Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Judge of the Whole World (Jn. 5:19-30)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 30 May 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

John 5:19-30

Jesus received the special status to be the Judge of the world. Here we see the completeness and uniqueness of Christ that cannot be seen from other religions. Nobody and none of the great teachers ever declared to be the judge of the world. No great teach has ever demanded worship. But we see the uniqueness of Christ in His divinity. He accepts human worship. He is clear that He is God in the flesh. He is also clear that He is God in human form. He could feel tired as a human being but He has the power over nature. As a human being, He executed the power from God. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man.

He is the God that has given us life. He declares Himself to be the life and the resurrection. He said the Father has given him the authority to judge because He is the Son of Man (Jn. 5:27). Those who hear the voice of the Son of God will live (Jn. 5:26). All who are in the graves will hear his voice and come out to be judged (Jn. 5:28). It is the work of God to resurrect all to face judgement. Yet Christ is given the authority to judge because He is the Son of Man (v.27) – rather than the Son of God. This sounds very paradoxical.

Those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. The purpose of resurrection is for judgement and God has given the authority to Jesus. (v.28-29). This is sure to happen. All wrongs will be fixed. This Jesus who resurrects everyone is also the One who will judge. When the Son of God calls out His voice, everyone will be resurrected. The Judge will be Jesus the Son of Man.

This is because as the Son of Man, He once received the most unjust judgement. So in the future He will be the just Judge. He was unjustly treated, but now He will solve the injustice of the whole world. God give the authority to Him because He is the Son of Man. What does it mean the Son of Man and the authority to judge? If Jesus was not judged before, He does not have the privilege to judge the world. God exalts Him because He humbled Himself. The difference between Satan and Jesus is that Satan is not God but wanted to be God. As creature he wanted the status of the Creator. But Christ is God and He humbled Himself by becoming a man. When we sing we want to be like the Lord, it is not to be God, but to be like our Lord who humbled Himself and was obedient unto death on the cross. He was the Creator when the world was created but He was willing to come into the world He had created. This is the key of spirituality.

God the Father saw how He was unjustly treated and gave Him the highest authority to judge the world. Many people who know theology are not spiritual. Many intellectuals have an empty heart. Few are willing to sacrifice themselves to preach the gospel. Being an evangelical is not just an intellectual pursuit but it is a lifestyle. Many Christians know this but they are just not willing to obey. They do not want to be disciples and follow Christ’s footsteps.

When Jesus was judged and punished, he kept quiet. He did not retaliate. Like a lamb to be slaughtered, He prayed, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” When God say, “rise and be judged!” we will be resurrected for judgement, but behold, we will see that it is not God, but it is the Son of Man, a man, who will judge us by the authority God gives Him.

At the height of His trial, Christ remembered His noble status. He told Pilate that without power from above Pilate had no power over him. He was silent before Caiaphas the high priest. (Matt 26:63-64) Eventually Caiaphas asked one question, “Are you the Son of God?” This question is not to understand the truth but to trap Jesus because Caiaphas already made up his mind in unbelief. Jesus affirmed He was the Son of God and was accused of blasphemy. But immediately after that Jesus said, “In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coinging on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). He said “the Son of Man” because they did not believe the Son of Man is the son of God. How could the One coming from heaven be the son of man, not the son of God? But indeed they will see that this Son of Man they did not believe in and judged unjustly, will one day judge them.

When God is judged and condemned by sinners, God is silent. The moment God keeps silent is very frightening. Jesus was silent. Why is it that Caiaphas and Pilate are not afraid? Because they are most arrogant. They are judging the Judge of the world. But Jesus told Pilate that without the power from above, he would have no power over Him. The person who was being judged now challenged the judge. He will one day judge all the judges in the world.


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