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the purposes of his Father, and to work with him. Jesus went on to declare to the men who questioned him, and who might well be filled with awe and fear as they listened to his words, that the holy bond of love which was between himself and his Father, who was the great God, made their will and knowledge one.
JOHN v. 20. “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth.”
So should they see yet greater wonders than they had seen. The mind of the Father would soon be more clearly shown in the works of his Son, and though already God had shown to Jesus great things to be done by him,
20. “He will shew him greater works than these, that ye
They had seen him heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and cast out devils, but now they should see that He was the Lord of Life. All the race of man was given by God into his hands for life and for death, and as a sign of this, they should soon see the dead arise at his command.
21-23. “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them ; (or giveth them life) even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”
What must have been the feelings of the Jews as they listened ! But no time was given them to speak their thoughts. They had called Jesus before them to answer to the charge of the crime of blasphemy, which by the law was punished with death ; and now Jesus solemnly called upon them to hear him, that they might be saved from everlasting death.
Verse 24.“ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from death unto life.”
Solemn, and more solemn still became His words, and higher grew their awful tone
25-27. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God : and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself ; so hath He given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.”
Amazement filled the Jews. Who was this who stood among them, and claimed to have in himself the power of giving lifethe life of the body, and the life of the soul ? Perhaps, some among them felt that life-giving power already stir within them, for the hour was come when the dead,—not the dead who lay within the grave, but the dead in sin,-should hear the voice of the Son of God, and they who heard should live ; live as they had never lived before, to God. All gazed in awful astonishment on Him who claimed authority to judge them. He answered their amazement by words more awful still.
28, 29. “ Marvel not at this : for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his (the Son's) voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” We
may picture to ourselves that solemn scene, when Jesus stood among the Jews, and called up before their minds the future judgment-day; when He whom they now accused of blasphemy against God, should by God be appointed their
Judge. He spoke of the opening graves, and the awakening dead arising at the sound of His voice, and coming forth to judgment, to receive eternal life or eternal death, as they had here made their choice. Did they tremble now? O what would be their horror when that voice, from which they now turned away, would rouse them from the heavy sleep of death ! When they must hear, and hearing must obey !
We do well to picture these things to our minds—to think of them till we seem to hear the Saviour and to see the Jews; for we are but too apt to hear and read the life of Christ as an often-told tale, which passes from our minds as though it had never been. But it is only when we bring the words of Christ home to ourselves, that they still have the power of giving life to our souls. To us they are spoken as well as to the Jews.
We too, in our graves, shall bear His voice, and it will depend upon how we hear Him now, whether we shall come forth “ to the resurrection of eternal life, or to the resurrection of damnation," for before our bodies shall be roused from the sleep of death, our spirits shall long have had their state fixed for ever.
Listen to the words of Christ the Lord, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath, (not shall have, but now has) everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation ; but is passed from death unto life”—is passed out of a state of death, into a state of life. And this is God's truth. In which state are we? Solemn is the question, but let us not shrink from putting it to ourselves. Do we, each one of us, hear the word of Christ with our ears only, as we would the word of any other wise and holy man, or do we receive it, as it is in truth, the word of God ? and do we take it as a warning, shewing the fearful danger of our souls ? a guide by which to find our only safety ? a guard in all temptation ? a comfort in every trouble ? our only hope ? our only strength when the death of the body must end for ever the time which is given to pass from the death of sin, in which we were born, into the life eternal, which He, the Saviour, came to give to all who will so hear, and so believe his word ?
Never let this question pass from our minds till it is fully answered; till we can feel that we may prepare to lay down our
; bodies in the grave, “in the sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection.” *
Prayer. O merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die ; and whosoever liveth and believeth shall not die eternally, mercifully grant to us, that now, in the time of this our mortal life, we may so hear thy word, so believe in thee, that we may never come into condemnation ; but that now, while yet our bodies live, our souls may pass from the state of sin and death, into a state of holiness and life; that when we shall depart from this earthly scene, we may rest with Christ our Lord in sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection. Not for ourselves alone we pray, O God. The hour is come when all may hear thy word and live. 0 send out thy gracious and life-giving Spirit, that none may close their ears against thee, but all may confess thee Lord, and serve thee with gladness of heart, for ever and for ever. Amen.
The chief men of the Jews, who were met together to judge the Lord Jesus for having made himself “equal with God,” saying “that God was his Father," seem to have been, for a time at least, filled with awe.
Not a word was spoken. They were silent ; and Jesus went on to repeat what He had before declared, that all his works and actions were from the Eternal God, whose will was His will, for the will of the Father and of the Son
* Burial Service.
JOHN v. 30. “I can of mine own self do nothing : as I hear, I judge: andmy judgment is just ; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
Jesus did not ask the Jews to believe the wonderful truth, that He who now spoke to them was the Messiah, on His own word only. If He could bring no witness of his truth, He could not be the Messiah so long foretold; but since He could show them that those witnesses they most respected had declared him to be indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, what excuse had they for not believing him ?
Verses 31, 32. “If I bear witness of myself (He said) my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.”
God the Father was the great witness for the truth of the Son; and He had taken care that the Jews should hear this truth. He had spoken to them by the voice of a man whom they honoured, and to whom they had listened. Did they not remember that the Baptist John had pointed him out as the Lamb of God who was to take away the sins of the world ? (John i. 19, 29, 33.) Had they forgotten his answers when they sent unto him, and the record that he bare, that Jesus was the Son of God ?
Jesus reminded them now of this in his anxious desire that they might be saved by being brought to believe in him. But He needed not the witness of any man, and the words of John the Baptist would have been of no value, had they been only his own words which expressed his own opinion; but God had given John a sign by which he was to know the Messiah. This sign he had seen, and therefore he bore witness of the truth.