A word for the heart

with Alan Bailey

John 5:25-47


open Bible

Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.


A great deal of John's Gospel records the actual words of Jesus. We are in a section where He is speaking and teaching people about Himself. Not all His hearers are believing or grasping what He is saying. As we read, we need to pause and think about the words and we will gain amazing insights.

Verse 25 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes on Him that sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

Jesus is saying plainly that we can be saved from God's judgment by simple faith. Nothing is said about how good we can be; it is a matter of belief and trust. God's Word can be trusted. Eternal life is a gift. When we put our trust in Jesus, we cross a line. On one side there is death; on the other side is life never-ending.

Verses 25-27 "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man."

The Lord Jesus wants His hearers to understand who He is. He refers to Himself as Son of God and then as Son of Man. This last title comes from the Old Testament but emphasises the humanness of Jesus. The Father and the Son have a perfect relationship, the Son being subject to the Father in a relationship of pure love. The Son has power to raise the dead and to judge them.

Verses 28-30 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me."

Through the power of God, the dead shall be raised in a coming day. Those who have trusted Jesus for salvation are seen as those doing good. Unbelievers are seen as doing badly. Judgement day will reveal the truth. It is a solemn thing to realize that our eternal future is at stake when we consider Christ. There are only two directions to go, two destinations. Right now, Jesus stands before us as Savior. In a coming day He will stand before us as Judge.

Verses 31-35 "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light."

Jesus now brings up witnesses to tell just who He is. The law required at least two witnesses, so Jesus' words, while true, were not enough. He mentions John the Baptist who had earlier spoken up and declared Jesus to be the Messiah. However, Jesus places His claims on divine witness, not human. Yet they should take notice of what John said.

Verse 36 "I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me."

The second witness is the visible things Jesus is doing. For all to see, Jesus has healed the sick and done other wonders. His life from day to day shows Him to be different. He lives in harmony with God.

Verses 37, 38 "And the Father who sent me has Himself testified concerning me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form, nor does His word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one He sent."

The Father Himself is a witness. At the time of Jesus' baptism, the Father spoke from heaven declaring Jesus to be His Son. But these hearers are unaware and simply don't know the Father.

Verses 39, 40 "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."

The Bible tells who Jesus is. This is true of the Old Testament as well as the New. Everywhere, the Messiah is spoken of and the words point always to Jesus. But unbelief prevents many from coming to Him. It is true today just as it was then. Life eternal is found only in Jesus. He made that very clear.

Verses 41-44 "I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have God's love in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me, but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?"

Jesus does not base His understanding of Himself on what men may say. Yet He is able to observe what people are thinking. He knows their unbelief. If a false Christ appeared they would believe him. (This is going to happen in the end times which are approaching right now.) These hearers give credit to one another, trusting their word, but they won't give credit to the one who should have it.

Verses 45-47 "But do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me... But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"

This Jewish audience relies on Moses and the law to enable them to please God. But Jesus points out that Moses prophesied the coming of the Messiah into the world, the one and only Savior. So their trust in Moses is in vain. They need to trust in Jesus. The truth stands unchanged today. Jesus is the Savior and He alone.


There were many hard hearts in Jesus' audience. Yet the evidence was stacked against their unbelief. Unbelief is seen as blindness and as disobedience in the Bible. No doubt there were standing there certain ones who eventually cried out for Jesus' death. What a commentary that is on human nature! The good and the perfect are rejected and the bad and imperfect put in their place.

We need to think carefully about our own position. Either we are on the side of Jesus, making Him Lord of our lives, or we are joining the crowds that reject Him. Let us by faith embrace Him for all that He is

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