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									Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                       John 5:1-30

Like Father Like Son

Time: 30 minutes


Yesterday evening, Frances said to me that Esther look a lot like me when we are asleep. I actually think she looks

more like me when she cries. On Friday evening we went to take a good look of Rafael, Rachel and Rick’s son.

Often when a child is born you try to look at his features, whether he is more like his mum or dad. When my

daughter Esther was born, she was about 53 cm long. Many were saying she will be quite tall, just like me. So I had

a good look at Rafael, and look at Rick and Rachel. But I couldn’t distinguish whether he is more like mum or dad,

my conclusion is he looks like them both, because Rachel and Rick do look alike.

If you are dating a girl, there is a Chinese saying that if you want to know what she is like, look at her mum. Often

she will carry qualities of her mum. If her mum is a tidy person, she is more likely to be tidy. If her mum has a bad

temper, her daughter may have that tendency too. While this is not always true, it does tell us that we are

enormously influenced by our parents, both physically and mentally. For us Christians, we also want to give our

children a good Christian environment so they may really learn more about God at their young age. When they

grow up, not necessarily all of them will become Christians, but you will often find Christian value system has

greatly influenced them. We have learned that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is like his Father in many ways, and

he possesses many features of the Father. We will see this more clearly when we explore today’s passage.

An unwelcomed healing on a Sabbath (v1-13)

      5:1                                                                      5:2
「       Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.     Now there is in Jerusalem near the

Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

5:3                                                                                           5:5
  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.         One who was there

had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 5:6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                       John 5:1-30

condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” 5:7“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to

help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of

me.” 5:8Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 5:9At once the man was cured; he picked up

his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 5:10and so the Jews said to the man who had

been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” 5:11But he replied, “The man who made me

well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” 5:12So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up

and walk?”      The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that

was there.

Many who look at these verses will focus on the miracle Jesus performs. Of course, this is an important aspect.

After all this is the third sign recorded in the gospel of John. Yet when you read on, the miracle itself is not where

John is leading to. When the other gospels speak of Jesus’ healings during the Sabbath’s day, it is never so quick to

jump into the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Therefore, rather than focusing on the one who is healed,

perhaps we should focus more on how this incident leads Jesus to identify himself as the Son of God.

Having that in mind, let’s look at how this healing has been unwelcoming. Jesus came to Jerusalem for a feast of

the Jews. In Jerusalem there was a pool at the Sheep Gate, and many disabled people were there. So you may

picture this, there is a pool, sometimes its water is stirred, and many people are there hoping to be healed. There

is this man who has been disabled for 38 years. We realized Jesus is intentional in choosing this man. The bible

tells us Jesus saw him lying there, and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time. Although we are

not 100% sure the reason Jesus picked him, but we know he is intentional. Jesus asks him “do you want to get

well?” It is quite surprising, perhaps useless, to ask that question to someone who has been sick for 38 years. You

don’t have to ask to know the answer. The answer is of course ‘yes’, otherwise this man won’t be there at the poor

with the other disabled men. Therefore, he thought Jesus is really asking, do you need help in anyway. He has

never seen Jesus, he wishes Jesus can help put him in the water in the hope that he can be healed. That is why he

asked, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred, While I am trying to get in, someone

else goes down ahead of me.” In answering him, Jesus didn’t say, no problem, my disciples and myself and help

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                          John 5:1-30

you. Think the number of disciples Jesus has, it wouldn’t be hard for him to command them to help the disabled to

be the first to go down to the pool. But that was not what Jesus did, when the man told Jesus that he does want to

be healed, all Jesus said was Get up and Walk. Again, Jesus didn’t touch the man, all he did was speaking and it can

to be. Do you still remember the signs we talked about until now? What was the first sign? Water to wine. How

does it happen, Jesus asks the servant to fill the water to the brim, and it was transformed. What was the second

sign? Healing of the son of the official. How did it happen? Jesus said, ‘go and your son will live’. So it is not hard to

see what John portraits here. Already at the beginning of the gospel John wrote Jesus was the word became flesh.

Here we see Jesus again having the power like God, he speaks and it came to be. In each case we do see the

obedience of those who experienced the miracles. In the case of the water into wine, the servants were asked by

Jesus mum to do whatever Jesus told them to do, and they did. In the case of the official, he was told his son will

live and he left, and so it be. In this case, this disabled man is now able to walk, and he follows Jesus commands by

carrying his mat. This mat would not be too heavy, but it is demonstrating how his healing is full and complete.

Now after 38 years, finally he is able to get up, not only to carry his own weight, but carry the mat that he lied on.

John explicitly wrote this day was a Sabbath. We know that the Jews over the years have developed 39 classes of

work which are not permitted during Sabbath. Carrying things from one domain to another except for

compassionate reason is certainly one of them. Although we may not see from the OT perspective how this man

has broken the law, since he does not use his mat for living. But he did break the traditions of the elders, for he did

carry the mat from one place to another. When accused by the Jewish leaders, the man quickly turns the blame to

Jesus. According to the standard of these Jews, surely someone who breaks the ‘law’ is not as serious as someone

who teaches people to break it. Instead of breaking the law, Jesus has the potential to cause many more to break

this tradition of the elders and violate their leadership position. This man did not know who Jesus was, because

Jesus has slipped away into the crowd. It is safe to conclude, Jesus knew this will cause a stir. Often we will see this

irony. Sometimes you see him trying to get away from all those unwanted attention, because his time has not yet

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                      John 5:1-30

come to die on the cross, but as his time gets nearer, Jesus has more public appearances. Finally when he entered

Jerusalem the last time, he creates a big stir, and gave the Jews a chance to kill him.

When I think of where the text is leading us, I couldn’t stop wondering why Jesus picks this man. He definitely has

picked one of the toughest conditions, we can see not only physically, but socially this man is isolated, that is why

no one carries him to the pool. From the reaction of this man to the officials, I don’t think Jesus picked him

because of his faith. He seems to be quite timid, and he must have realized he will get Jesus into trouble by telling

the Jewish leaders it was a man who told him to carry the mat and walk. Later he went again told the officials it

was Jesus who did this miracle. It makes me very surprised, why would Jesus pick such a man to demonstrate his

power. Jesus seems to pick one of the hardest to heal in human terms, perhaps to show that this is such a great

thing, for someone who has been sick for so long, be healed in an instance by his word. This really gives us a sharp

contrast how people can overlook such miracles but just focus on the traditions or their own agenda. It also

demonstrates how weak human can be, after experiencing such a miraculous healing yet quickly turned away from


While this is incredible, I suppose this is not uncommon in our church practice today. We can be so tide up to the

rules and forget the reason for these rules and who ultimately has the authority of the rules. Back then they have

the traditions of the elders and now we have traditions of the church. I am not against the traditions of the church,

but when the traditions of the church stop us from seeing God’s actions, the traditions should be changed or even


Do we need to come to church every Sunday? Who said during the weekend away we need a church service? Eric

once challenged me during our meeting that why do we have to have a service during the camp? I think his

challenge is valid, because so long as people come together to worship God, there may not even need a rigid time

and place of worship. I didn’t explain to Eric, but the main reason I would like to have a service is for consistency

and regularity, so that we may constantly reflect upon what the Lord tries to say at least every week. Consistency

and regularity is important, but it should never be a rule that we have to comply, otherwise we may overlook its

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                         John 5:1-30

real significance. It is important for us to think why we do what we do. The meaning of Sabbath is God’s grace for

us to rest, not rigid rules for us to suffer.

So it is possible that you obey the ‘law’ to come to the church every Sunday, and yet God is not pleased with you

coming to the church? This may sound strange, but if your main reason for coming to the church is not God, then

God is not pleased. Therefore it makes a huge difference why we come to church. May I ask you what kind of

attitude do you have sitting here? Is it a mood of praising and thanking God, or you can just wish to see this lovely

young lady you like every week?

It makes a huge difference how you listen to this sermon too. Are you treating it as simply part of a duty you need

to complete, or are you listening hoping to gain something out of it? Are you listening to the sermon so you can try

to penalize what is wrong? Or are you listening to what God tries to tell you that you should follow? Are you

focusing on my poor presentation skill? Or are you focusing on the meaning of the text? Do you have the longing

for God to teach you in this sermon, that you can bring home and thank God for? Or do you simply consider this is

yet another boring sermon and dozed off along the way?

If all we Christians do is to keep the traditions of the church, we will overlook what the Holy Spirit is trying to do in

our church. If we do not look beyond these rules, and seek God who is behind these all, we will miss God’s

blessings. You see, the disabled man could have protected Jesus from being persecuted by the Jews, and the Jews

could have praised God for what Jesus has done to this disabled man, but instead both the disabled man and the

Jews failed to see who Jesus truly is..

I don’t want to make it so rigid that church is the only place you can meet God or sermons is the only way to learn

from God, because God is everywhere in your life. But I would like to point out if even when you come to church

but your primary focus is not about God, I doubt you will love God during week days. For this reason I really look

forward to our weekend away. I pray that in it we may really think about our goals and visions together. I am

hoping it is not only a good time for us to mingle, but a time for us to think why we do what we do.

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                          John 5:1-30

Persecuted as God’s Equal (v.14-21)

   Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse

                       5:15                                                                                        5:16
may happen to you.”       The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.                So,

because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 5:17Jesus said to them, “My Father

is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 5:18For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill

him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with

God. 5:19Jesus 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. 5:20For the Father loves the Son and

shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 5:21For 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.

In verse 14 we learn it is Jesus who finds this man again. He found him at the pool among many others, now Jesus

follows him up. When Jesus warns him, ‘stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’, is Jesus hinting

what he has done is a sin? Does that mean when he sins again when he tells the Jews it was Jesus who heals him?

Or does Jesus mean in general he should not sin. What can be worse than 38 years of disabled life, could it mean

death? We are not given very clear explanation here, but at least we know some physical sicknesses are due to

people’s sin and if people keep on sinning something worse may happen. This helps us to see God’s grace is free,

but not cheap. When we experienced God’s healing power, whether physically, psychologically or spiritually, we

should not take it for granted and keep doing the way we do. God’s grace deserves our response of faith and


Now there seems to be a judicial aspect here. Jesus is the defendant. The Jews are the prosecution. The disabled

man is the witness against Jesus. The charge: Jesus does these things on the Sabbath. This is Jesus’ self-defense,

and later he brings out testimonies of witnesses, and finally his judgment to them. We will come back to the

remaining of the chapter in my next sermon. But for now, let’s focus on Jesus’ self-defense. He says, “My Father is

always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” Notice it is My Father, not Our Father, and he says he

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                        John 5:1-30

works like the Father. Even all a Jewish Rabbi will agree even though God rested on the Seventh day, God is still at

work. Otherwise every week there is one day we cannot pray to God because he is asleep. Since conversions are

regeneration work performed by the Holy Spirit, that will mean one day a week we will not have any Christians

converted. So Jesus is saying, whichever factors justify God’s continuous work from creation justifies his actions.

The Jews rightly picked up his reason but that gives them ground to persecute him further, in order to kill him.

Ironically, their persecution is just, It is true Jesus claims to be equal to the Father:

     1. He can do nothing by himself. What he does has the full authority from God.

     2. He does what his Father does.

     3. The Father fully reveals to the Son what he does. He is the only one who fully comprehends the Father.

     4. Greater things will he show the son and the son will also perform greater things.

     5. The father gives people life, so does the son.

     6. verse 21, Judgment has been given to the Son form the Father.

     7. Verse 22, they may honor the son just as they honor the Father.

     8. he is not only the judge but also the giver of life.

Yes, Jesus is equating himself to the Father, and if Jesus is mere man, the Jews rightly persecuted him. But if Jesus

is truly Son of God, then the Jews is judging God, they are the true blasphemers.

There is this famous Chinese pastor who is constantly away from home. He had to preach in various places outside

of his country. His son was quite young when he started doing this kind of ministry. Therefore, his wife thought it is

important for his son not to forget his dad. Very often she will take a picture of her husband and point to it, this is

your father. Once after a long trip the pastor returns home. His son didn’t recognize him. So his wife is concerned,

and says to his son that this is your real father, remember the one I have been showing you on the photo. But

because the son is so young, he can only the photo being his father. So he will only call the photo Father, not his

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                                         John 5:1-30

real father. It is only after a while when the pastor asked him, “who is your father?” the kid would say you are my

father. But when he asks him, what about that photo, the son would say, “that is father too”. So instead of one

father, there are two fathers. The Jews have this issue, after two thousands years they still call their photo father,

and ignore the real father. I am really hoping we truly recognize Jesus is truly God, recognizing him for who he is,

the OT law is there to point to who is the real God, not to reject the real God. Jesus comes to fulfill the law, to give

the law its fullest meaning, not for people to keep the law and ignore the real God.

The Son judges like the Father does (v.22-30)

   Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 5:23that 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. 5:24“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. 5:25I 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. 5:26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has

granted the Son to have life in himself. 5:27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

   “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 5:29and come

out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 5:30By

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."  」
Lastly, Jesus has done a great thing of healing the paralytic, the Jews will be amazed at even greater

things Jesus will do. What are these greater things. 1. Life will be given to the dead. 2. There will be a

final judgment. Who can give life? God. Who can perform the final judgment? God. Jesus is prophecying

what is going to happen, but he is equating himself to God when he says all these.

Have you heard of people saying the following? Jesus is a great moral teacher, Christianity is good, just

like all other religion. But don’t be too supercilious. Well, from this passage, it is clear Jesus is not trying

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Sunday Sermon - Like Father Like Son                                                               John 5:1-30

to be a moral teacher only. No moral teacher will lie and claim to be God, unless he is God himself.

When Jesus is persecuted by the Jews for his self-identification with God, it is not surprising we who

follow will also be persecuted. Yet when people say Jesus is just a moral teacher, are we courageous

enough to stand up to that challenge? Is our church bold enough to face the different persecutions and

challenges of this world? We believe Jesus is the Son of God, but are we prepared to stick our neck outs

for it?

You see we are living in a postmodern society. One of the good things about post modernism is people

respect others feelings, and we focus more on relationships. Therefore you may find family relationships

today may be closer than the traditional model. It is good to be relational. But it also poses an issue,

sometimes we value relationships so much, that we violate the truth. Sometimes we value people’s

opinions so much, that truth is no longer absolute. But when we realize Jesus is God, then we need to be

ready to defend any wrong assumptions about Jesus. Is our church fit to do this task? When someone

come to you and challenge you, Jesus is just a moral teacher, what would you say to them? When people

say all religion is good, do you just sit there nodding, or are you trying to pray and find ways to bring out

the truth about Christ? So in a way Christians should feel like Blasphemers, for we will be accused of

Religious Egoism, because our Lord Jesus too was treated as the blasphemer of his time, and nailed on

the cross. Yes we need to be careful how we can speak the truth in love. But please brothers and sisters,

don’t be overly careful, to the extent that you no longer dare to boldly proclaim, Jesus is God.

This Sabbath healing, is a good reminder for us, that Jesus is equal to God. Based on this fact, while

reflecting on why we do what we do, let us be bold and treat this truth with great care.

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