Sunday, November 26, 2023

“To Your Amazement” [Matt's Messages]

“To Your Amazement”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
November 26, 2023 :: John 5:19-30 

I would tell you to put on your thinking-caps, but they will probably get blown off by this passage today!

This is one of the most mind-blowing sections of all of holy Scripture. This is the “deep end of the pool.”

In fact, there’s a word that we will probably be using a lot this morning that we should just get out there. It’s the word, “Wow.” You might want to practice saying it, “Wow!” Some of you will want to elongate it to two syllables, “Wowza!” Go ahead and say that. “Wow!”

Because one of the most important applications of this passage for our lives today is simply to be amazed.

I took the title for this sermon from verse 20 where our Lord Jesus tells His hearers that what He is teaching them is going to be “To Your Amazement.”

The King James Version has, “that ye may marvel.”
The New Living Translation says, “you will be truly astonished.”
The Christian Standard Bible has, “you will be amazed.”

So what Jesus is teaching us here is supposed to hit us like a ton of bricks. It is supposed to tax our capacities. It is supposed to bend our brains and blow our minds. And at the same time, we are supposed to receive it.

So, let’s do that. Let’s receive it by faith and let it blow our minds. Let’s take the plunge into the deep end of the pool and swim in our amazement.

I have four points of amazing application this morning, and here’s the first one:


Be amazed to see how God is Son and God is Father.

To really get into this, we have to back up and remind ourselves what we read last Sunday. Verse 18 told us that the leaders of the Jews were trying to kill Jesus. To kill Him!

Do you remember why? It’s because He said two words: “My Father.” To refer to God. He called God, in a way nobody else can, “My Father.” And that made the Jewish leaders want to put Jesus to death.

Can I say it? Wow! 

Do you remember the story? Jesus was walking through the crowd at the pool of Bethesda, and He saw a man lying there who had been unable to walk for 38 years. And Jesus healed that man with a word. He simply said, “Get up! Take up your mat and walk.”

And the guy was immediately healed and took up his bedding and walked away. Probably danced away. Wow!

But this healing happened on a Sabbath day, and that made the Jews mad because this man was now carrying something on the day of rest, and that broke their rules. And so they came after Jesus for healing him and persecuted Jesus, probably with verbal assaults. Fighting words.

But Jesus did not apologize or back down. Instead, Jesus said (verse 17), “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too, am working.” And that’s why they wanted to kill Him. Look at verse 18. “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (Jn. 5:18 NIVO).

Do you see the logic?

Think about this from their perspective, because they have a point. How many gods are there? What has been engraved into the Jewish mind since the beginning of their nation?

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is [how many?] ONE” (Deut. 6:4 NIVO). “Yawheh our God, Yahweh is ONE.” 

There is only one God, so if anyone else comes along and says that they are God, then that would make two gods, right? And the Jews have learned over and over again (often the hard way) to reject all other gods. Anyone who sets up another god should be rejected, and, under their law, put to death.

So this guy, Jesus, comes along and says, “My Father is working...” even on the Sabbath, and these guys are no dummies. They know that He’s talking about God. God is the only One Who works on the Sabbath without breaking the Sabbath.

God rested from creating on the Sabbath, but He didn’t stop all of His working, did He? If God stopped working on the Sabbath, we would all be in trouble! And Jesus says that He Himself is working on the Sabbath, as well, because He is God’s One and Only Son. 

Jesus is saying that He stands in an unique Son-Father relationship with God. They think it’s blasphemy, and it would be...if it were not true! Verse 18 again, “He was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

If God has a Son, what does that make the Son? God, too. Right? If a human man fathers a son from his own nature, then the son is human, too. If God has a Son that comes from His own nature, then that Son is God, as well.

But here’s the thing–there are NOT two Gods.

See, the Jews were concerned that Jesus was setting Himself up as a second God, independent from Yahweh. A second God that would inevitably compete with Yahweh. The Son versus the Father.
But Jesus says that it’s not like that at all.

There is only One God. Only One Supreme Being and that One God is Son and is Father.

{And we’ll learn later on in this book that God is Spirit, as well. But we’ll just deal with one mind-blowing idea for today!}

The Son and the Father are not independent of one another. They are in perfect unity. They are in fact One.

Now, you know this already because you have memorized John 1:1. Remember that?

“In the beginning was the Word...” Remember the “The Word” is another name for God the Son. He was in the beginning before creation. He is eternal.

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was WITH GOD.” That shows distinction and intimacy, right? WITH GOD. Back in July we called it, “With-ness.” They are perfectly together.

And then how does the verse end? “The Word was with God...and the Word WAS God.” Always. For all eternity.

With-ness and Was-ness. Is-ness. God the Son is with God the Father and the Son is God just like the Father is. And they are not two Gods. But they are Son and Father.

Which gets us into our passage for today. [Yes, that was all by way of introduction.] Look now and marvel at how God is Son and Father. Verse 19. The Jews want to kill Him, so...

“Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these” (vv.19-20).

Wow! Just try to wrap your mind around this. It’s okay if it doesn’t go all the way around. It’s meant stretch us. Be amazed.

Jesus says that He tells us the truth. Literally, that’s “Amen and amen.” “Yes and Yes” “Truly and truly.” This is how it is. Listen up! “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

See how close they are? They are not in competition. They are, in fact, in perfect harmony, like a perfect Father and Son. In fact, fathers and sons are actually like what They are! They are the prototype of Son and Father!

In the ancient world, most sons grew up to do what they saw their father doing. So Jesus, for example, grew up in the home of His adoptive father Joseph. And Joseph was a construction worker. A “tekton.” Sometimes translated “carpenter,” so Jesus would have learned by watching His adoptive dad doing his trade and would have also done that trade himself.

“See. Here’s how you make a chair. You make one now.”

In these ways, sonship was, most often, apprenticeship. And Jesus says that God is something like that. God the Father works. He does all kinds of God-things. Like healing on the Sabbath.

And, guess what? God the Son does all kinds of God-things, too! In fact, all the same things. He doesn’t do anything on His own. He does everything with and like His Father.

Theologians call this “the doctrine of inseparable operations.” You can impress Greg Strand with that one next time you see him at Stay Sharp. “I was thinking recently about the doctrine of inseparable operations.” 

Verse 19. “Whatever the Father does the Son also does.” Which shows that they are both God and one God. With-ness and was-ness. They share their very being, and they share all of their actions.

And they share all of their affections. Verse 20. “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.” Wow! You can marvel at that one forever and a day. The Father delights in the Son. He loves Him. They are not in competition. They are in perfect harmony. The Father doesn’t hold anything back from the Son. 

And then Jesus kicks it up a notch! He says, “Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.”

What “greater things” is Jesus talking about?

I think it’s “greater things” that simply healing someone on the Sabbath with a word. It’s greater than all the miraculous things we’ve seen Jesus do so far–knowing things about Nathaniel and the woman at the well. Turning water into wine. Healing the nobleman’s son. Healing this man who has been lame for 38 years. 

Greater things than healing. What could be greater than healing? How about raising the dead?! Look at verse 21. “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.”

Wow! Only God can raise the dead, right?  Only God can give someone new life. Jesus says that just as the Father does that, even so He can do it, too. And does. He gives life to whom He is pleased to give it.

Jesus is going to have more to say about that in just a few verses. This pattern gets repeated several times here. 

The Father does something, and so therefore, the Son does, too.
The Father does something, and so therefore, the Son does, too.

But in verse 22, Jesus says that the Father has delegated something to the Son to do that, in some way, even the Father won’t do! Look at verse 22.

“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son...”

Wow. How’s that for amazing?! “To your amazement” is right! 

God the Father can judge (and I’m sure that because of inseparable operations, He still does judge in some way as verse 30 will make clear), but He has entrusted the Son to be the executor of judgment in a way that no one else is.

So now you know Who your ultimate judge is going to be. You know the name of your judge. It is “Jesus.”

And here’s why the Father has given judgment to the Son. Verse 23.

“...that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” 


That’s why the Father has given Jesus the job of judgment, so we should make every effort to honor Him. Honor God the Son as we honor God the Father.

You see the logic here? Imagine going to a master craftsman’s shop and finding a father master craftsman and a son master craftsman working together in perfect master craftsman unity.

And you want their best craft item their list. And the father craftsman says, “We will make you one of those. In fact, my son will make it for you. He can do everything I do just as well as I do. So I’m going to give this project to him.”

Do you see how that honors the Son? It says that He has everything the Father has. It says that He is everything the Father is. He is the father’s equal in everything. Including in eternal judgment. 

Now, the analogy breaks down, of course, because in the master craftsman’s shop, the father and the son are different beings, not just different persons. And the craftsman son had to learn his craft. He isn’t eternally a perfect craftsman, too.

God the Son and God the Father are one eternal being. 

But the truth shines through. God the Father has honored God the Son with the job of judgment to show that He is equal with the Father. He is God.

He is God the “monogenays.” He is God the One and Only! 

And we should honor Him. Because if you don’t honor Jesus, you are not honoring God the Father.  Do you see that?

There a lot of ways to dishonor Jesus. You can treat Him as lesser than the Father. Many heretics have done that over the centuries. You can treat Him like just a good teacher or a moral example. Or even just a prophet. Many of today’s world religions say that Jesus is a great prophet. 

But if you don’t honor Jesus as God the Son, you are not honoring God the Father.

A bunch of people got together over some waffles this morning down that hallway to talk about how to honor Jesus this Advent Season. I was so encouraged to hear about that.

How are you honoring Jesus right now?

Some people want to make Jesus out to be just a nice person. But that will not do. Because of what He said here, right? I mean if someone says this about Himself, he’s either a colossal liar or a crazy lunatic or the Lord Himself. Right?

Have you heard that “tri-lemma” before? C.S. Lewis, who died 60 years ago this last week, made that argument really strongly in his books. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. Those are the only options for Someone who talks like this.

Isn’t this amazing how Jesus talks about Himself? This is shocking stuff. For a human to run around saying that all people should honor Him or they are not honoring God the way they should, is just breath-taking! No wonder they wanted to kill Him.

You see how close He says He was to God? He was saying that He was WITH God and He WAS God!

And if you don’t honor Him, you aren’t honoring God!

And He says something even more amazing. Look at verse 24. This is incredibly important. What a crucial truth from the lips of Jesus! Verse 24.

“‘I tell you the truth [amen amen], whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

That’s our next verse to memorize as a church. Everybody should have this one embedded in your mind and heart. Because your eternal destiny rides on it. 


Again, see how they are in perfect unity. Listen to verse 24. “‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

What a precious truth. Just think about it. “...he has crossed over from death to life." A person in that state has gone from heading to hell to heading to heaven. A person has crossed over being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. 

And that person will not be condemned. They are forgiven. They are free. They are redeemed. They are not under eternal judgment. Instead, they have eternal life! Do you see how this is life and death? This is eternal life and eternal death.

You and are born headed towards eternal death. We deserve condemnation because of our sins. We deserve to persish. But Jesus has come and died in our place for our sins. He has been sent. He he has been given.

In the words of John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He GAVE His One and Only SON that whoever BELIEVES in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

That’s the same truth here. Whoever hears the word of the Son (the word of the Word!) and believes him who sent the Son [that’s the Father!] has eternal life [right now!] and will not be condemned [ever!]; he has crossed over from death to life.

Have you crossed over?

Everybody has to do it or they are still on the side of death. If you don’t know if you have crossed over, it is quite possible that you have not. And some who think they have not because they haven’t listened to word of the Son calling them to repent and believe in what He has done and what He has done alone for eternal life.

Have you crossed over?

Some aren’t sure exactly when they crossed over. That’s okay. I can’t remember when I was born, but I know was because I’m alive. What’s important is to have made the cross over to life.

Hear the Word of the Son and believe the Father Who sent Him to die in your place and you will have eternal life (right now) and will not be condemned (for eternity).

That’s the gospel! That’s the good news of Jesus Christ, and it’s the best news in all of the world.

And it’s what Jesus is to up to right now. Look at verse 25.

“I tell you the truth [again, amen and amen], a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”

The timing there is really important. Notice that it’s about a time that is coming and has now come because Jesus has come and is coming again. 

The dead here are, I think, spiritually dead. They are dead in their trespasses and sins. They haven’t crossed over yet. But the Son of God has now come and called for their faith, and those who hear His call and respond in faith will live. They will have life in Jesus’ name.

Have you heard His voice calling to you? And have you responded by believing the One Who sent Him? If so, then you have life.

How is it that the Son can give us this life?

If you thought this couldn’t get any more amazing, you have another think coming. Because in verse 26, Jesus kicks it up another astonishing notch. Verse 26.

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.”


So the Son can give life because He has life in himself. And He gets that life in Himself in some way from the Father. Notice that it does not say that the Son gets His life from the Father. It’s more complicated than that. 

The Son is not like every other living thing in creation that gets its life from the Father. The Son is like the Father. He has life in Himself.

This is only true of God. God is self-existent. He is uncreated. No one created God the Father. That’s part of what it means for Him to be Yahweh which is related to the word for “Is” or “Be.” When God says, “I am.” God is self-existent. He has life in Himself.

Now, Who created the Son? No one! The Son has eternally existed as the Son. As the Son of the Father. And the Father has eternally granted to the Son to be self-existent. To have life in Himself.

They both have the same Godness. The same uncreated self-existence. And Father has given it to the Son by virtual their eternal relationship of Father and Son.

The big theological word for that is “eternal generation.” Eternal Father and Sonship. 

And the preposition is “from.” So the Son is not just with God and was God but is always also FROM God. He has eternal with-ness and was-ness and from-ness. And you see why I call this the deep end of the pool! Wow.

And this is why the Eternal Son has Eternal Life to give to you and me.

Because He has unlimited, self-generated, self-replenishing life in Himself to dispense as He pleases.

And He also has authority to judge. Verse 27.

“And he [the Father] has given him [the Son] authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”

Jesus is the One predicted in the Old Testament Who would come to be the judge of all humankind and the Savior of His people (cf. Daniel 7:13).

As we saw in verse 22, the Father has entrusted to the Son the authority to judge. The authority to decide forever where someone spends their eternity. Jesus says that that authority belongs to Him. 

And then He says this. Verse 28.

“Do not be amazed at this...”

I can’t help but laugh when I read that because everything He has said here has been amazing. 

I don’t think he actually means to not be astonished. I think he means, don’t let yourself be so shocked that you can’t receive what I’m saying. That you say, “Oh, that can’t be true.” ain’t seen nothing yet! V.28

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (vv.28-30).

Jesus says, “Hold onto your hats, because there is a time coming (and unlike verse 25 it’s not yet come) when I am going to say the word and people won’t just be healed, people are going to come out of their graves.

In fact, ALL WHO ARE IN THEIR GRAVES will come out!

At the voice of Jesus.

In chapter 11, we’ll see a foretaste of this when Jesus says to a dead man, “Lazarus, come out” and Lazarus walks out of his tomb alive. If He had not specified Lazarus, every grave would have opened. Wow.

“[T]hose who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” And Jesus will decide.

What will He use to decide? Jesus will look at our lives and see if they have evidence of faith in Him. That’s what He means in verse 29, “Those who have done good.” He doesn’t mean those who have live clean moral lives and done more good than bad. He means those whose lives have been changed because they have put their faith in Him. 

He just said in verse 24 that those who will not be condemned are those who heard the word of the Son and believed the Father. That’s the same people as verse 29, “Those who have done good.” And “those who have done evil” in verse 29 are those who have never crossed over from unbelief to faith, from death to life. We are judged by our works to see if they show we have faith.

And Jesus will know. And He will judge justly. He will judge in perfect harmony with His Father.

He is not some independent rival god that threatens the Father. He is God the Son eternally begotten of the Father, from the Father and with the Father, seeking to please the Father in everything. He echoes verse 19 in verse 30.

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me" (vv.28-30).


Are you ready for that?

There’s no fooling Him. You and I will not get off on a technicality. The judge will not make any mistakes. He will see if we have faith in Him or not. He is bent on pleasing His Father, and there is no injustice in His Father.

And the day is coming soon. Either the day of our death or the day of His return.

To our amazement.


Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18