Christ the Center - RR197G14

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Christ the Center
Course: Course - The Gospel of John
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 14
Length: 0:35:23
TapeCode: RR197G14
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
The Gospel of John.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by permission of the Chalcedon Foundation

Let us worship God. Oh Lord open Thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. For Thou desirest not sacrifice else would I give it, Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart oh God Thou will not despise. Let us pray.

Our father we give thanks unto Thee that Thy word unto us through Jesus Christ is a word of grace, of mercy and of blessing. Give us joy in Thee and in Thy so great salvation. Make us ever mindful that this world is a place of warfare and though we are often sorely tried in the battle we have always the blessed assurance of victory in Christ. Give us Thy peace, Thy courage and strength in the face of adversity that in Christ Jesus we may be more than conquerors. In His name we pray, Amen.

Our scripture is John 5:17-47, our subject: Christ the Center. John 5:17-47.

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.

33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

41 I receive not honour from men.

42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.

46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.

47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”


We have in these verses a statement by Jesus of His...

We have in these verses a statement by Jesus of His nature and authority. This follows after two miracles or signs, the healing of the son of the nobleman or basilicas, and the healing of the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda. The words of our text are clearly a statement on the nature of the Son and His relationship to the Father but they also throw light on the basilicas and the cripple. First in verses nineteen through twenty nine we are told of the nature, authority and prerogatives of the Son. Where this episode took place we do not know but in verses eighteen and nineteen it is clear that it was to some of the religious leaders who sought to kill Him. In part the issue is this: who is Lord over the Sabbath? What is permitted on the Sabbath? This is the issue in the background. Also who defines life and morality? God or man? Our Lord begins by insisting on the absolute priority of God the Father to the incarnate God the Son who is both God and man. All the same while the Son is totally directed by the Father this is because of an identity of purpose and it is a witness to their oneness. Separate action is not possible because of their unity which is grounded on a moral necessity and oneness. Plumber’s comment is and I quote:

“That a Father’s love for the Son compels Him to make known all His works to Him. The Son’s relation to the Father compels Him to do what the Father does.” Unquote.

The Son’s work on earth was determined beforehand in heaven. In verse twenty nine we are told that the great work of the Father and the Son is resurrection. Our God is in the resurrection business. We are the resurrection people. This is His purpose for us. Of course the primary reference here is to regeneration of the spiritually dead but the physical resurrection is also obviously in mind. This is the great work undertaken by the Son at the Father’s direction, to take those who are spiritually dead and to make them a new creation and then at the last: to raise them up from the dead. [00:10:11]

The Father, verse twenty two tells us, has given all...

The Father, verse twenty two tells us, has given all judgment into the hands of the Son. So that all men should honor the Son as they ostensibly do the Father. Since atonement is the work of the incarnate Son it follows that judgment is also because Christ’s atonement is the supreme act of judgment on sin. We have sentimentalized the cross and atonement and therefore we have forgotten what our Lord Himself says: God has given judgment into His hands, for this reason Christ had to die on the cross. It was God’s judgment upon the sins of His people. Therefore Christ took upon Himself our judgment but then His judgment upon the ungodly is the other side of the cross. It is their reprobation. Since atonement is the work of the incarnate son we must always see it as an aspect of His power as the judge. For us the cross, for others reprobation and the last judgment. This is why Christ is supremely the judge at the last judgment. He was the judge on the cross and the victim and at the last judgment those who are not of the cross are of the judgment. The modern church has made the atonement an instrument of sentimentality while the Bible presents it as evidence of the deadliness of sin and the radical nature of judgment. [00:12:49]

It follows therefore that all men should honor the...

It follows therefore that all men should honor the Son, verse twenty three tells us, even as they honor the Father and failure to honor the Son is failure to honor the Father. The law and justice of God are basic to the cross and to judgment. Sin in the sight of God is so serious because God takes His law so seriously that only God the Son can make atonement for our sins. To hear Jesus Christ therefore is to hear God, to believe on Jesus Christ is to have everlasting life now, beginning now and to escape from condemnation. It is passing from death into life our Lord tells us in verse twenty four. We are now legally the heirs of eternal life and our growth is now in terms of it. That’s why God continually shakes up, chastises, compels His children to grow. Like the Father the Son imparts life to whom He will. There comes an hour in the world’s history our Lord says when all the spiritually dead whom He has chosen hear Him, the Son of God. They hear and they live, verse twenty five tells us. Both the Father and the Son are alike the fountain of life, both are one God, one nature, we are told in verse twenty six. The Son is made judge with authority, He is made judge over the living and the dead because He is truly man, the atoner for men. He is the victor over sin and death, he has thereby, verse twenty seven goes on to say, authority to be the great judge over all men. [00:15:49]

In due time even the dead shall hear His voice our...

In due time even the dead shall hear His voice our Lord says in verse twenty eight and they shall arise to a resurrection of life or to the resurrection of judgment according to verse twenty nine. Our Lord now turns in this second section to the charge made in verse eighteen that He made Himself equal with God and He deals with this in thirty through thirty eight. He cites the witness of John the Baptist, verses thirty to thirty five. Then the witness of His own works, verses thirty six through thirty nine. And then the witness of the Old Testament in verses thirty nine and forty. He begins by declaring ‘I can of mine own self do nothing’. In all things the incarnate Son very God of Very God and very man of very man reflects the will and the judgment of the Father. There is no independent claim on His part, He sets forth God’s truth. No variation, total identity. His is not a self-attestation because it is not Himself per say that He represents He says in verse thirty two. John the Baptist’s witness he tells us was a clear one but Jesus does not rest His case on a man as he continues in verse thirty three and thirty four to tell us. But He does take occasion to call attention to John as a burning and shining light whom they did to a point accept, coming as he did of a priestly line. One wonders they were not comfortable, the Pharisees and the leaders of the people, Sadducees, scribes, with John the Baptist but of course in a sense he was one of them, he came of a priestly line. [00:18:47]

His father had officiated in the temple and the holy...

His father had officiated in the temple and the holy place. It was hard to reject someone with that kind of lineage, in a sense he was one of them but they were not happy with him. He, John the Baptist, spoke of the coming of the Messiah, he pointed clearly to Jesus, but Jesus was not a union member, He was not of the priestly family so He was offensive. But our Lord continues to say He has a greater witness than John. The works He does empowered by God witnessed to Him He tells us in verse thirty six. Moreover God the Father witnesses to Jesus Christ’s office, His calling and His nature but this is a witness they will not hear our Lord tells us in verse thirty seven and thirty eight, they have separated themselves from His word. Jesus now cites the witness of the Old Testament in verses thirty nine and forty. Search the scriptures and you will see that they testify of Me He tells them but willfully ye will not come that ye might have life. They want eternal life from the word, the scriptures, while ignoring the word thereof. They push onto the word their own interpretation which points to them! After all they have the union card. Now in the third section, verses forty one through forty seven in the words of B. F. Weskit [sp?] I quote:

“Price starting from the fact of a want of will to believe in his hearers unfolds the cause and the end of their rejection of himself.” Unquote.

Our Lord says he does not receive His honor from men as His enemies do who do not love God. [00:21:40]

When such people honor one another they do so because...

When such people honor one another they do so because their standards are alien to God. Moses is their accuser before God, Moses who they professed to follow, but they disbelieve his words. They give another interpretation to them and so too they disbelieve Christ’s words. Now, in the light of this we can see its relevance to the two previous signs, the healing of the basilica’s son and especially the preceding section, the lame man at the Bethesda pool. The basilicas, the nobleman, heard and believed, his election and calling manifested itself in hearing ears and a trust in Christ’s word. The lame man and the religious leaders witnessed a work of grace and saw it as lawless and they said that because Christ had healed on the Sabbath He must die. The lame man did not ask for healing, he gave no thanks for healing and most likely the healing was no blessing to him, he now had to work for a living. And as soon as he found out who had healed him he reported Him to the leaders of the people. No gratitude there. I recall years ago a comment made about a man and it was this: if you want to make him your enemy do something good for him and to him. What this meant specifically in this case I don’t remember, if I ever knew, but the experience of receiving evil for good is a common one. The peoples of Judea and the lame man were the particular beneficiaries of great and marvelous mercies and yet the leaders of the people crucified Christ. [00:24:35]

Let us assume for a moment that the lame man thanked...

Let us assume for a moment that the lame man thanked our Lord and then went his way unconcerned about Jesus except as a healer. We know he did not, but let’s assume it. He would have then accepted the grace and mercy of healing but not the healer. His status would have been no better but he did not even give thanks, in fact he went to the leaders to document their charges against Jesus. Our Lord in this healing called attention to Himself as God’s grace and judgment walking on earth. To receive only the healing and not the healer would have been no less offensive. The center cannot be what happens to us, however much we want something, but Christ Himself. Christ was rejected by the religious leaders because His mission was greater than their hopes and plans. They wanted a messiah on their terms, not on Gods. Instead of being what God requires of us these and all such men want God to be what they require God to be. I recall vividly a woman in a hospital bed who insisted on hearing me read one particular text, I cannot believe in such a God, I told her but there is no other God. She turned her face to the wall and within a day or so she was dead. The lame man was not happy to have God the Son reorder His life. He would have preferred to be left alone, this was to imagine a vain thing, no man can ever side step God. The fact of sin involves all men and sin requires atonement, atonement means judgment. If Christ is not our vicarious substitute then the judgment falls upon us. Therefore the severity of the judgment on Jerusalem and Judea in the War of 66-70 A.D., our Lord described it as the worst disaster that had ever happened or ever will. [00:27:39]

The fact that the lame man at Bethesda is nameless...

The fact that the lame man at Bethesda is nameless to us does not diminish the evil of his life nor excuse him from judgment. Too many people like him today want God to leave them alone, this is to imagine a vain thing. When the miracle occurred the lame man did not know who Jesus was nor did he know when the authorities questioned him. After Jesus identified Himself it is almost a certainty, it is hard to imagine that somebody said ‘Do you know who that was? That was the great prophet, some think he is the Messiah!’ …none of this mattered to the once lame man. He went to the authorities to tattle. He resented having his life messed up and he wanted to be left alone. The people of sin imagine a vain thing. Let us pray.

Our Father Thy word is truth. We thank Thee that in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross Thou hast judged us, sentenced us to death and resurrected us into everlasting life. How great and marvelous are Thy ways oh Lord and we praise Thee. Give us always a grateful heart, joyful in Thy mercies and ever ready to serve Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] What was that again?

[Question] This lesson helps to illustrate why people sue Obstetrician when the result is not to their liking and the Obstetrician has very little influence on the outcome.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, in the February readers digest there is an amazing instance of the blindness of sin. This boy on an overpass in Chicago took a sizable rock and threw it at a passing car. He missed the windshield which would have led to an accident and killed them. The result was a big dent on the hood. The owner of the car was able to catch the boy, he stopped and raced up and chased the boy down and caught him and a police officer came. [00:31:54]

The father of the boy threatened a lawsuit against...

The father of the boy threatened a lawsuit against the driver of the car for grabbing ahold of the boys arm. It hurt his boy he said although the inspection by the police indicated no bruise. Now people are so wedded to their way, my way be done and don’t tread on me, that they are incredibly and willfully blind. So there’s no limit to their blindness.

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Yes. The number of lawsuits has so arisen that we are the most litigious country in the world, our courts are clogged with irrelevant suits and totally relevant ones where murder is involved, plea bargaining takes place and people get off with a very light sentence. Justice is not very real to the courts anymore. Any other questions or comments?

Well if not let us conclude with prayer.

Our Father, keep us from the blindness of sin. Cleanse us daily of our besetting sins that we may see ourselves and the world around us clearly and honestly. Be with us day by day, minister to our needs, be with our loved ones to bless them, to make them Thine and to guide them. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.