Sermon – March 17, 2019
Jesus has implied that he is equal with God, something that he has then clarified (while not backing down) in 5:1-24. Here, having mentioned the resurrection, Jesus gives some more elaboration on the nature of the resurrections, and his authority to give life to whom he will. To speak of the resurrections, plural, is important as an implication of this text. We are not simply waiting for the resurrection on the final day, but we have already experienced something of a passage from death unto life with our faith in Christ. What does Christ seek to teach us about the resurrections today?
1. Resurrection is found in Jesus’ voice
The first mention of resurrection is found in verse 25, and is clearly a reference to a spiritual resurrection, akin to being born again in John 3:3-5. This resurrection is needed, for we are dead without it, doomed for a judgment that we cannot pass. It is the very voice of Jesus that provides this for us – it is his calling us as his sheep and his voice that gives us new life. Hear his voice!
2. Resurrection is found in Jesus himself
The power for Jesus to resurrect us comes from himself. God the Father has given the Son to have life in himself, just as the Father does. This means that the Son is the “I AM” just as the Father is – the existent one, who can never not be. Because he is life, he has the power of life in himself, and the power of resurrection.
3. Resurrection is found in Jesus’ choice
While the power comes from being life itself, the authority is given to him by his Father for he is the “son of man.” That particular title means little more than to be human in the OT, but one use in particular gives the phrase a meaning that goes far beyond that. In Daniel 7, a “son of man” approaches God himself and receives a kingdom and glory. This kingdom is eternal and will never be removed. Jesus, in claiming to be this “son of man” is claiming that the kingdom is his, and therefore, he has the right and authority to judge and give life to those he desires. The choice is his – not ours. That is what makes it grace!
4. Resurrection is found in Jesus’ will
Jesus then moves to the final, bodily resurrection. While those who do not believe will be raised for the judgment, those who do good will be raised to eternal life – with bodies that match their already resurrected spirits. What does it mean to do good, though? Does this mean that we are to earn, in some small way, our place in the resurrection of life? By no means! First, the most important “work” we are to do is to believe in Jesus (John 6:29), and second to follow him in his commands (John 14:21). The cause of our faith and our inconsistent obedience is the work of God in us – it is grace. But let us never lose sight of the effects of that grace – our holiness and love.