Yesterday, a dear family friend went home to be with Jesus. Val was very special to us – oftentimes the way to a parent’s heart is thru their children and “Miss Val” loved children, she loved our children, both Mikey and Morgan had her in Sunday School. She was a source of light and joy to all who knew her.
I was thankful that last night in our family reading and study of the book of John, we were up to John 5. Jesus is again tangling with the Jewish Pharisees who are more worried about the tiny infractions than keeping the whole spirit and purpose of the Law. Jesus finally just lays it down for them and essentially says…”Guys, seriously, look…(John 5:23b-24)
Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
There are some really important things in those verses. First of all, Jesus inextricably links himself with the Father. If you were to back up farther in verses 19-23 you’d see he expands further on this. Jesus is from the Father, he really can’t say it any more clearly than that. I’m it guys. Hello? Do you not get it yet? Your whole religious lives are set up to honor God but you are failing to see that God sent me, and so you really aren’t honoring him then, are you?
Second, he explains the way of salvation and guaranteed eternal life.
“Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life.”
If anyone hears what Jesus is saying, and you believe he is from the Father – he “has” eternal life. Not “will have” eternal life. Not “could have” eternal life if you keep all the crazy laws about not carrying your mat on the Sabbath…”has”. As in already has it. Already obtained. A present reality. This means there is no gap in our life if we understand who Jesus was and believe. This means that moment Miss Val closed her eyes and breathed her last breath here on Earth, she opened her eyes in the presence of Jesus. Think about that for a minute.
Third, those who believe Jesus “will not come into judgement.” Why? Well, a clue is back in verse 22 – “the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.” If we understand who Jesus was where then was this judgement of our sins? On the cross. That’s where Jesus, the Son, paid for all the sins of the “whole world” (1 John 1:22). We all have a choice, God has offered his Son Jesus for the payment of the sins of the whole world – however if we do not come to understand that, we cannot then have our sins judged on the cross – our sins are still ‘on us.’ (John 3:36). When Jesus returns, he will be returning to judge the sins of those who have not come to faith in Him, and that is place no one wants to be. Is God trying to get your attention? Is he stirring up your heart to know more about this? Is he beginning to open your eyes so that you understand this?
Fourth, if you believe, if God has opened your eyes and given you understanding of this message – look at the end of v24- “has passed from death to life.” Now it’s past tense, like ‘already happened.’ “Passed.” Our names are already written in the book of life, our sins are judged on the cross and we have assurance of eternal life.
Colossians 1:13-14 helps us out here too — (notice the use of more past tense!)
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
As I was talking and praying with Val’s husband on the phone last night, a part of us was rejoicing in the assurance of knowing that Val is already with the Father, already praising Jesus – she is receiving the benefits now of these wonderful words on John, and the rock solid promises that will get their family thru these coming days and years.
We love you, Val. Can’t wait to worship with you again.