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The Man Made Whole
Every footstep of the Lord Jesus Christ was one of mercy and of grace. The beautiful thing about Christ's healing and helping hand is, that He made no distinctions in those whom He helped.
One feature of both miracle and parable is the far-reaching spiritual significance that they convey. In the healings of the body, there are direct suggestions as to the methods of Christ in healing the soul.
No miracle of healing conveys a more beautiful picture of the need of the sinner, and of God's plan of salvation, than does the one which we are to study today. Of this much we are sure, the healing of the body in the life of Christ was always subservient to the healing of the soul.
In the life of Peter, he met the lame man at the beautiful gate of the Temple. When he had healed him, the people all came out wanting to honor him for the healing, and to discuss the healing, and to magnify the healing. Peter at once turned their minds away from the healing to the salvation from sin, which is in Christ Jesus, saying, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Whatever may be said of the healing of the body, it is only a transient blessing, circumscribed in its beneficence to the earth-life of the one healed. On the other hand the healing of the soul (salvation) has the promise of this life, and also of that which is to come.
Healing, in answer to the prayer of faith, is a gracious benefaction, but salvation is a thousandfold more gracious.
To which then should we, as believers, give the greater importance, and where should we put the stress of our testimony? Shall we emphasize that part of Christ's ministry which has to do with the mortal body, a body destined to decay and death; or, shall we place the emphasis on the life and its salvation that eternal life, which is the gift of God unto all who believe?
Let us feel perfect freedom in using the healing of the body, as typical of the healing of the soul. "The great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus.
All glory to the risen Lamb!
I now believe in Jesus;
I love the blessed Saviour's Name,
I love the Name of Jesus."
I. THE NEEDY MULTITUDE (John 3:3 )
The day of Christ was not different from any other day since sin entered into the world, and death by sin. There have always been a multitude of sick folk, because death has passed upon all men, in that all have sinned.
Not only this but there have always been a multitude of soul-sick folk. In fact, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is not one upon the earth who has not sinned; nor has there ever been one, with the exception of Jesus Christ, who sinned not. God describes the human heart as deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. He says from the head to the feet there are wounds and bruises and putrefying sores, which have neither been bound up nor mollified with ointment.
All are sick, yet, all are not equally sick. In our Scripture, we read of the blind, the halt, and the withered. The Book of Romans tells us "there is no difference: for all have sinned." This by no means suggests that all are equally sinful. Some have gone much farther into the ways of wickedness than others. There were three whom Christ raised from the dead. The one was the daughter of Jairus, just dead, and beautiful in death; another was the son of the widow of Nain, two days dead, and being buried; the last was Lazarus, four days dead, and of him they said, "Behold, he stinketh." Each of the three was dead, but the effects of death were not the same on any of the three.
If we were to compare the miseries of the blind, and of the halt, and of the withered, we might think of one as bad, another as worse, and another as worst; however, neither the one or the other is to be desired. When we compare the sins of sinners, we may classify them the same way. However, our classification may not be such as God would approve. We would doubtless place the publican and the harlot at the bottom of the list, whereas, Christ said, "The publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you." However, again, we desire to be neither "publican," nor "harlot," nor "Pharisee."
For one thing we thank God there is salvation for all. Every sinner may find salvation in the Blood.
"Come, every soul by sin oppressed,
There's mercy with the Lord;
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.
Only trust Him! only trust Him!
Only trust Him now!
He will save you! He will save you!
He will save you now!
For Jesus shed His precious Blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow."
II. SICK AND SAD IN THE HOUSE OF LOVING-KINDNESS (John 5:2 )
The pool was called Bethesda the house of love and kindness, yet many sick and impotent folk were there. So it has always been.
People are starving, in a world filled with bounty; blind, in a land of marvelous vistas; half-clad, in the midst of the cattle on a thousand hills, where the fields are ripe with waving cotton.
Sinners are lost, in a world where God has written grace and salvation on every turn of the road. Sinners are bound, with the great Deliverer standing near. Sinners are dying for food and of thirst, with the bread of life and the water of life hard by their side.
It is bad enough to go down under the waters and drown with no help in sight, but it is worse to go down with a life buoy in easy reach of the hand.
It is terrible to die from some dread disease, with the physician far beyond one's reach; it is inexcusable to die, with the physician and a sure remedy at hand.
When the sinner remembers that God is not willing that any should perish; when he considers that Christ died for all, and that "whosoever will" may come, he cannot but realize that he is sitting, sick of sin, in the house of loving-kindness and of tender mercy.
He who has received the invitation, "Come for the feast is now ready"; and has heard the call, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," if he will not come, can blame no one but himself if he dies in sin.
"Come home, come home,
There is room and to spare,
And a warm welcome there,
Oh, prodigal child, come home!"
The sense of lost opportunity, will, in hell, cause the deepest wail of many. They will know that it need not so have been. They will know that they are lost, when they might have been found; damned, when they might have been saved. All who die out of Christ, die as the fool dieth, because they might have been saved, had they only stepped inside the open gate of the city of refuge. Christ has said, "I am the Door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
III. SICK, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE SAVIOUR (John 5:1 )
There is a little verse which runs something like this:
"O blind, blind, blind, amid the blaze of noon!
Irrecoverably blind, total eclipse,
Without one ray of light."
That is what comes to our mind, as we see the multitude of sick folk dying in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One able to heal all manner of diseases.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He soon sought out the pool of Bethesda. He went in, and walked among the stricken souls that thronged the water's side. He was there, and the people wanted healing; yet none of them looked to Him.
Even when the man, thirty-eight years sick, was healed, the multitude of others sought Him not. They never spoke one word of welcome to the Great I AM, they never asked His help, nor pleaded their need.
You say they did not know His power, nor realize His willingness to help. Perhaps so, at the first. However they still asked not, when they saw Him deliver the sickest of their group.
However, we will not be too hard on the folk of Bethesda, when we consider the millions now dying, with Christ at the very door. If they are hungry, He is the Bread of Life; if they are thirsty, He is the Water from which drinking, they shall never thirst again. To the blind, He is Eyes; to the lame and halt, He is Strength of limb; to the poor, He is Plenty; to the sick, He is Health; to the dying, He is Life for evermore.
Let us learn our lesson Jesus went to the place where the sick man lay; have we gone to the dwellings of the lost and the dying? Jesus went to the multitude that welcomed Him not; let us go to the ones who need us, not only to those who want us. Jesus went with blessing, and not with cursing; with the helping hand, and not with the tight closed fist: let us go as He went, as heralders of life, and light, and love.
'"Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?
But the Shepherd made answer: 'This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And altho' the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.'
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless, and ready to die.
But all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven,
'Rejoice! I have found My sheep!'
And the angels echoed around the throne,
'Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!'"
IV. THE GREATEST SINNER NOT TOO SICK FOR THE SAVIOUR (John 5:4 )
Just why Christ picked out the man who for thirty-eight years had lain sick, we may not perfectly know. Perhaps Christ saw in him, among them all, the one of greatest need; perhaps He saw in him the one, and the only one ready to exercise faith. In any event there are some truths that grip us:
1. Christ does not cast off the vilest of the vile. Paul could look back upon his past and say, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." It is still a faithful saying "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
2. Christ is able to save all those who trust Him.
"None are excluded thence, but those
Who do themselves exclude;
Welcome the learned and polite,
The ignorant and rude."
No man dare plead that he is too far gone, too deep in sin for the Saviour's power. Christ saved the man of Gadara, the woman who had seven demons, the publican named Matthew, the fisherman named Peter, the persecutor named Saul, and Christ can save you.
3. Christ stood outside the man's will. The Lord Jesus said unto the man, "Wilt thou be made whole?" The Lord holds sacred the "will," the "desire" of every son of Adam. To Jerusalem He said, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Christ seemed to say, "I would"; ye "would not:" I "could not."
We may truly say to every lost sinner:
"God is now willing, in Christ reconciled,
Willing to save you and make you His child:"
That, however, does not mean that every lost sinner will be saved. Hear the last line of the song: "God is now willing, are you?"
"Behold, His hands extended now,
The dews of night are on His brow;
He knocks, He calls, He waiteth still:
Oh, come to Him, 'whoever will!'
In simple faith His Word believe,
And His abundant grace receive;
No love like His the heart can fill;
Oh, come to Him, 'whoever will!'"
V. A CONFESSION OF GREAT NEED (John 5:7 )
1. Unable to help himself. The impotent man could not help himself. He tried hard, and tried time and again; yet, each time he met the same discouraging result, some one else slipped into the pool ahead of him.
This was one great setback, which was, in fact, in the man's favor. As long as we think we can save ourselves, we are unwilling to come to Christ for salvation.
There are many, very many, who are not yet to the end of their own row. They are looking to their own deeds and trusting in their own worth. Some think that, within themselves, is the Divine spark of redemption that needs but to be fanned upon, in order that it may blaze up into eternal life.
There are others, many others, who are still trying to paddle their own canoe over the rapids of their sins, and into the harbor of eternal life. They think they can buy their way into Glory, by doing many wonderful works. They "build the tombs of the Prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous"; they pay tithes of mint, and anise, and cummin; they make long prayers; they compass sea and land to make a proselyte; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and thus they hope to merit a full salvation.
Alas, alas, how long will men be deceived! No man can save himself.
2. None other could help him. Discovering his own helplessness, the impotent man began to search around for a friend to place him in the waters. How illuminating the words, "Sir, I have no man, * * to put me into the pool."
Man cannot save man. The sinner cannot save the sinner. The drowning cannot rescue the drowning. Each man has sins of his own with which to deal. Even saved sinners cannot save unsaved sinners. All that any of us can do, is to say, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" We can only point the lost to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. We can only preach Christ.
"Not saved are we by trying,
From self can come no aid;
'Tis on the blood relying,
Once for our ransom paid.
'Tis looking unto Jesus,
The holy One and just:
'Tis His great work that saves us
It is not Try, but Trust!
'Twas vain for Israel bitten
By serpents, on their way,
To look to their own doing,
That awful plague to stay;
The only means for healing,
When humbled in the dust,
Was of the Lord's revealing
It was not Try, but Trust!
No deeds of ours are needed
To make Christ's merit more;
No frames of mind, or feelings,
Can add to His great store;
'Tis simply to receive Him,
The holy One and just;
'Tis only to believe Him
It is not Try, but Trust!"
VI. THE TEST OF FAITH, OR COMMANDING THE IMPOSSIBLE (John 5:8 )
To the man who had lain sick for thirty-eight years, Christ said, "Rise." To the man who had been carried, Christ said, "Take up thy bed." To the man who could not walk, Christ said, "Walk."
Christ told the man with the withered hand, to hold out his hand; He told the lepers to go to the priests and show themselves that they might be pronounced clean and healed; He told a dead man wrapped in his death clothes to come forth.
All things are possible to him that believeth. The blind, the halt, the maimed, believed, acted and were saved.
Faith is a blessed, living reality. James well said, "Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."
Faith apart from works is dead. A living faith is an active faith.
The impotent man saw in Christ the supplement of His need. With what joy must he have grasped the possibility of health and strength in his sick-worn body. With what abandonment did he thrust himself onto Christ.
This sick man may have heard of the miracles of the Lord Jesus, at least when thrust out upon his own naked faith in Christ, he did not waver.
The Book says, "According to your faith be it unto you."
Remember that faith does not work exclusively in the realm of physical healing; it is just as vital in salvation from sin; it is just as potent in the life of the believer in his prayer life, his life of service, and his obedience to the Divine commands.
"Faith is a living power from Heaven
Which grasps the promise God has given;
Securely fixed on Christ alone,
A trust that cannot be o'erthrown.
Faith finds in Christ whate'er we need
To save and strengthen, guide and feed;
Strong in His grace, its joys to share
His cross, in hope His crown to wear."
VII. THE IMMEDIACY OF SALVATION (John 5:9 )
There are some who argue that it took long ages for God to create the world, and man long processes of evolution. For our part we believe the record that God spoke the Word, and it was done.
There are some who vainly imagine that it takes a long and wearisome struggle of the soul to pass from darkness into life. We believe in the instantaneous leap of saving faith, followed by an instantaneous new life in Christ Jesus.
At Pentecost, we read, "And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." These were saved upon Peter's preaching, and immediately baptized. There was no delay demanded for a prolonged siege of contrition, and for a prolonged process of conversion.
We remember how a dear fellow came to the altar as we gave the call, and professed conversion. He told us at once that he wanted to be baptized. We asked him if he came to the service with that intent. He said no. He had come a godless sinner, at the urge of his brother. Thus, within an hour, he was saved and baptized and went on his way rejoicing, like the eunuch of old.
He left, after his baptism for his home many miles away, and we never saw him again, until several years had passed. Then, in a distant city we ran across him, and learned that he was a true follower of Christ and an honored deacon in his church. His salvation was "sudden" but real and abiding.
Mark the words: "And immediately the man was made whole." He was not made better; or merely improved in his condition he was made whole. God does a real and lasting work in the lives of men.
"Oh, tender and sweet was the Master's voice
As He lovingly called to me:
'Come over the line! it is only a step
I am waiting, My child, for thee!'
'Over the line!' Hear the sweet refrain!
Angels are chanting the Heavenly strain.
'Over the line' why should I remain,
With a step between me and Jesus?
'But my sins are many, my faith is small:'
Lo! the answer came quick and clear:
'Thou needest not trust in thyself at all;
Step over the line: I am here!'"
THE MASTER'S LETTER
"James, I want you to come and see me at 6 o'clock, after you have left the works.
Promptly at the time the young man waited on his master, who had written him the above letter. When he entered the room, after a pause the gentleman looked up from his desk, and inquired, "Do you wish to see me, James?"
Somewhat surprised, holding out the note he had received, he said, 'The letter, Sir, the letter you sent me."
"Oh! I see; you got my letter. You believe I wanted to see you, and when I sent you the message you came at once."
"Yes. Sir, surely; what else could I do?"
"Well, James, you did quite right to come. See, here is another letter for you; will you attend to that?" At the same time his master handed him a paper which he had written. James took hold of the paper, and read "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
As he read his lips quivered, his eyes filled with tears. Thrusting his hand into his pocket he grasped his large red handkerchief, with which he covered his face, and there stood, not knowing what to do. At length he said, "Am I just to believe in the same way that I believed your letter?"
"Just in the same way," was the reply.
"If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater" (1 John 5:9 ).
That night James saw it all, and went home a happy believer in his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He saw that he had to believe God and give Him the same credit and confidence that he would give to the word or message of any trustworthy or business man.
Son of God and God the Son
The greatest of all questions is the one suggested in the twenty-second chapter of Matthew: "What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He?" On a parallel with that question stands the one in Matthew 16:1-28 : "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?" With those questions fully before us, let us remember a third question which was asked by Pilate: "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"
It is the purpose to bring before you five outstanding witnesses to Jesus Christ. We want you to imagine yourself in a jury room, and then we wish to present our witnesses. If our witnesses prove to a conclusion that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, that He is all that He claimed to be, then surely every honest and sincere heart will accept our witnesses, and bring in their verdict, accepting Jesus Christ as Son of God, and God the Son, their Saviour.
We remember very well how the multitude left Jesus as He told them that He was the Bread of Life; that His body was meat indeed, and His blood was drink indeed. After many of the people turned from Him and refused to follow further, the Lord addressed the twelve disciples, saying, "Will ye also go?" They immediately replied: "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of eternal life."
In each of the following five divisions we will bring before you one of these five witnesses. We trust that, if the witnesses prove that Christ is God, and that being God, He is the Saviour, that then each one will give Him the affiance of their heart, and the service of their life.
The one who knows that Christ is Divine, and yet refuses to follow Him; the one that acknowledges that Jesus is the Saviour, and yet refuses to trust Him, must, indeed, love darkness rather than light. Such an one must be classed among those of whom Jesus said, "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life." "Ye have not the love of God in you." "Ye believe not." "Ye receive Me not."
I. THE WITNESS OF JESUS CHRIST TO HIMSELF (John 5:31 )
It is customary, before a jury, for the person on the witness stand to speak for himself. Nevertheless one's own testimony would not be received unless it was backed by the testimony of other witnesses. Therefore, in bringing before you the witness of Jesus Christ, we know that it is a true witness; nevertheless, we ask you to consider the testimony of our other witnesses, before you give your verdict. Let us permit Jesus Christ to speak for Himself, step by step.
1. Christ's assertion that He was God. The Lord Jesus said, in John 5:17 , "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He * * said also that God was His Father making Himself equal with God."
When we heard a man saying that Jesus was the greatest man that ever lived, but that He was not God, we wondered wherein His greatness lay.
Was He great as a philanthropist? Did He endow colleges, or build hospitals, or do anything else in a marked way for His country or His fellow men? Was He great as a financier? Did He heap up money? Was He a successful business man? Did He rule in the realm of commerce? Was He great as a politician? Did He dominate senates and dictate policies to the children of men? Did every man who sought office, first secure His O. K.? Was He great as a painter, or a musician? Did He write His Name on the pinnacles of fame, as a Michael Angelo on the one hand, or a Beethoven on the other hand? Was Jesus great in the world as a writer? Did He write books? Did He startle the world with His poetry, or His rhythmic rhetoric?
Where was Jesus Christ great? He was great because He was God. Great in holiness. Great in majesty. Great in Deity. If you rob Him of His Deity, you leave Him despised and rejected of men. You leave Him nailed between two malefactors. You have Him with but a few hundred disciples as the result of His earthly life.
2. Christ's assertion that He was One with the Father. The Lord Jesus Christ, in John 5:19 , says: "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Jesus Christ, therefore, claimed to be one with the Father. He was so perfectly one, that He did only what the Father did. He spoke only what the Father spoke. His will was only the Father's will. Surely this was a remarkable claim, and yet this is what Christ always taught. He said to the disciples, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?" "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
The Word of God bears testimony that Jesus Christ was the declaration, or, the interpretation, of the Father. It says, "The * * Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."
3. Christ's assertion that He raised the dead, even as the Father raised them. He claimed not only to be the manifestation of the Father's character, but also to do all the works which the Father did. He taught that the hour was coming when all that were in the graves would hear His voice and would come forth. He claimed that He was the Resurrection, and the Life. This is in line with the Word of God, which says that, Christ "shall descend from Heaven with a shout, * * and the dead in Christ shall rise first."
4. Christ's assertion that He should receive honor along with the Father. John 5:23 reads, "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father." He even said, "He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father."
We desire to enter upon no tirade against any organization, and yet the organization which will eliminate the Son, must of necessity eliminate the Father. There is no man who can come unto the Father, apart from Christ; and there is no man that can honor or magnify the Father, apart from Christ.
5. Christ's assertion that He had inherent life along with the Father. Here are His words, "As the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." All of us have life which is begotten. We have life which had a beginning". Not so with Christ. He had life within Himself; He was the Author of life. He even said, "I am * * the Life."
6. Christ's assertion that all judgment was given unto Him. Here are His exact words, "And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man."
The wicked in the day of tribulation will cry unto the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb, for the "great day of His wrath" will have come.
Is it not a striking fact, that the One who so tenderly said, "Come unto Me," also said, "Depart from Me, ye cursed"? that the One who said, "I am * * the Life," also said, "judgment is Mine"?
Thus we have laid before you, in brief, the witness of Jesus Christ to Himself. Our conclusion, as this witness leaves the stand, is that no man in the history of the wide, wide world ever made claims such as He made. No one ever said, "I am the Way." None other ever said, "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My Blood, hath eternal life." None other ever said, "Come unto Me, all ye * * and I will give you rest." None other ever said, " I am the Resurrection, and the Life."
It is useless to cavil. Jesus Christ was either all that He claimed to be, or else He was the greatest religious impostor that ever lived on earth. For our part we accept His testimony. We bend the knee. We crown Him Lord of all.
II. THE WITNESS OF MAN (John 5:33 )
We now bring before you the witness of one man, even John. We take him as a sample witness representing a large crowd. Representing, indeed, multiplied millions of men who have lived down through the ages, and have borne a like witness. Shall we let John speak for himself?
We will take his testimony from the first chapter of John.
1. John proclaimed a witness of the Light. John 5:6-7 and John 5:8 read, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." Jesus Christ was the "true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." We wonder if John was ashamed to give testimony to the Lord Jesus? Let us look at our witness for a moment. He was a man of the wilderness. He came, preaching, near the Jordan. He did not go into the crowded thoroughfares of the city. He began to cry out, and men went to him. They came from all over Judaea. The great men, and the mighty men came. The plebians, the common people came. Herod, the tetrarch, came along with the rabble, to hear the testimony of John.
2. John's witness of Christ he proclaimed Christ's eternity. John 5:15 says, "John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me." We all know that, in actuality, as far as years are concerned, Jesus was not before John. John was six months the senior of Christ, as far as birth was concerned. What then is the meaning of John's testimony, that Christ was before him? John was acclaiming Jesus Christ as the eternal Son. Jesus was before John, because He was before all men. Christ could say, "Before Abraham was, I am." Yea, and He could say, "Before the day was, I am." John knew this, and he spoke of Christ as the eternal One.
3. John proclaims himself the forerunner of Christ. As we think of this marvelous man, we should remember that Christ said of him, "Among those * * born of women there is not a greater Prophet than John the Baptist." Yet, we take the word of John, when a delegation came down from Jerusalem to ask him, "Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that Prophet? And he answered. No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? * * What sayest thou of thyself?" This greatest of men said, and denied not, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord."
"And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if them be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that Prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth One among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." What a marvelous witness is John! The greatest born of woman confessed freely that he was not even worthy to unloose the latchet of the sandals of the Son of God.
4. John Proclaims Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. In John 5:29 we read that when John saw Jesus, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." This is the testimony which John gave to Christ. He believed that the sacrificial Lamb had come. He believed that the One prophesied for 1500 years, in the shedding of the blood of the passover lamb, was now before them. But he went even farther than this. He said, when he saw the Holy Spirit descending, and remaining on Christ, that that Christ was the Son of God. Hear his own words, "And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." In other words, the Lamb of God, was, the Son of God.
III. THE WITNESS OF CHRIST'S WORKS (John 5:36 )
Jesus Christ said that He had a greater witness than John. "For the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me."
We remember how Christ, when but a twelve-year-old lad, said unto His mother, who had sought Him sorrowing, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" We have already suggested in this study that Jesus did no mighty works along the lines of human accomplishment. We have shown that He was not great in the realm where other men count greatness. Yet, He wrought as no other man ever wrought, because He wrought where no man had ever wrought. He worked in the realm of the creative. Man works in the realm of the things that are made.
We know that all things were made by Christ. "AH things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made." Jesus Christ said of old, "Let there be light: and there was light." He had said, "Let the earth bring forth," and it brought forth. Jesus Christ, on earth, by His word turned water into wine. He stood by the dead daughter of Jairus, and speaking the word, she was restored to life. He stood by the bier of the son of the widow of Nain, and, likewise, quickened him. He stood by the grave of Lazarus, who had been four days dead, and said, "Lazarus, come forth." Then Lazarus "came forth."
Jesus Christ lay asleep in a ship. The disciples, who for the most part had been accustomed to the storms of Galilee, were filled with fear for the ship was about to sink. Peter went to the Lord, and, waking Him said; "Master, we perish." With what quiet, unperturbed majesty did the Son of God step forth, saying, "Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?" Then, lifting His hands, He said, "Peace, be still, * * and there was a great calm." The disciples cried, "What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"
When John the Baptist, from his prison, sent disciples to ask Christ if He was the Messiah, Christ said, "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me." Beloved, as we see the works of Christ's earthly life, do they not bear witness of Him that He is the Son of God? His supreme work was the work of Calvary. It was there that He met principalities and powers and vanquished them, "making a show of them openly." His supreme subsequent work, however, was that of the resurrection and ascension. His works have declared Him the Son of God.
IV. THE WITNESS OF THE FATHER (John 5:37 )
We now come to our fourth witness, as God, Himself, clothed with majesty and power, steps upon the scene.
We have heard the testimony of Christ to Himself; we have heard the testimony of John, and the testimony of the works of the Lord. Now, the Father will add His voice.
1. The testimony at Christ's birth. As the shepherds were watching their flocks by night, an angel from God bore witness, saying, "Behold * * unto you is born this day * * a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." The words spoken by angels are true and steadfast.
The angels not only gave testimony at Christ's birth, but they gave testimony at His resurrection, as they sat upon the stone which they had rolled from the tomb. Again, the angels spoke at the ascension of Christ as they bore witness to the fact: "This same Jesus, * * shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven."
2. The testimony at Christ's baptism. At first John would have hindered Jesus, but Christ said, "Suffer it to be so now." Then John baptized Jesus, and as the Lord came forth from the waters, the heavens were opened, and the voice of God spoke saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
This witness of the Father was retrospective. It looked back over the thirty years which Christ had already lived among men, and endorsed Him.
This witness of the Father was perspective. It anticipated Christ's march toward the Cross, His death, burial, and resurrection, which Christ's baptism prefigured, and endorsed it.
3. The testimony at Christ's transfiguration. As Christ was on the mountain with Peter, and James, and John, Moses and Elias appeared with Him in glory, talking with Him of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.
It was then that the Father spoke from Heaven. Peter had suggested the building of three tabernacles, giving honor to Moses, to Elias, and to Christ. Then the Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him."
The Father would not, for one moment, allow any equality of honor or of worship between Christ and earth's greatest seers.
4. The testimony at the visit of the Greeks. The Greeks came saying, "Sir, we would see Jesus." They came at the moment that Christ faced immediate crucifixion and rejection. Christ said, "What shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy Name."
Thus Jesus spoke, and then there came a voice from Heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
Space will not permit further words, but we know that the Father gave indisputable testimony and witness to Christ.
V. THE WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES (John 5:39 )
When Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus He began with Moses, and through all the Prophets He opened up unto two disciples, with whom He walked, all those things concerning Himself.
It would be a task far too great for this hour to give the testimony of the Word of God to the Son of God. We will only quote one passage of Scripture. It is found in the last chapter of the First Epistle of John, verse twenty.
"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."
Here is a testimony to Jesus Christ: "To the artist He is the Chief Cornerstone.
To the astronomer He is the Sun of Righteousness.
To the biologist He is the Life.
To the builder He is the Sure Foundation.
To the carpenter He is the Door.
To the doctor He is the Great Physician.
To the farmer He is the Sower and the Lord of the Harvest.
To the geologist He is the Rock of Ages.
To the horticulturist He is the True Vine.
To the judge He is the Righteous Judge, the Judge of all men.
To the newspaper man He is the Good Tidings of Great Joy.
To the philanthropist He is the Unspeakable Gift.
To the sculptor He is the Living Stone.
To the preacher He is the Word of God."
The Toronto Globe.
Now let us take the testimony of many saints:
TESTIMONY OF WITNESSES
"Who do men say that I * * am?"
"Pharisees, with what have ye to reproach Jesus?" "He eateth with publicans and sinners." "And you, Caiaphas, what have you to say of Him?" "He is a blasphemer, because He said, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." "Pilate, what is your opinion?" "I find no fault in this Man." "And you, Judas, who have sold your Master for silver have you some fearful charge to hurl against Him?" "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." "And you, centurion and soldiers, who led Him to the cross, what have you to say against Him?" "Truly this was the Son of God." "And you, demons?" "He is the Son of God." "John Baptist, what think you of Christ?" "Behold the Lamb of God." "And you, John the Apostle?" "He is the Bright and Morning Star." "Peter, what say you of your Master?" "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." "And you, Thomas?" "My Lord and my God." "Paul. you have persecuted Him: what testify you against Him?" "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." "Angels of Heaven, what think ye of Jesus?" "Unto you is born * * a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." "And, Thou, Father in Heaven, who knowest all things!" "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on John 5". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
Eve of Ascension