Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Jews' Response to Christ's Testimony (Jn. 5:30-47)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 13 June 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

John 5:30-47

Hardened hearts cannot see the glory of God. Jesus healed a man who was paralysed for 38 years. Instead of seeing the glory of God, this incident marked the beginning of the Jews’ plot to kill Him. All they knew was that Jesus violated the Sabbath law. They could not see the power of God. The miracle did not bring about faith. Instead, because they have no faith they could not see God’s glory.

The true emphasis on the Sabbath is not the “day” but the “rest”. God said the Israelites tested Him for 40 years, so He swore they would never enter into His rest. Through the prophet Isaiah, God revealed that He was sick of their Sabbath observations. They offered a lot of sacrifices but God was not pleased.

The wrong tradition lasted until the day of Jesus. Jesus purposefully healed on the Sabbath to expose the error of the Jews. He would eventually be killed by them. But His death and resurrection is God’s eternal plan.

Christ gave us an important principle about how truth is verified. The central focus of entire Hebrew culture is truth. It is about the true God who reveal the truth so that the people can have the true faith and truly return to Him in repentance. When truth departs from Jewish culture, the entire religious rituals become meaningless. In such falsehood God cannot be found. God hates hypocrisy. Jesus condemned all the hypocritical religious leaders. They do not understand the true meaning of Sabbath so they have not in truth observed the Sabbath.

In the fallen world, the court which is supposed to establish justice, is the place where the most injustice happens. Many governments make use of the court system to find ‘legitimate’ ways to fix those who rebel against them. The church is supposed to preach the truth and become the conscience of the society. In the past the sinners seek absolution from the Church. Now the church is seeking absolution from the public. The power to rebuke is gone because the church has done many unrighteous things. The pulpit ministry loses its power.

The living God has the authority to judge and has given the authority to the Son of Man. In the most corrupt times, Jesus came. The Son of Man who is supposed to judge the entire world came and was judged by sinners. When God wants to reject man, He will allow us to think it is us who reject Him. Sinners do not think they are in pathetic state. When grace comes upon you, it is the wisdom of God. When grace does not come to you, it is also the wisdom of God. God is always the Active One.

Truth is not dependent on people’s reaction and will not change with time. Falsehood cannot stand the test of time. God’s existence is not dependent on our belief. Often we think God can change because we ourselves are changeable.

Christianity denies sole testimony. When God wants to give us the truth, the truth will prove itself by all kinds of tests. The truth will come by multiple witnesses. It cannot stand on just a single testimony.

Yet millions of people listen to people who come in singular testimony, like Sakyamuni. But Jesus said if I testify of Myself, My testimony is not valid. Although Jesus did testify of Himself, His testimony is confirmed by multiple witnesses. This is the foundation of the completeness of Christianity. John the Baptist testified of Jesus Christ (Jn 5:32), His own works testified of Him (Jn. 5:36), God the Father who sent Him testified of Him (Jn. 5:37) and the written Scripture bears testimony of Christ (Jn. 5:39).

The Jews still did not accept Jesus despite all these testimonies. Apologetics do not bring people to Christ. Jesus said to the Jews, “You diligently search the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life” (Jn. 5:39-40). This is most horrifying. Some people study all the time without wanting to know the truth.

Jesus said they do not have the love of God in their hearts. He came in His Father’s name and they did not accept Him but they accepted many who came in their own name. They are blinded by the concepts in their hearts so they would not come to Christ despite all the evidences. Because they do not have the word of God in their hearts, so when the true Word come, you could not receive Him.

If you have the love of God in your heart, you will love Christ as He is sent by God. If you have the truth in your heart you will come to Christ as He is the Truth. Jesus is the stumbling stone. How do you know this man without a comely appearance is really the Son of God? People with true authority often do not have that appearance. Some people deceive others by having that appearance of authority but not truly have it.

The Jews rejected Jesus. How do you respond to Jesus?


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus gave the apostles the authority to preach the gospel.

But these days, the Christianity is in chaos. Every 'believers' claimed to have 'authority from holy spririt' to say whatever their interpretation as teaching of Jesus Christ.

What a sad and confusing state.

At 1:45 AM, Blogger Benjamin Ho said...

Hi Mejlina, very very encouraged by your steadfast service in this translation work. Continue to keep up the passion and faithfulness! See u soon=)


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