Here John the apostle relates how the Jews sought to kill Jesus, first for healing a man on the Sabbath (and thus “working,” vv. 1-16) and second for “blasphemy” by calling God his Father, thus making himself equal with God (vv. 17-18). Jesus did not deny being God! In fact, he spoke more to support that truth in verses 19-23. Jesus then teaches that as God in the flesh (“the Son of God”) he is sinner’s only hope of eternal life (vv. 24-26) and is their future judge (vv. 27-29).
Jesus does not stop talking about his equality with God the Father. Jesus does exactly as the Father directs him (v. 30). His testimony is consistent with all other testimony (v. 31), namely, John the Baptist (vv. 33-35), Jesus’ works (v. 36), and the Father himself (vv. 37-38).
Despite such truth and testimony Jesus said the Jews, despite their in-depth knowledge of the Scriptures (v. 39) they did not believe because out of their hatred of God, believing others, and disbelief in his Word they chose not to (vv. 40-47).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal God in the flesh. Despite many insisting Jesus never called himself God, Jesus’ own words in this chapter indisputably demonstrate this. Indeed, the Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying! (v. 18)
- Unbelievers are entirely responsible for their unbelief. This may seem obvious, but human tendency is to shift the blame to someone else. Jesus gets to the root issues of unbelief here: hatred of God and an unwillingness to repent and trust in Christ.
- The Bible says that Jesus is God. The Bible is God’s Word, what God himself said. God is perfect, so his Word, the Bible is perfect, without error. And Jesus said that the Scriptures testify of him. The problem is never with the Bible, and always with unbelievers (vv. 39, 47).