Key verse: John 5:21
Big idea: The new birth is a sign of the resurrection to come.
John 5 is all about authority. Who is Jesus? How does He dare to redefine the Sabbath and even claim equality with God? The Lord explains that His authority is not something He has usurped, but is rightfully His own. John the Baptist has testified of His significance, and His miraculous works further demonstrate that He is no ordinary man. But the most substantial thing which Jesus did was something which was uniquely the prerogative of God. At the last day, God is the One who will raise the dead and give them new life. Yet Jesus claims to be giving people life too.
He gives life to broken bodies and will go on to raise the dead, but the specific form of life which Jesus was giving now was spiritual. The spiritually lost and condemned are forgiven by Jesus, on the merit of His coming sacrifice. They are given new life in their hearts, where the death of sin is broken and replaced by the vibrant energy of the Living God. Bringing life where there was none is the unique role of God alone, and by doing so, Jesus demonstrated who He is. We can live with the assurance that what the Son begins will not go unfinished. If we are given new life in our hearts, God will raise our bodies also. The day is coming when all those in the tombs will hear His voice and be summoned back to life again. The same authority which can transform our hearts can break the power of death itself.
The transformation of our hearts gives us some hint of what our final resurrection will be like. After being saved, I am still me. I have certain likes and dislikes, certain strengths and weakness, and a general personality. When I am saved, those things are not all wiped away. But there is a sense in which I am also a new creation. I am the same and different. When Jesus calls us up from death, we will be ourselves, yet glorified. Our bodies are both our old ones raised up and yet new. What Jesus' power and authority can do for us by faith will one day be finished by sight.
Discussion idea: How does the doctrine of a future resurrection cause us to live differently than a purely spiritual health?
Prayer focus: Lord, thank You for always finishing what You start. Thank you for redeeming my soul and for the certain knowledge that you will heal my body too.