Jesus Explains It All – John 5:16-47

**Format Notes:  Only the italicized words are the actual verses as copied from (New Living Translation).  Particularly significant verses are also bolded.** 

                                 —JOHN 5 continued (16-47)

** IN OTHER NEWS, Jesus and God Win Contest for Best Father-Son Relationship, much to the chagrin of the Jewish leaders  (5:16-23) **

16 So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. 17 But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” 18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God. 

 (19-23)  Jesus further explains:

19  He can do nothing by himself, but only whatever the Father does. 

20  The Father will show him how to do greater things than healing a lame man. 

21  He, the Son, can give life to anyone he wants. 

 22  It is not his Father, but Jesus, that has the authority to judge.  

23  Anyone who does not honor the Son is not honoring God.

*Key verse about salvation:  

 24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe* in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.   (*see post 4/16 on  John 3.  Belief is more than an intellectual thought or a feeling that something is true.)

NOTES (5:16-30) 

3 Signs of the Messiah (from the Old Testament):

  • He will have the authority to judge
  • The lame and sick are healed.
  • Those that are dead (in sin) are raised to life. 



 **PERSONAL NOTE:  I had a particularly difficult time understanding certain parts of John 5:28-29.  This is the reason there has been a gap of time between my last posting for the first part of John 5 and this current post to finish the chapter.  I have been searching for clarity for the sake of those reading my blog. 

I contemplated skipping past 5:28-29 and directing you to resources.  I decided to include what I could.  The two verses are significant, because they have been interpreted incorrectly by certain theologians who believe you can accept salvation after you die.  They provide an example of why we must read the Bible in whole and not base everything we believe on one verse alone.

I listen to Hank Haanegraaf (the Bible Answer Man), who has a nationally syndicated program on Christian radio.  I went to his website for clarification, and a copy of that follows the verses.

 25 “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26 The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. 27 And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.

 28 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, 29 and they will rise again. Those who have done good (lived the right way*) will rise to experience eternal life (walk out into a resurrection Life), and those who have continued in evil (lived the wrong way) will rise to experience judgment (resurrection Judgment).  

(* means I copied the rephrasing from The Message version of the Bible.)

Commentary by Hank Haanegraaf at 

(I have edited out sentences that are repeats of what was said previously.).

A little theological background will be helpful. In Ephesians 2:1–4, Paul described Christians as people who were spiritually dead prior to their conversion, but because of God’s great love for them, God “made [them] alive with Christ even when [they] were dead in transgressions.” Taking our cue from this text, we must realize that two kinds of death, two kinds of life, and two kinds of resurrection are in the New Testament. The two kinds of death are physical death (the death of the physical body) and spiritual death (separation from God in this life). Paul’s concern in Ephesians 2 was spiritual death. What John called “the second death” (eternal separation from God) in Revelation 20:14 is actually the extension or outcome of spiritual death if salvation does not occur. Corresponding to these two kinds of death are two kinds of life: physical life (the kind of physical existence we have prior to physical death) and spiritual life (the new life God gives our spirit after regeneration, as described in Eph. 2). Corresponding to these two pairs, there are physical resurrection (the raising of our bodies from death; see 1 Cor. 15:52–54) and spiritual resurrection (the raising of our spirits from death; see Eph. 2:4), which is the same as regeneration or the new birth.

  • Throughout John 5:24–29, Jesus referred to these parallel concepts of death, life, and resurrection. He said, “I tell you the truth, a time is coming [a reference to a future event] and has now come [the present] when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” (v. 25). The present fulfillment of Jesus’ words is found in the growing multitude of the physically alive but spiritually dead who hear and accept the message of the Son of God and pass from spiritual death to spiritual life (see v. 24). The still future fulfillment is found in the coming bodily resurrection of believers.

 MY PERSONAL NOTE:   Regardless of what you believe about the passage, why would someone risk their salvation on the interpretation?  The big thing for me is that I have been transformed during my life on earth, and I would not want to miss out on the amazing relationship we are each able to have with God through Christ.

30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.

(31-38)  Jesus is still talking to the Jews.  He says it would not be valid to testify on his own behalf.  He refers to John the Baptist as a burning and shining lamp, a witness whose testimony about Jesus is true.  He has no need of human witnesses, but he is telling these things so they might be saved.   But even greater than John, his (Jesus) teachings and miracles provide witness proving that God sent Him to accomplish those works.  The Father who sent Him, confirmed Him. And they missed it. They never heard His voice or observed His appearance. There is nothing left in their memory of his message because they do not take his messenger seriously.

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.  41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.[e]

 45 “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. 46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” 

Notes:  In 39-47, Jesus is telling the Jews they are looking for eternal life through the Scriptures (of the Old Testament), through the laws of Moses.  They are ignoring all the prophecies that point to him.    

I hope these “express” summaries and lessons about the Bible are helpful to you.  You do need to read the Bible for yourself in order to know God.  Do not rely solely on sermons, TV evangelists,  friends, or blogs to tell you what it says.  Find a quiet place, and before you start reading, pray for understanding of God’s words.  Don’t try to read it like a novel.  Take notes, find a reading plan (Bible Gateway has reading plans – see   You will often find a verse to apply to your life, one that speaks personally to you and brings you closer to God.


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