Reframing Authority | John 5:18-47

January 6, 2019 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: Reframing Jesus

Topic: Gospel Passage: John 5:18–5:23

Introduction | What is Authority and Why don’t we like it?

Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work,Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series REFRAMING JESUS: Portraits of Glory from John’s Gospel.In Reframing Jesus, our desire isn’t to reinvent Jesus into someone He is not or make Jesus into an image we are more comfortable with. Instead, we seek to have our portrait of Jesus reframed by John’s Gospel to see Him as accurately and glorious as possible.

What is Authority? For most of us think this is a four letter word. No ONE is like YEA Authority! We’re buck the system, fight the man. We resist, we struggle when things don’t go our way. I know this because anytime I’m on I-5 on a road trip, I am never like “Hey so glad to see a state trooper, because I want to be autonomous from the laws of the road I know the limit is posted at 70, but that speed won’t let me win a game I call be my iPhone GPS ETA. Our whole culture is based around the idea that you are your own greatest authority in all things. This plays itself out in a variety of ways… We let our own emotions, intellect, or experiences dictate what is true. That is one of the greatest challenges is when we all have or our or own authority on everything that you have a few billion people running around each with “their truth” which is fine until one person’s truth runs up against another person’s truth and they’re different… so there is either conflict or there are communities and countries start to organizes around some shared understanding of the truth enough to coexist or even have a unifying purpose and this is great until one of these communities or countries comes into contact with a different one. Conflict, war, biggest wins, survival of the fittest. So when we don’t have authority or if we’re smaller we’re fearful. There cannot be peace or truth, or justice, without some Ultimate Authority. One that transcends our limited, finite, flawed, and temporal understanding of human authority. There is one authority greater than all.

In the movie Rudy, the Catholic Priest tells Rudy after decades of theological study he doesn’t know much for sure, but he knows two things “There is a God, and I am not Him.”This is a good place to start but we are given so much for us to understand who God is and how we are to respond. Most of our issues is that we know this idea in our heart but we don’t like it. When Jesus comes along and starts upsetting the religious status quo the issue that comes up is Jesus claim to be God, to be that authority. Jesus teaches us what Authority is, Where it comes from, What it’s for, how it is supposed to be used, and how we should respond to it. So we can move away from a definition of authority as something to be feared or reject to something to be received and responded to out of gratitude when we Reframe Authority.

PART I | Reframing the Source and Purpose of Authority | John 5:18-23

John 5:18-24 |18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

Jesus is responding to their rejection of His work and identity by schooling the on the source and nature of Authority. He doesn’t back down or say “I am like God or I’m gunna become a God or I am a mini God. Jesus doesn’t distance himself from God, He affirms He is… and this puts Jesus as the/equal to God.

All authority comes from God. God is by nature of who He is encapsulates the “greatest authority” in… everything. The issue for how we understand and respond to this ultimate authority comes from understanding who Jesus is. It’s just not enough that we have a concept of God, we need to see how God uses and executes His authority in and through Jesus. The religious people weren’t just upset that Jesus wasn’t respecting their authority or that He was usurping it, it was that Jesus claimed the authority and equality with God Himself. This doesn’t mean Jesus is independent or in competition with God the Father.

Jesus is under authority and Jesus possesses authority (So we are under authority) (v19) – Most people think of authority as being above others, or being at the top. Jesus begins in affirming His credentials as equal with God not by holding up His independence or saying “Follow me I’m GOD!!” Instead he begins by showing that all Godly authority beings by being not OVER, but UNDER authority. Jesus (God the Son) says, I am here and following what God the Father is doing in an through this world. So Jesus is not just under authority, it’s not demotion or subordination. Where are you under authority? 

Jesus Authority has Love and Power. (So we should use love when we have power and pursue power for the purposes of loving others) (v20-21) Both are necessary for us to understand what authority is and how it’s to be used. What happens if you’re missing either one? This happens all the time. Power but no Love – Common and easy to spot the difference. If you have power but no love you’re going to be prideful and domineering. You’re going to make the decisions that benefit you the most or you’re not going to be considerate of others. This is not godly authority.Love but no Power Compassion without the ability to execute is just great thoughts. Jesus says, I have all the authority of God because I am Loved by the Father perfectly. I am empowered for the purposes of stirring worship of God in others. (That you may marvel)

We need compassion and transformational love and to be equipped with the necessary power to produce change, live, and protect against evil. People who are loved by God, are empowered by God for the purpose of others knowing and being loved by God. You can see people healed by the loving power and authority of God in and through Jesus. That’s nothing, you’re going to see greater things. Namely…. People are going to be raised from the dead. The loving power and authority of Jesus will bring people who are spiritually (and physically we’ll see later) from death to life. That’s what the God’s power does!

Jesus Authority has been delegated to Him. (v22-23) (So we should consider what authority we follow) To follow and submit to Jesus is to follow and submit to God. To give glory and honor and recognized Jesus authority over our lives is to submit and Honor God Himself.Conversely to NOT follow Jesus don’t give us a pass to say, I like God but not Jesus. You cannot differentiate or separate them. How you recognize and respond to Jesus is a response to God. Jesus is sent by and empowered by God the Father equal in authority so to deny or reject His authority is to reject God. This is a key understanding of the Christian faith. The stakes are so high for you on this question. How will you respond to the authority of Jesus?

PART II |Reframing the Authority of the Gospel |John 5:24-29

John 5:24-29 | 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 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. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

Authority is a life and death matter. Proper submission to the authority of Jesus is the path to eternal life. Sin tells us that greater life comes from rejection of God’s authority and establishment of our own in it’s place. It is a lie to believe that obedience and submission will lead to less life. It is also a lie that to claim our independence somehow removes us or frees us from the authority and judgement of God. God being God means that God is in every conceivable way is OVER us. There is no where we can run to or go that is not ultimately UNDER His authority. In sin, in rejection (tacit or overt) of God we are in a state that will lead to our death, to our judgement, and we will be judged by God specifically on how we have responded to the authority of God. Know submission to God does not lead to death, it does not lead to less life, or diminished life, it leads to full life, abundant life, eternal life! Jesus comes with authority calling us to submit to His authority for the purposes of giving life. God’s word has the power to bring life where there is death.

We are all people under a present judgement who will face a future judgement. All will hear… This means we will all face an eternity dependent on our works. However, this verse (29) is in the context of what comes before in verse 24. Namely, hearing the word of God (Jesus is God) following and trusting Jesus… that He is the way, truth, life, where eternal life is found…. You are not under judgement… Let that sink in for a moment….. With Jesus, under Jesus, you’re not going to be judged according to your works (exhale) you’re not going to be condemned for you sin. You’re not going to be convicted for your treason against God’s authority. You will not have to face the eternal consequences for rejection of God’s authority. That is all good news. You have passed from being one under judgment to one who presently and for eternity possesses LIFE! This is not something we can achieve by our efforts but something we receive from Jesus efforts in our place. When we consider Jesus life in our place that means His perfect obedience, submission to God the Father and His authority is now in our possession. That is now How God sees us and responds to us. We have eternal life forever, and we have it now even as we’re being shaped and conformed to look and act more like. But we don’t have to wait to know where we stand with God at the time of final judgement when we are In Christ. We have crossed over from a place of sin and judgment to a place of salvation and life. This is a transfer of authority from ourselves (Where we all think and act like it should be) back to where it belongs, back with God. This is a step of faith, but it is not a blind leap to submit to Jesus, we have more.

PART III | Reframing 3 Witnesses |John 5:30-47

John 5:30 | 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. I can do nothing on my own… If Jesus says that.. How much more do we need to know that? With all His Authority, autonomy isn’t independence. Jesus is in and part of the greatest Gospel Community in the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is fully God, Jesus is equal with God the Father, The Holy Spirit isn’t a side kick or 3rd wheel. But Jesus say’s He’s not here on his own will, but He’s seeking the will of the one who sent Him. Jesus is sent, that means while Jesus has fully equality with God the Father He didn’t have a problem being directed to this mission. How much have you tried to do on your own? How do you think about isolation? The authority of Jesus exists for the purposes of manifesting God’s will in world. His judgement is just because it’s not His alone but because He’s there to serve. If you have orare granted authority it is for the purpose of furthering God’s mission and purpose in the world. Jesus has authority, we are given His word (which should be enough) but we are graciously given even more affirmation, witness, of His authority. Authority that is isolated and disconnected from any grounding in reality isn’t not authority. That’s not Jesus Authority.Jesus is out there saying “I cannot be a crazy person who says I am hear alone and now I am in charge.” If there was nothing in history, nature, that confirmed,

The reality is Jesus is God so He doesn’t have to explain Himself to us or give us His credentials. Jesus is bold because he doesn’t need any witnesses but he knows we do. So we’re given additional assurance.

32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. John the Baptist- This was the one who came before, that told everyone to repent (turn from sin) because God’s Kingdom was at hand because King Jesus is at hand. The world was in darkness from our little authorities and needed light to shine. John comes as a lamp (light that comes from a power source) to illuminate a bit about what is true regarding God’s authority and He says, there is Jesus, he’s the one to follow. Jesus isn’t a lamp, He is greater, Jesus IS light that shines. But there is more because Jesus isn’t saying ok this guy (or any man) says I’m God, there is a greater witness. 

36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. Works sent by the Father- Jesus ministry had words and teaching but it also had works and miracles. Not sure I have authority? I speak and give direction and water turns to wine. I’ve come in and rebuked sin in the temple, know the conditions of souls, I’ve said a long-distance healing to an officials son, and I just told a guy paralyzed for 38 years to stand up and walk… and he did. I have the power for love.

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” God’s word from the OT (Moses) – While eccentric prophets in the wilderness, and exciting works among the people stir intrigue and interest both can fade into the shadows of history and are not portable beyond one time and place, we have been given a witness that is timeless and endures across time and place. God has been so good to us to give us His word that endures and tells us He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So Jesus isn’t some new “god” or authority but He is the eternal God from the Beginning. Some will desire to search God’s word hoping in it they’ll find some authority in or over their lives, or to proof text their own authority, or use it to lord judgement over others. No! The Bible is our authority only and because it is about the identity, authority, and saving power of Jesus. Moses, the Spirit inspired author of the beginning of the OT says this God that created, God that makes good, that delivers slaves, the promises life and presence, that forgives sin, that leads His people through wilderness, who promises a savior-King, THAT God… That God is Jesus.

There are three witnesses here of who compels us to receive Jesus’ authority in our lives, but in this section there are also three consequences for rejecting the authority of Jesus.

WE don’t have God’s word if we don’t believe in Jesus (v 38) – That is the source of life and the source of authority.This keep us disconnected from right authority. We don’t know what God is telling us, we don’t know what God looks like so we have no idea what truth and Godly authority is actually like. We are not led in the here and now by God, presently.

We don’t have eternal life (v39-40) We can know all the bible in the world and you and you can do your reading plan, but you miss the point if you don’t find and get more of Jesus. You have knowledge but no power, you have the word but no life.This keeps us disconnected from the sources of life, we are refusing the source of life so we are condemning ourselves to lesser life and ultimately death. Future implication.

We seek the approval of man over the approval of God (v44) – This is one of the most damaging to our present. It keeps us under the oppressive authority and judgement of others expectations and perceptions of us instead of what God has judged about us in Jesus and who He as the authority declared who we are.Not that we don’t learn and grow from others in Gospel Community, but we will consciously or unconsciously give authority to or instead seek glory in everyone else liking us, lauding us, or how the respond to us. We submit to authorities we weren’t meant to. We follow someone or others that are “less than God” Where are you believing lies from others about you?We will react to others rather than be settled in who we are regardless of others, so we can be more considerate of others.

There are consequences but there is also compassion from God. The Point of Jesus teaching on Authority and pointing us to Him as THE authority over Judgement, life, death, is so we will not only run from or not submit to false authority. The motive of all Jesus is point us to is found in Verse 34…That we might be saved.

Saved from a life without God’s word to one flourishing and overflowing with God’s word.

Saved from a life that ends in Judgement and death, to one that never ends with acceptance and joy.

Saved from a life lived under the approval of man to one where we are approved by God when we Trust Jesus.