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We make hundreds—maybe thousands—of choices every day.

Some of them are mundane: what we wear or what to eat.  Some of them are big: where to work or where we live.

Then there is the ultimate choice: Jesus.

Where we ended last week, Jesus had just healed a man who was lame by the pool of Bethesda.  If you remember, the Jewish religious leaders were not happy that this man, an invalid for 38 years, was healed because it took place on the Sabbath.  Not only that, Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk.  According to the Pharisees, Jesus was telling this man to break their law.

Then we read in John 5:16-30:

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, 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. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For 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. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, 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. 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 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 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 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.  

John 5:16-30
New International Version
Photo by Adrian Cogua from Pexels

The question the religious leaders had boiled down to one question: who or what gave Jesus the authority to do this?  Isn’t that the real question?

If Jesus was merely a man, this would have been blasphemy and punishable by death.  It wasn’t just that He called God His Father—although that was certainly enough in their minds.  Jesus said He’s working just like His Father does.  He was putting Himself on the same plane as God and claiming the same significance of ministry.

And if Jesus was God in flesh, then His words must be heeded.

As a t-shirt I saw once said, “Eternity has two choices: smoking and nonsmoking.  Choose carefully.”

The offer to believe in Jesus’ identity is granted by the Father.  He is the one who sent Jesus into the world.  And although it doesn’t make any sense to me why someone would reject this offer of eternal life in heaven and real hope on earth, it is your choice.

Ultimately, we can choose darkness but Jesus offers light.  Your belief has eternal consequences.  Should Jesus not return in our lifetime, we will die and the decision will be set.  What you do now determines then.

Choose carefully.