Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Nov 5 2020 - John 5:25-47 – The focus of all the Scriptures

As we read yesterday, Jesus healed an invalid on the Sabbath, enabling him to walk and sending him on his way, carrying his mat. This provoked the anger of the Jewish leaders who accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. Jesus' response is to tell them that they have failed to understand who he is. He is the Son who does only what his Father has sent him to do. The Father has given him power to give life to the dead and to judge the world. His power to give life has been made visible in a lame man walking. His power to judge will be seen when those who oppose him one day stand before him in judgment.

Jesus has little respect for these Jewish leaders who claim to be experts in the Scriptures but who reject him. They search the Scriptures thinking that if they can only master them and catalogue all their detailed requirements they will have life. But they will not come to him who alone can give life. These Scriptures, says Jesus, all testify of me. If you don’t see that, then all of your studious reading is nothing more than a misreading (John 5:39-40).

It is not that every passage of Scripture is a direct prophecy concerning Jesus – though there are many such prophecies. It is rather that the Bible recounts the gracious promises and purpose of God, and that Jesus is the one in whom this purpose is realised and these promises fulfilled. The many threads that make up the tapestry of Scripture converge upon him. What a tragedy that many of those who claimed to treasure these promises and longed for their fulfilment rejected the one in whom they are fulfilled – the one in whom all the promises of God receive their ‘Yes!’ and ‘Amen!’

The warning Jesus gives to these Jewish leaders reminds us that we also need to learn to read the Scriptures correctly. We need eyes to see the Mission of God that runs through all the pages of Scripture and that finds its focus and fulfilment in the Mission of Jesus. We need to understand the Scriptures by knowing Jesus; not some Jesus of our own concocting but this very Jesus who is brought to us in the gospels.

It is this Jesus who claims that his voice will one day summon the dead from their graves. But he also claims that the transition from death to life does not have to wait until that last day. Those who listen to his teaching and who believe that he truly is the one God has sent to be Saviour of the world – those who trust in him and follow him – have already crossed over from death to life. For them, it is as if the coming Day of Judgment is already history; it’s a done deal.

And not only judgment day but also resurrection day. Jesus has life in himself and gives life to all who come to him. The life of the age to come has broken into our world in him. We who possess life in him become part of God’s big story. We become part of the Mission of God in Jesus as we learn of him, follow him, have life in him and bring that life – life in all its fullness – to a dying world.

Father God, we thank you that all of Scripture finds its focus and fulfilment in Jesus Christ, the word made flesh. We thank you that he is at the centre of your purpose to bring life to a dying world and healing to a broken world. Thank you that the story of Scripture is our story and that you are fulfilling your purposes through us as we are empowered by the Spirit of the risen Saviour. Help us to understand your Word, live your Word and speak your Word that many others may be embraced by your saving purposes in the Lord Jesus.

Peter Misselbrook