obedience to his Father “because he is the Son of Man” (John 10:15-18).
(John 10:15-18) “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
His Will and Purpose
Second, God the Father and God the Son are one in will and purpose (v. 19). Remember, our Savior is specifically talking to those Jews, those religious legalists and self-righteous zealots who were trying to murder him.
(John 5:19) “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
This is not a restriction or limitation placed upon his power by his incarnation. Rather, our Savior is simply declaring that he never does anything independently of his Father. Everything he does he does in pursuance of his covenant engagements as our Surety.
Never should we get the idea that the incarnation of God the Son placed limitations upon him. Assuming our nature enabled him to do what he never could do otherwise…
Š Bring in righteousness for us by his obedience to the law.
Š Be made sin for us, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree.
Š Suffer death as our Substitute.
Š Satisfy divine justice.
Š Put away sin.
Š Put all things under the feet of man.
Š Be a merciful and faithful High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
No, he who is our Savior, is one with the Father in everything he does. The will of the Father is the will of the Son; and the will of the Son is the will of the Father. The work of the Son is the work of the Father; and the work of the Father is the work of the Son. — “Because he is the Son of Man!”
In all that our Savior here declares, he is identifying himself as the one and only Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. He is showing us his character, authority and power as the Man-God, the God-Man, our Mediator. These things show him to be God, but more than God: God in human flesh, God and man fully united in one person. He is fully God and fully man, “because he is the Son of Man!”
His Perfect Knowledge
Third, the same thing is true with regard to our Savior’s knowledge. In knowledge he is one with the Father (v. 20).
(John 5:20) “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.”
If the Son knows all things that the Father does, he is one with the Father. As there is no lack of omnipotence in him, there is no lack of omniscience in him. No mere creature is capable of knowing and understanding all the ways and work of God (Romans 11:33-36).
(Romans 11:33-36) “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
Yet, the knowledge spoken of here is a knowledge conveyed to him as the Son of Man, the Man-God, our Mediator. All that the Son beheld the Father do in his eternal decree, he knows and he performs in time, “because he is the Son of Man” (Proverbs 8:22-31).
(Proverbs 8:22-31) “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. (23) I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. (24) When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. (25) Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: (26) While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. (27) When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: (28) When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: (29) When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: (30) Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; (31) Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”
Then, the Lord Jesus asserted that the Father would reveal greater things than the healing of impotent folk, things that would cause even the unbelieving to marvel (John 6:61-62; 2 Timothy 1:10).
(John 6:61-62) “When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (62) What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?”
(2 Timothy 1:10) “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”
It is by his perfect knowledge as Jehovah’s righteous Servant, “because he is the Son of Man,” that the Lord Jesus justifies his elect (Isaiah 53:12).
His Glorious Sovereignty
Fourth, the Father and the Son are one in glorious sovereignty (v. 21).
(John 5:21) “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”
Here our Lord Jesus, the Man-God our Mediator, lays claim to divine sovereignty. When he healed a lame man, he did not heal all the impotent folk, but singled out one identified only as “a certain man,” and made him whole. The Son, like the Father, quickens and give life to whom he will. Nothing more need be said. That ends the matter. God’s absolute sovereignty is not a fine point of theology to be debated in the coffee shop, but a glorious revelation of grace to be proclaimed from the house-top, believed in the heart, and rejoiced over in the soul (Exodus 33:18-19; Romans 9:13-16).
(Exodus 33:18-19) “And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. (19) And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
(Romans 9:13-16) “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”
His Rightful Honor
Fifth, the Lord Jesus Christ is one with the Father in worship, praise and honor, “because he is the Son of Man” (vv. 22-23).
(John 5:22-23) “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (23) That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”
The Father is the one whom we might most naturally expect to be the Judge. He has been sinned against, wronged, and his claims denied. But the Father has committed all judgment of Satan, of men and of this world to the Son (Acts 17:31).
(Acts 17:31) “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
The reason for this is “that all should honor the Son even as they honor the Father,” “because he is the Son of Man” (Colossians 1:14-18).
(Colossians 1:14-18) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
His Saving Power
Sixth, the Son is one with the Father in his saving power, snatching poor sinners from the jaws of death and bringing them into the joys of life! That is a work none can perform, but God alone (vv. 24-26).
(John 5:24-26) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;”
All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ were once dead in trespasses and in sins. They have been called by the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And being called by his irresistible, effectual, omnipotent, life-giving voice, we now live.
Š Faith in Christ is the evidence of life, the result of having passed from death unto life.
Š The life Christ gives is everlasting life.
Š If we have everlasting life, we shall not come into condemnation!
“Because he is the Son of Man” he has life in himself; and the life he has in himself is the gift of life for his people.
His Execution of Judgment
Seventh, the Son is one with the Father in judicial power and authority, in the execution of judgment at the last day (v. 27).
(John 5:27) “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
God the Father gave his Son, the triune Jehovah gave the Lord Jesus Christ the power and authority to execute all judgment, “because he is the Son of Man,” because he took our nature into union with himself to save his people from their sins.
He who is to be the final judge of quick and dead, is now, and will be then, our Brother, our Head, our Surety, our Advocate, and our Husband! Oh! the preciousness of the thought — All judgment is committed to him who was judged in our stead upon Calvary’s cursed tree!
It was because the Son of God took our flesh and walked this earth as man that he was despised, rejected and crucified. Because he became one of us, his divine glory was denied and disowned! Therefore, the despised one shall have the place of supreme honor and authority. All will be compelled to bow the knee to him and confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 28:18; John 17:1-2; Isaiah 45:20-25).
(Acts 2:36) “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
(Matthew 28:18) “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
(John 17:1-2) “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: (2) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”
(Philippians 2:5-11) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
All this honor and glory, all this authority and power has been and is heaped the Lord Jesus Christ “because he is the Son of Man,” because he is our Mediator. How this ought to endear him to our souls! It is all his, for his people!
(Isaiah 45:20-25) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
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