19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24″I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25I 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. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28″Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30By 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.
“The proliferation of websites promoting religious hatred is an unfortunate consequence of the universality of access to the Internet,” said Vinay Vallabh, the lead author of a report that attacked the Christian groups for their expression of their beliefs. “We must vigorously identify, condemn and counter those who use the Internet to espouse chauvinism and bigotry over the principles of pluralism and tolerance,” Vallabh said. (See the previously cited link to World Net Daily, posted yesterday for context.)
I just finished watching a four minute video of a preacher in India being persecuted. There’s no context to suggest, necessarily, why he is being persecuted, but the website where the video is posted (www.persecution.org an organization associated with Voice of the Martyrs) leads me to believe he is being harassed because of his faith. I have often wondered, why is it that those who are on the front lines screaming and yelling that others must be tolerant of their religion are so intolerant of the faith of others? What I mean is this: There are many, like Vinay Vallabh, who say that Christians must be tolerant and yet his level of tolerance is to censor and monitor Christian websites. I wonder if he feels the same about Muslim websites? He probably does not have that kind of nerve.
Or, let’s consider these excerpts from www.israeltoday.co.il/ or http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=13162
Gaza-based Muslim groups affiliated with Hamas and possibly Al Qaeda have warned local Christians that Hamas’ military conquest of the volatile coastal strip means they must now fully submit to Islamic ritual law.
In an [interview with World Net Daily], Sheikh Abu Saqer, leader of the group Jihadia Salafiya, said that Gaza’s Muslims “expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza.”
“Missionary activity” will no longer be tolerated, and those suspected of trying to covert local Muslims to Christianity will be “harshly punished,” said Abu Saqer. Additionally, the consumption of alcohol is now prohibited in Gaza, and all women must fully cover themselves in public.
Now, who is intolerant? Everyone is allowed to be who they want except for Christians. Everyone is allowed convert people to their faith, except for Christians. Who, I ask again, who is intolerant of whom? But let’s be honest with Scripture and see what Jesus says. He says he only does what the Father is doing. So he can’t do anything else. He only does what the Father does. Now look what happens next, because it is quite amazing.
First, he says that that Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does (v 20). There are no secrets not shared. God the Father is in complete communication with God the Son. They work in concert, together, in complete unity, harmony and there is no disparity between the two. Who else can say that?
Second, he says that the Father raises the dead, and so does the Son ‘give life to whom he is pleased to give it.’ (v 21) No one else can say this. It means that Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades. It means that Jesus is the life-giver and the life-receiver. It means that apart from Jesus there is no life. God has testified about no one else in this way.
Third, he says that the Father has entrusted all judgment to the Son (v 22). And here is what God has decreed: “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” If I am reading this correctly, what he is saying is that if you want to cross over from death to life (which necessarily means there are a lot of folks right now living in the land of the dead), then you must honor the Son. This is the most intolerant statement around! It is the most exclusive statement around: If you don’t honor Jesus you are not honoring the Father who sent Jesus. Life is found only in Him and in no one else.
Fourth, what I just touched on above is this: the Father and the Son share the honor of being God. (That’s probably not a very good way of saying it.) (v 23-24). The Father has decreed that apart from belief in Jesus there is simply no life, only condemnation. The Father has decreed this! God has said that apart from Jesus there is no life. He did not say through Hinduism, through Islam, or even through Judaism. He said through the Son. Period.
Fifth, (v 25-27) The Father has granted the Son to have life in himself. He has given the Son the authority to Judge—this means he is not only Sovereignly authoritative, but, I believe, morally authoritative. So, when anyone else passes judgment on Christians their judgment is essentially meaningless insofar as eternal life is concerned. Their opinion means nothing. The only opinion of the Christian that matters is the Son’s opinion.
Sixth, the Father has given the Son the right to determine the standards for salvation. He says those who do good will rise to live and those who did evil will rise to condemnation. But we know it is more than just good and bad deeds because Jesus has already said in verse 23 that eternal life involves honoring the Father and the Son, in verse 24, hearing the Word of Jesus and believing in Him and the One Who Sent Him. The point is, that Jesus is the One who makes this determination. It is Jesus who has decided, in line with the Father, the standards of salvation. No one else has been granted this authority, this right, and certainly no one else does these things in accord with the Father.
And this is because, as Jesus says again, “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.” I think it is hard to escape the meaning Jesus words in these verses. He is making exclusive, intolerant claims to the ways and means of salvation, to the path of life and death, to the conduct of right and wrong, to the honor of God and the Son. The answers to life, eternal life, judgement, the will of God, resurrection, salvation are all found exclusively in Jesus Christ.
The sad truth is that many in this world are trying to please everyone but God. Many are choosing to honor other gods and excluding Jesus. What most don’t realize that there is only one way to life, only one way to salvation, only one way to escape judgment and that is through Jesus.
Jesus begins by saying he only does what he sees the Father doing. He ends by saying he only does what he hears the Father saying. In other places he says he only speaks what the Father speaks. He judges as the Father judges. He gives life as the Father. Do you hear Jesus making clear, exclusive, intolerant statements about the nature of not only the world we live in, but about the nature of God? But how do we know that he is telling truth? How do we know we can trust Jesus? How do we know it’s not all some big lie? How can we trust his exclusive claims to the exclusion of all other claims? We’ll investigate this more tomorrow, but for now let me point you to the end of the book of John. It is there that the testimony is made complete.
This is the reality of the world in which we live. People will continue to persecute Christians if Christians continue to hold to the truth of Jesus’ Word. We must continue to trust Jesus’ Word; we must continue to be perfectly exclusive because apart from Jesus, there is no hope for anyone in this world.
I hope this 20th Day of 90 is Blessed for you by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Soli Deo Gloria!