Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 9

John 5:25-32 NASB

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true.”

As I mentioned in the beginning of this study of the Gospel of John, it is not my intent to literally go through each and every verse and comment on it. Yet, as I continue in the Gospel of John, it is becoming very difficult not to comment, because of the words that Jesus says.

As I read these words that Jesus spoke, it strikes me how totally different the whole thrust of what Jesus says about Himself, is different from what one would expect from an ordinary human being. Ordinary humans just don’t talk like this. There is an intimacy spoken of between the Son and the Father. There is a dependency. There is a oneness that cannot be denied. There is a unified purpose for Jesus to fulfill God the Father’s will. Once you start to notice this reality, it appears to be in just about everything that Jesus says.

Many commentaries speak of two resurrections when these verses are discussed. I think the key to this verse is the part where Jesus says an hour is coming ( final resurrection ) to come, and an initial resurrection, and now is, which in essence is the New Birth. When I read this verse, the following verse from Ezekiel comes to mind:

Ezekiel 37:11-13 NASB

“Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.”

Now I could be wrong but I see this as the people of Israel being spiritually dead. “Let the dead bury the dead” (Matthew 8:22). Remember that Jesus said that His ministry was first to the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). And then of course we have Jesus telling Israel (and us) that indeed, we must be “born again” (John 3:7). And then notice that Jesus says the life that the Father has in Himself, has also been given to Him to have life in Himself, and Jesus has been given authority to execute judgement BECAUSE He is the Son of Man. Why did the Father give judgement to the Son? Because Jesus became flesh and walked among us as a man, yet without sin. The lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. No one can say that God doesn’t understand what it is to be human, Jesus, the Son of God, came to us as a human.

John 5:28-29 reads :

“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

This could be misconstrued to appear to be a judgement based on works but such is not the case. We know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The one work that we do which makes us acceptable in the eyes of God the Father, is to believe in His Son. Our “work” is the work of faith in Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 8:1-5 NASB

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.“And any “works” that we have done: 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NASB

“Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to berevealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

And the reason why we ourselves, who believe in Jesus will be saved:

John 6:28-29 NASB

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God? “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

There is a “final resurrection” that the New Testament speaks of.

Acts 24:14-15 NASB

“But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

There is however, one other “resurrection” that is spoken of in scripture as per the following:

Matthew 27:52-53 NASBThe tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

The Gospel of Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions this.

All of these resurrected saints were apparently buried in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Nothing is said about any dead saints who were buried elsewhere. The passage also doesn’t identify any of the resurrected saints by name, but some later Christian writers speculated about who they might be. The suggested possibilities included Adam and Eve, Abel, Abraham, Isaiah, and various other Old Testament figures. Because the earliest followers of Jesus still considered themselves to be Jews, they would have regarded these Old Testament figures as saints.

Matthew also doesn’t say what these resurrected saints did after they were seen in Jerusalem. Many assume that they died again and were put back in their tombs. Such a temporary resurrection could still serve as a preview of the final resurrection prophesied for the End Times.

From my perspective, this is still a bit of a mystery.

John Piper has an excellent post on this particular subject, which is indeed enlightening and can be viewed here:

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/split-rocks-open-tombs-raised-bodies

Plus there is one additional post that I found that throws additional light on this particular subject which you may view here:

https://defendinginerrancy.com/early-fathers-resurrection-saints/

More to follow:

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

9 comments

  1. Thank you, Bruce, for this. As a person who loves the Lord and His Church, I realized this weekend how much I am looking forward to heaven and a time when we can all be together with Him. Right now, I miss my church. The people. The way things were, when we hugged and looked each other in the eyes and could hear what was unspoken. Thank you for all those promises from the Word … pointing straight to our Hope.

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    • Hi Heidi, I know exactly what you mean. If i could just be sure that all of my loved ones were safe in His arms I could leave today. I’m grateful that our paths have crossed Heidi, God’s grace, peace and blessings to you and yours.

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    • Hi Ann, I checked my text on my last post in three different browsers and it all looks good at this end. It could be a script thing from when I copy and paste text from a browser into my WordPress post document. Try a different browser and see if you still see it. Let me know cause now I’m curious! Thanks.

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  2. “Ordinary humans just don’t talk like this” That’s what struck me the first 3 times I read the gospels. Even though I still wasn’t sure who Jesus Truly was, the way He spoke and how He talked to others intrigued me. If nothing else, after the first read, I know that Jesus Christ was a good man and His teachings, if followed by every human would usher in world peace.
    This is an excellent piece Bruce. You touched on few things here that are dear to my heart.
    Blessings

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