John 5:16-18

The Gospel writers made it clear that they believed Jesus to be the Son of God. They also ensured that the reader knew Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. There’s no middle ground. He didn’t claim to be another rabbi or even another prophet. Jesus stated with precise words that He believed Himself to be God in the flesh. 

And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” 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. – John 5:16-18, ESV

He healed the cripple on the Sabbath. Then He ordered the man to get up, take his bedding, and go, for the man had been healed. As a result, Jesus came into conflict with the interpretation of men as to what the Sabbath was for. It wasn’t the former cripple whom the religious leaders were after. Jesus was their target. 

This brought about an opportunity for Jesus to make a claim about Himself. He pointed out that God doesn’t stop working, just because it’s the Sabbath. It’s not like prayers suddenly go unheard and unanswered. The Universe doesn’t stop working and go off kilter every Sabbath day. No, God continues to watch over His creation and exert His will. Jesus pointed out this is the way God is. And then Jesus drew attention to who He was by tying Himself to God by calling God His “Father.”

To us, at first glance that doesn’t mean much. We refer to God the Father all the time. We call Him our Father. But we do these things precisely because Jesus told us to do so. In Jesus’ time, calling God your Father would mean you were the same type as Him. In other words, you were God. The same is true if you used the phrase, “Son of God,” or if you referred to yourself in the same way God did, which is “I AM.” Jesus also did these things. Jesus didn’t leaving room for a mixed interpretation. 

It is left to us to decide whether or not to believe what Jesus said about Himself is true. Until Jesus rose again, this isn’t something His disciples truly understood. After He arose and after He taught them again with the Scriptures did comprehension as to who Jesus was break through. So for us it is logical that this is a point of struggle. After all, God setting aside all rights of His divinity to put Himself into the frail form of one of His creations? How absurd! But this is the claim the Bible makes. And this is where we have to make a choice. Do we believe or don’t we?

In this claim there is no middle ground. There are no shades of gray. Either we believe or we don’t. Either we believe completely or we don’t at all. God doesn’t give us the option of a partial choice. Do you truly believe Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe He is who He claimed to be, God Himself? If so, you are to worship Him. I am to worship Him. All who believe are to worship Him. We are to glorify Him first. But He is worthy of such worship and glory. For Jesus was God in the flesh, who chose to leave His throne in heaven and offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He did what no other could do: pay the price for our iniquities once and for all. Therefore, let us respond with hearts glad in joy for what He has done for us. 

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