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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Sovereignty of Jesus Christ In John's Gospel

As a Christian, there is no greater affirmation than understanding God is in control of all things as the sovereign Lord of creation like in Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein." Everything was made by him and therefore everything is his and under his control. Reading outside the miracles and might deeds of Jesus that disclose his sovereignty, I have noticed the teachings of Jesus that emphasize his divine sovereignty over salvation.

In John's Gospel, Jesus is seen as God from beginning of John in the creation motif (1:1-3), and at his resurrection appearance  towards the end (20:17). Yet, it is in John 5 where the gospel explains the sovereignty of Jesus Christ most explicitly:

Jesus claims deity:
"This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." (John 5:18 ESV)

Jesus explains deity:
"So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." (John 5:19 ESV)

Jesus proclaims sovereignty:
"For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will." (John 5:21 ESV)

Jesus heralds sovereignty-rule:
"For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man." (John 5:26-27 ESV)

Jesus applies Scriptural authority:
"But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me." (John 5:36-39 ESV)

Jesus confirms deity:
"For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me." (John 5:46 ESV)

These verse all substantiate the sovereignty of Jesus Christ in John's Gospel by testifying to the divine-type identity of the Son of Man. From these verses, the context of chapter 6 makes even more sense:

Jesus validates his sovereignty:
"Jesus answered them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life." (John 6:43-47 ESV)

In just these short verses, John's Gospel suggests that Jesus is the sovereign Lord over salvation. Only through Jesus Christ can someone have eternal life. Believing in him is under the vice regency of his Lordship (divine sovereignty). Those who believe are called, drawn, and brought to him to assure and secure their salvation in the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

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