Heresy vs. truth
John 5:16So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
24″I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28″Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
The truth is a strange phenomenon. Take the truth of God, for instance. The truth is that God exists. If we do not accept the truth of His existence, neither the truth nor His existence is changed. He still exists and that is the truth. In this passage, Jesus tells the truth of who He is and why He has come. To some, the truth was like a soothing balm, to others it was iodine poured into an open wound.
The Jews who did not believe began by faulting Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, because He was breaking the Jewish Law. Then, they were offended because Jesus said His Father was working even to this day, and therefore, so was He. Jesus came not to do His own works but the works of God, who sent Him. “How can this be?” they must have thought. How can Jesus call God His Father? Is this heresy or is it truth?
If only they had known the Law did not come to save, but to show them their need for a Savior. If only they had believed in spirit and in truth. If only they had the faith to bridge the gap of disbelief. If only they could have walked across the bridge from death to life.
Have you ever anticipated something, perhaps a vacation destination, but when you finally arrived it was not all you had hope it would be? I think this is the predicament in which the Jewish leaders found themselves. They knew the Scripture, they knew Isaiah had foretold a Messiah, they saw it in the Psalms, yet when He came He was not what they expected. Have you heard the truth? Do you have he faith to believe the truth? A man who brought his son possessed by an evil spirit to the disciples for healing left in the same predicament in which he arrived–his son was not healed. When he reported this to Jesus, Jesus answered by saying they were an unbelieving generation. The man answered, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
We are each given a measure of faith to help us believe. If your faith is not strong enough, ask for more. If that faith is still not strong enough, ask for yet more. God is not some cruel jokester dangling eternal life in front of you, always just out of your reach. God is a loving father and Jesus is His son, and we must only ask and salvation is ours, we must only believe and we have crossed over the bridge from eternal damnation to eternal life. Ask…believe…live.