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



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

·         The relation of the Son to His Father (5:19-24)
·         The Son and judgment (5:25-29)
·         Witness to the Son (5:30-47)


5:19     “I tell you the truth” again.

Jesus does not act in independence of the Father; also He cannot act in independence of the Father.

The Son is completely obedient and subordinate to the Father.

It also implies that the authority with which He teaches and acts is nothing less than the authority of God.

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

Jesus’ actions do not come from merely human motivations. He 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     In the OT, only God and no other raises people from the dead and gives them life. Here, 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 theme of this passage is the unity of the Father and the Son.

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” again.

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” usually both “Son” and “man” have the definite article but here neither word has it. It 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.”


5:30     The “I” is emphatic.

There is no essential difference between “seeing” the Father and “hearing” Him (here).

Both point 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 “have sent” (perfect tense) puts the stress not on their act of sending as on its continuing result. The words “has testified” 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     “I” is emphatic. The Greek reads “But I” stressing His separation from people.

The work 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.

The people were ignorant because they have never heard God’s voice (like Moses), nor seen God’s form (like Jacob).

5:38     The people also did not have God’s word abiding in them.

Because of the above ignorance in three areas, they did not believe the Son that God sent.

5:39     Had they rightly read the Scriptures they would no doubt have come to recognize the truth of His 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.

5:42     In contrast, the Jews professed to love God but in fact, they worked out their pattern of religion and tried to fit God into it.

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

5:44     Their habit was to receive praise from each other. 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     Had they really paid heed to Moses, they would have been convicted of their sin and eager to recognize the Saviour because 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 reason for the multitude’s presence was the attraction of the “signs” that Jesus wrought.

The figure of eating and drinking is widely used in the OT to signify prosperity (Ecc 8:15). The metaphor of eating is used also of spiritual blessing (Jer 15:16; Eze 2:8; 3:1), sometimes associated with the vision of God. There is also a link to the experiences of Israel in the wilderness.


6:1       The lake was called Galilee by local people and referred to in the Christian church. The official name was Tiberias.

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.

6:7       Philip’s reply stressed the hopelessness of the situation.

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

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

6:11     “As much as they wanted” indicates that it was not a token meal.

6:14     John refers this miracle as a “sign” which has a purpose of pointing people to God but the people only saw a reference to a prophet.

6:15     There were fierce nationalistic longings among the Jews at that time. They 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


Jesus makes a formal, systematic, orderly, regular statement of His own unity with the Father, His divine commission and authority as Judge of all people, and the proofs (witnesses) of His Messiahship.


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 at some point 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).

6:21     Mark told us that there was a lull in the wind. This could facilitate the speedy end of the voyage.