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John 5 (3) – An Hour is Coming and is Now Here

July 29, 2007

We have been looking at John 5 and looking at the relationship of the Son to the Father.  The controversy caused in this passage has spawned a monologue of Jesus stating his eternal and equal relationship to the Father.  Part 1 introduces the passage and part 2 expresses what kind of language Jesus uses to talk about his relationship to his Father.  In this third part I wanted to look mainly at 5:25, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”  There are mainly three things that stood out to me that helped us see how the Son relates to the Father and how both relate to us: (1) the ontological (don’t be scared from this word – see link for definition) implications of Jesus as a life source, (2) the implications of Father granting the Son to have “life” in himself and to give “life” (see verse 26), and (3) the obvious paradox of ‘what is coming’ and ‘what is now here.’ 

/1.  Implications of Jesus as Life Source

Throughout chapter 5 of John, the relationship between the Father and Son is portrayed in relationship to one another from eternity (ontological) and in relationship to mankind (economical).  But to fully grasp how the Father and Son relate to man, we must attempt to understand in some way their relationship apart from man.  Specifically, we see certain things about Jesus that imply some tremendous conclusions.  Verse 21 says, “the Son gives life to whom he will.”  Jesus says later in verse 24, “whoever hears my word… has eternal life.”  Verse 25, “an hour is coming, and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (this same concept is found in v. 28 as well).    Jesus is a life source.  From him comes life everlasting according to these verses.  These passages, overwhelmingly, emphasize Jesus as the eternal, sovereign, creator God who breathes life into creation.  As far as honor, glory, deity, and eternality goes, there is no subordination to the Father in the Son.  They are, from eternity past, equally God and equal in nature.  However, when God begins to relate to humanity (creation, redemption, judgment, etc) their relationship emerges towards us differently.

 //2. The Father and Son in Relation to Humanity

From eternity, God has, in all sovereignty, willed to redeem humanity.  In carrying out that will, the relationship begins to be described the way 5:26 describes their relationship, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.”  Or in verse 22, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.”  Again in verse 24, Jesus says, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.”  In accomplishing the work of God, we begin to see a hierarchy in the relationship between the Father and the Son.  The Son accomplishes the will of the Father (John 4:34) and only does what the Father shows him (5:20).  Concerning the function of the Father and in the function of the Son in accomplishing the work of God, the Son is in subordinate to the Father.   All through his book, the Gospel writer, John, portrays this relationship of hierarchy and subordination not as ‘greater and lesser’, but a relationship that is chiefly concerned with the other person’s glory in their redemption work.

///3.  The Obvious Paradox of ‘What is Coming’ and ‘What is Now Here’ 

To those who hear the voice of Christ, life will be given to them – now and later.  Jesus says, “An hour is coming and is now here.”  This is almost an unintelligible statement by Jesus.    But we see this paradox all through Scripture.  What we will have in full, we have in part now.  What do we have now in part?  We have been raised from the dead, spiritually.  Ephesians 2:1. “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.”  But later, the Apostle Paul says in verse 5, “even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ.”  Before, we were dead in our sin and trespasses, but the voice of Christ says to our heart, ‘Live!’ and life happens!  We were resurrected with Christ to hope and glory. This is the “hour that is now here.”  God has given new eyes and ears to see and hear Christ as our life-giving source – full of mercy and truth.  But what we have now is only a taste of what will be.  But the hour is coming when the voice of Christ will shout ‘Live!’ and he will give bodily life to those who hear his voice.  And the change that we experience now will only be a taste of what the change will be like then.  In 1 John 3:2, the Apostle John gives us a glimpse of what kind of glorious change we be, “Beloved, we are God’s children now and what we will be has not yet appeared, but we know that when he appears, we shall be him, because we shall see him and be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”  The life-giving, sovereign, reigning Christ shall finally show us his glorious face and we shall be changed by it to the full degree of glory and he will be our treasure forever.  All of these hopes are ours because of the glorious work that is accomplished through the God-head – the eternal, sovereign, and loving Three-In-One.

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