[8]     Signs and Discourses 5: the Divine Son (5:19-6:21)

Explanation

[C7]    5:19-47........... THIRD Discourse - the divine Son

The theme of this passage is the unity of the Father and the Son.

5:19     “I tell you the truth” again. Jesus does not act in independence of the Father. The Son is completely obedient and subordinate to the Father.

5:20     The tense of the word “loves” indicates a continuing, habitual love.

Jesus acts only in accordance with the divine relation. “Greater things” are explained in the following verses, meaning the Son’s activities in giving life and in judging.

5:21     Like God in the OT, Jesus says that He also gives life, both physical life and spiritual life.

5:22     The Son will represent the Father as the Judge.

5:23     This will ensure that people give the Son the same honour as the Father.

5:24     “I tell you the truth” again. The person who receives the blessing of eternal life is the one who hears Christ and believes the Father. All those who believe tha Father accept Christ.

The word “has” indicates that eternal life is a present possession. It is a permanent safety from judgment.

5:25     “I tell you the truth” the third time. It does not refer to the raising of the dead at the last day because of the phrase “has now come.” It refers to those who are spiritually dead.

The word “hear” means “hear with appreciation” or “take heed”.

5:26     The Father is self-existent and the Son has been given a share in this self-existent life.

5:27     The term “Son of man” possibly means that Jesus will be the final judge of us all because He, too, is man.

5:29     Everyone (both the good and the evil) will be raised from the dead to face judgment.

It is clear from above that those who believe will have eternal life. Here it shows that those who profess their faith will also live by their faith. Calvin says, “He marks out believers by their good works, just as elsewhere He says that a tree is known by its fruit.” (Mt 7:17-20)

5:30     The verse points to the Son’s complete dependence on the Father.

5:31     It is impossible to accept anyone’s testimony on the basis of his own words.

5:32     Independent confirmation is required. The “another” refers to the Father.

5:33     The words “has testified” (perfect tense) indicates a continuing message.

5:34     The witness He received was not “human testimony”. Yet human testimony was mentioned in order to direct the attention of His hearers so as to put them on the right way.

5:35     The past tense “was” indicates that the Baptist’s work was past. The word “burned” hinted that John’s witness was costly to himself. The word “enjoy” points to an overflowing, enthusiastic happiness, not simply “joy”.

5:36     The work of Jesus has showed that the Father has sent Him.

5:37     The word “has testified” shows that the entire revelation of the Father from the very beginning has prepared the way for the coming of the Son.

5:38     Because of the above ignorance in three areas (not hearing God, not seeing God, not abiding in God’s word), they did not believe the Son that God sent.

5:39     Had they rightly read the Scriptures they would recognize the truth of Jesus’ claim.

5:40     The word “refuse” stresses the activity of the will and the deliberate rejection of the Son.

5:41     Jesus did not act to please people but only to please the Father.

5:43     They receive one who came in his own name, yet reject the one who came in God’s name.

5:44     They tried to seek the glory of self and not the glory of God.

5:45     The Jews prided themselves on their knowledge of the Law which was written by the great lawgiver Moses. Yet it was Moses who was the accuser against them. The present tense signifies that Moses was a standing witness.

5:46     The writings of Moses were prophetic and they pointed forward to Christ.

5:47     Since they did not believe Jesus, it was the same as not believing the writings of Moses.

 

[C8]    6:1-15............. FOURTH Sign - feeding the multitude

This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels. The figure of eating and drinking is used in the OT to signify prosperity (Ecc 8:15) and spiritual blessing (Jer 15:16; Eze 2:8; 3:1).

6:2       The imperfect tenses here denote continuous action. The multitude “kept following” Jesus  because they “continually saw” the signs that Jesus “habitually did” on the sick.

6:4       John’s mention of the Passover is evidently meant to awaken associations of the wilderness. What the manna in the wilderness foreshadowed is perfectly given in Jesus. It was He who was their “bread of God” in the wilderness, and it is He who is the bread of God now.

6:5       Philip was a native of nearby Bethsaida so Jesus addressed the question to Philip.

6:6       John makes it clear that the question was a test for Philip, possibly to test whether he believed that Jesus would provide.

6:9       The word “boy” is a double diminutive, meaning “little boy”. Barley bread was cheap bread.

6:10     The word “sit” means “recline”, the normal posture for a meal in the region.

6:15     The Jews wanted to find someone to be king who could then lead them against the Romans. But God’s plan is to raise up a king of a different kind.

 

[C9]    6:16-21........... FIFTH Sign - walking on the water

6:17     The incident is also recorded in Mt 14:22-33 and Mk 6:45-52. It was likely that Jesus had directed the apostles to wait for Him on the eastern shore on their way to Capernaum, but not beyond a certain time. The delay was probably related to Jesus’ dismissal of the crowd.

6:19     The disciples thought that they saw a phantom and were terrified (filled with fear).

 

Application

§         The Jewish religious leaders knew what the Bible said but failed to apply its words to their lives. They knew the teachings of the Scriptures but failed to see the Messiah to whom the Scriptures pointed (v.39-40). We have to learn to understand the real message of the Bible, not just having a knowledge of the Bible. Further, we have to apply the Bible to our lives (v.29).

 

Hymn

Hymns of Universal Praise no.453 “Lead kindly light” (Hymns of Life no.320)

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,

Lead Thou me on;

The night is dark, and I am far from home;

Lead Thou me on;

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene, one step enough for me.

So long Thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still

Will lead me on,

O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till

The night is gone;

And with the morn those angel faces smile,

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.