Thursday, May 8, 2008


In John chapter 5, Jesus is in the thick of things with the Jewish leadership. He has just healed a man who had been sick for 38 years, which the Jewish leaders completely overlooked, because Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath, thus breaking one of their rules. As they attacked Jesus for ‘breaking the Sabbath,’ he defended his healing by appealing to the fact that he was only participating in what his Father was doing (v. 17). At this the leadership’s attack on Jesus moves from ‘persecution’ to an intense desire to ‘kill’ him, "because he not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (v. 18). And so begins an argument, at the heart of which is an unstated question from Jesus, ‘who is really making themselves out to be equal to God here?’ In Jesus’ mind, he is only doing what he sees his Father doing, and thus living his life in submission to the Father. The Pharisees, however, have not heard the voice of the Father (v. 37), do not have His word abiding in them (v. 38), are unwilling to come to Jesus to have life (v. 40), do not have the love of God in themselves (v. 42), receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that is from the one, true God (v. 44), and do not even believe in Moses, the one in whom they have placed their hope (v. 46). It is a classic Jesus flip. He turns the accusation of the Jews back upon themselves, with withering, and hopefully, liberating exposure of the fact that they have no interest whatever in submitting to God. So who is making themselves out to be God?

In the midst of this storm there is a fascinating sequence on judgment. First, Jesus lays down a shocker—one that many people today cannot believe he actually said. “For not even the Father judges any one, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (v. 22). Relinquishing His own right to judgment, the Father has given all judgment to Jesus. I think this is related to v. 27: “And He gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” It is as if the Father is saying, ‘look, Jesus, you are in the trenches here. I trust you completely. Whatever you say goes, in heaven and on earth.’ So much for hierarchy. The implicit point to the Jewish leadership is clear. ‘Be careful, boys, I don’t think you know who you are dealing with here, but you will.’

There is a play in Jesus’ words on two of the Greek words which we translate judge or judgment. One word is krino, which means to separate, discern, consider, or evaluate or to decide. The other is krisis, from which we derive the English word crisis. Jesus is saying, the Father judges (krino) no one, but has given all judgment (krisis) into the hands of His Son. Jesus has the authority to execute crisis, because he is personally present, and his personal presence means crisis (nowhere to hide exposure) for all in darkness, including religious darkness.

“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his (Jesus’) voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good, to a resurrection of life, those who did the bad, to a resurrection of judgment (krisis)” vv. 28-29. Jesus, of course, is not saying that salvation comes by works. He is saying, to the Jewish leadership, ‘the day is coming when the ones who gave themselves to participate in life will get what they wanted—life, the Father himself. And the ones who opposed life and participated in darkness (did not seek the glory of the one, true God) will rise to a rude awakening, a crisis, for they will rise and meet Me—again. I, the Father’s Son, the way, the truth and the life, the savior and salvation itself, will be standing on the other side of the end of all God-playing, religious nonsense.’ Jesus is the judgment.

It is “appointed for men to die once, and after this comes krisis” (Hebrews 9:27).


Pastor Paul said...

Great point Baxter. This just keeps getting better and better. Malachi 4 calls it a fire these people are going to go thru before they repent and believe. Love the humor.


bill winn said...

Well here we go again! "Reinterpreting the 'Word' of GoD" haha(must say 'god' with a long slow deeply religious voice to get the full Pharisaical effect)I LOVE THIS POST! I love the genius of the Father, Son, and Spirit and how 2000 years ago Jesus was messing with people's religiosity and here 2000 years later He's still messing with religion this time through a fisherman/ theologian from Mississippi!
Rock on, Jesus!

Brian said...

This was a very helpful post. Helpful to distinguish Krisis and krino. I often think about what a trinitarian view of judgment would be. This helps advance my thinking.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Even today, meeting Jesus does force a crisis in our lives. When this crisis meeting occurs, we either want to “kill” Him in favor of doing religion, or we fall into His arms in surrender.

The best to you always!

J. Richard Parker

Frances said...

Just a few weeks ago, I was watching a discussion on another forum about 'judgment' when the Holy Spirit whispered to me that 'judgment' is nothing more nor less than Love making a decision. We are so used to expecting a negative outcome that we don't consider the possibility that our Heavenly Father who always acts out of His love might be speaking or acting in a way, however harsh it may sound, to once again bring us to Himself.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul--How do you get that out of Malachi 4? It says nothing about them repenting and believing in those verses. IMHO, eisegesis.

Hi Frances--Who can argue with you if it was indeed the Holy Spirit that whispered? I'm not saying He didn't whisper to you, but I've heard that kind of stuff before all too often. I'm sure you're not equating the Holy Spirit whispering to you with the written Word of God, right?

Anonymous said...

Hi "anonymous" ... in regard to Malachi 4, it does refer to "tread down the wicked." The word "tread" in Hebrew is used of crushing grapes to make wine. It is a "destruction" to transformation, not ruin. It goes on to talk of "ashes" which is symbolic in Scripture with repentance. Lastly, in verse 5, it talks about Elijah to come, and Jesus clearly states who this is in Matthew 17. So proper exegesis would indicate this passage to be referring to the Gospel.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous here again. Thanks for your response, Brian. I guess I'm having a problem with the way some seem to have a totally different hermeneutic than I'm used to.

Not to be testy, but whatever happened to the concept of first trying to understand what the original author meant to say to the original audience before making the hermeneutical bridge to today? If there aren't some guidelines, we can make any verse say what we subjectively want it to say, correct?

I wasn't trying to be nasty in making my comment to Frances, either, by the way. I've just heard too many people say "The Lord told me this..." and have it contradict the written Word.

Perhaps a discussion is in order here on how we view the written Word. Yes, I know it is a witness to the Word of God, Jesus. But the way I've heard about Jesus is through the written Word. Should we or should we not view Scripture with some sense of historical-grammatical exegesis and interpretation? I really want to know.

Anonymous said...


Obviously the Scripture has an immediate context. As such, it uniquely applies to the nation of Israel in their day.

My suggestion as to a more spiritual interpretation is only due to Jesus' interpretation of this passage in Matt. 17. So I'm only letting Scripture interpret Scripture. But I have no problem with saying that this passage applies to the immediate context. In fact, I would say that the number one mistake people make in the OT is to apply them to future events.


Brandon (I suppose in some circles ... known as Brian)