I have been studying the Gospel of John and in doing so believe that chapter five is one of the most powerful discourses of Jesus’ teaching ministry and within its verses (as in all Scripture) lays the power to change a person’s life.
In John chapter five, Jesus makes five personal statements declaring his deity:
(1) Jesus states that he is equal with God in His person,
“My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:17, 18).
(2) Jesus states that he is equal with God in His works,
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these that you may marvel” (John 5:19, 20).
(3) Jesus states that he is equal with God in His power and sovereignty,
“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them even so the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:21).
(4) Jesus states that he is equal with God in His judgment, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
(5) Jesus states that he is equal to God in His honor, “That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23).
In those verses, Jesus clearly affirms His deity. He is the Christ: God in the flesh and He’s here to accomplish the work the Father has sent Him to do: Die to save Mankind.
In verse 31, Jesus sets aside His own testimony of Himself, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true: (John 5:31). Even though Jesus’ statements of His deity are infallibly true and prophesied throughout the Old Testament Scriptures the Jewish leaders are so blinded by their jealousy and hate of Jesus that they refuse to see or hear the truth. So Jesus, knowing their knowledge of the Old Testament, refers them to the Old Testament Scriptures as proof of His deity; from Deuteronomy,
“Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established” (Deut. 17:6, 19:5).
In verses 32—47, Jesus reveals His three witnesses establishing His claim that He is the Son of God.
First witness is John the Baptist:
“There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. “Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. “He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light” (John 5:32—35).
What a great witness John the Baptist was of Jesus being the Messiah. While John is baptizing in the Jordon River he sees Jesus walking toward him and testifies of Jesus being the perfect sacrificial lamb sent from God. The religious leaders were present at the Jordon spying on John, so they knew of John’s witness, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 1:36).
As great a witness as John is, Jesus reveals even a greater One, “But I have a greater witness than John’s for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me” (John 5:36).
The miracles Jesus performed in the presence of His enemies, while on this earth (Jesus still performs miracles today) should have been enough for anyone to believe that He was sent from God. But the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were so blinded by their own envy and fear that they refuse to accept the truth. The writer of Hebrews warns all those who refuse to accept the free gift of salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross,
“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Heb. 2:3, 4).
The writer of Hebrews is asking the same question we should be asking today, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” What is that great salvation? Accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, by faith, for the forgiveness of sins, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
Unquestionably the most important and significant witness to Jesus being the Christ is from the Father Himself, “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me” (John 5:37).
God Himself confirms Jesus’ deity from heaven at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus, soaking wet appeared out of the Jordon River after His baptism–by John the Baptist. The Father declares with a thunderous voice from heaven this is My Beloved Son,
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16, 17).
Verses 36 and 37 are from the same witness–or are they? They actually complete the witness of the trinity: Jesus, the 2nd person of the trinity declares His deity, The Father, the 1st person of the trinity testifies that this is my son–declaring Jesus’ deity, and the 3rd person of the trinity the Holy Spirit declares His deity by the works Jesus does on earth (the miracles).
In verses 38 and 39, Jesus reminds the Jewish leaders of their knowledge of the Scriptures and their lack of understanding them,
“But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:38—40).
The great error of Israel was to believe that their own righteousness was going to get them to heaven (the law), but eternal life with Christ can only be obtained through Jesus’ righteousness (grace), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Without true understanding of God’s word you will be wondering around lost always seeking but never finding. The only way to get true understanding of the Bible is to get the Holy Spirit living inside you and that can only happen when you surrender your life to Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul wrote of his nation’s error: that their own righteousness would qualify them for heaven,
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 10:1–4).
Still many today not only in Israel but in all parts of the world have their eyes and ears closed to the truth found in John chapter five that Jesus is the only begotten son of God and is the only one with the keys to unlock heaven’s gate. Good deeds won’t do it, you can’t buy your way in, church attendance alone will not get you in, nor are there many ways to heaven. The only way to enter into heaven is to have a right relationship with Jesus. The gates of heaven will open for you with one simple prayer: Lord I have sinned and I’m sorry for those sins, please forgive my sins, and come into my life and be the Lord of my life. Amen!
If you said that prayer welcome to God’s family, if you did not say that prayer read The Gospel of John and find out the truth for yourself–don’t rely on the opinions of others.