Meditation on Jesus: “Life in Himself”

For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself (John 5:26).

“Life in himself”… what does that mean? Whatever it is, Jesus has it because the Father has it; and the Father has granted Jesus to have it.

As always, the context of the passage clarifies the mysterious statement. Let’s examine the complete record of the full statement Jesus said:

25“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, 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 also to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25-29, ESV).

First, one can notice Jesus is speaking about the resurrection of the dead. Apparent from other passages, the resurrection was a touchy subject in His earthly day (Matthew 22:23, 29-32, 27:52; Mark 12:18, 24-27; Luke 20:27, 34-38; John 5:28-29; Acts 4:2, 17:18, 23:8, 24:15, 26:8; 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 20:12-13; Daniel 12:2).

Jesus not only affirms the prophetic phenomenon of the resurrection, but also, He makes Himself the source of that resurrection when he says, “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God.”

Because Jesus is the eternal second Person of the Godhead, He always has had the ability to merely speak, and things come into existence and hold together (Genesis 1-2; John 1; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15-20). That is power, and it certainly is a result of Jesus’ having life within Himself.

SON OF GOD & SON OF MAN

Jesus’ earthly existence also has everything to do with His declaration of having life in Himself. The second Person of the Trinity has always existed. There are many temporal appearances and self-revelations by Him in the Old Testament (John 1:15, 8:58). But, there was a point “in time,” when YHWH took on the labels of the Son of God (John 3:16) & the Son of Man. The second Person of the Trinity became incarnate, robed with untainted humanity. That event brought a new species to the earth, with unique genetics and composition. Hence, He is the Son of God, the “only begotten of the Father.”

The title “Son of Man” is both a prophets’ title (Ezekiel 30:2) and a label, which indicates the human side of the God-Man. At the point the second Person of the Trinity was incarnated, the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth, became the first human being to possess the power to create life by His words. Whereas before He exercised that power as a Spirit in Heavenly realms and affecting the temporal realm, now He exercises that power as a human being.

Because Jesus is the Son of God, the Father, He has life within Himself and is able to merely speak in order to raise the dead. He is God. Because Jesus is human—the Son of Man—He was able to atone for the sin of mankind and then be resurrected from the dead by the will of the Father and the Power of the Spirit. In that way, He is the “first fruits of those who sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Jesus is the highest ranking human, having tasted death only to defeat it, because… you guessed it…. He has life within Himself.What is more, He is the only human to have power enough to grant life again to whomever He pleases. All those in Christ shall rise again!

What is your superpower of choice? For Jesus of Nazareth, it is the power not only to create life with his words but also to bring those who have died back to life again!

Question & Answer: Why does God not go about like a superhero rescuing us from danger?

Q: Why does God not go about like a superhero rescuing us from danger?

A: After creation (Genesis 3), mankind chose—contrary to God’s design—to know “good AND evil.” That choice determined the consequential course of this world: danger, sickness, disaster, disease, death. God does not violate mankind’s original choice / free will… nor the course it set us on. He plays by his own rule of having granted mankind a sovereign self-determination. 

BUT, there is another way (besides superhero rescue) that he operates. While he cannot (by His own rule) violate the course of this world or the choices mankind’s free will. He CAN seek to redeem us from the evil we’ve known and done by supplying redemption (at His own cost) and making it a possible choice of our will. And so, God sent His only Son to provide atonement for all the sins of all mankind, including the original rebellion of having chosen contrary to His design. 

Besides this, we do not know how much evil God is holding back or preventing. 

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OTHER RESOURCES:

10 Reasons Why God Does Not Heal Everyone and/or Prevent Evil

Dealing with Loss, Evil, Suffering and Hopelessness

Befitting Rewards: A Theodicy (Parts 1-4)

7 Revealing Scriptures on the Childhood of Yeshua / Jesus, the Messiah

Not much is revealed in the Holy Scriptures about the childhood of the Messiah, Yeshua / Jesus of Nazareth. Yet, the written Word reveals more about the incarnate Word than is often recognized. What can we know about the  child, the boy, the young Son of God?

Luke 1:35He was THE Holy Child (Messiah) from Conception

Due to His being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, Yeshua / Jesus was and is unique from all other humans. He is called the Holy Child, meaning His Deity was not imparted at sometime in adulthood. Rather He always was and is the Son of God, the Word. When He was incarnated, the Word became flesh and dwelled among us. Did He know—as a child—that He is Deity? Yes! Mary and Joseph not only would have explained to Him what the angel said, …but continue to read below:

Luke 2:22-40His Infancy / Childhood was Bittersweet, Just Like His Entire Life.

Simeon told Mary at Dedication of Yeshua, “the sword will pierce your heart.” This foreboding prophecy followed great acclamations and stunning prophecy over the Holy Infant. The bitter and the sweet would mark Yeshua’s entire life.

He would lauded by Wise Men, yet born in an animal booth.

His contemporaries (babies of His age and home region) would be massacred by Herod. What a loneliness to contemplate. He had to flee to a foreign country as a refugee before returning to His home country after the threat was over. 

People accused His earthly mother of being a fornicator and Him of being born due to fornication. His adoptive father would have been open to the same ridicule.

His earthly mother evidently knew He had special powers. At Cana in Gallilea, she encourages Him to exert these miraculous powers, but He corrects her about the role she does not have in His ministry. Still, one wonders how she knew of His miraculous powers (under the Father’s direction). Had He been directed by Abba Father to do amazing things as a youth? We don’t know for sure, but Mary’s encouragements to do miracles would not have come from her imaginative whim.

At one time, when He returned to teach in His “home town” both His earthly mother and brothers said He was crazy (“out of His head,” or “beside himself”.) Many of his adoptive family later believed in Him, as witnessed by Mary at the Cross and James’ letter in the Greek New Testament.

Later on as an adult, He knew great popularity—as a Deliverer, prophet and teacher and hailed King—and He also knew vile accusation, sinister plotting, ultimate betrayal and abandonment to the Cross of Atonement.

Luke 2:52Messiah had to grow, both in wisdom and in body.

He entered the world in a nutural yet supernatural way, so that he could naturally but supernaturally rescue humanity from the sinfulness which enslaves it. Accordingly, He was not fully self-aware nor limitless from conception or birth. He laid aside His limitless knowledge and perfect understanding of all things. While He did have a limitless capacity to know and understand all things (unlike our fallen limitations), He had to grow or fill up His capacity over time. This was a process, an endurance of obedience—hearing and following the Father’s instructions. Just as His body was growing, so His knowledge and understanding of all things grew. Fascinatingly, as he increased in this way, the Father showed* Him increasingly more favor… and so did people. 

*[His approval with the Father was never compromised, nor able to be compromised. But with each stage of hearing and obeying, The Father encouraged / openly rewarded His faithful Son by showing Him favor.]

Isaiah 50God the Father Awakened His Son Every Morning

How did Messiah learn? Who taught Him?

v. 4 “The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught…”

Yeshua knew He was the Son of God, even as a child, because God the Father awakened His Son every morning in order to teach Yeshua. His lessons were not to make Him haughty or superior but to make Him equipped to speak a sustaining word to those who are weary. His is a ministry of healing and restoration, of building up the broken. 

Isaiah continues this Messianic prophecy by describing—in 1st person (as if Jesus Himself is speaking)—the suffering and atonement of Yeshua the Messiah. We read of His endless victory over His enemies. Yeshua invites all to trust in Him.

By the way, He learned His lessons well evidently. At 12-13, He showed His advanced understanding of the Torah at the Temple… apparently something His Abba Father told Him to do (Luke 2:41-52). The scholars were astonished at His teachings.

Mark 6:3He Learned a Trade Too!

As a child, Yeshua would have learned the trade of Joseph, His surrogate earthly father-figure. He was a carpenter. He learned taking orders from Joseph and customers, self-discipline, investment & delayed reward, product deadlines, good business, hard and patient and skilled work, problem solving, supply & demand, conscientious craftsmanship, financial self-sustainability, reward of a job well done, etc. He earned His bread by the sweat of His brow and by calloused hands. He knew what is was to be tired by long work and the sweetness of rest from labor. He had underlings, colleagues and those His senior. Everything that any professional must do and endure, Jesus learned it by his trade. And all know that a master craftsman is made, not born.

Can you imagine buying a fine quality ladder or an ox yoke made by the Messiah? 

Matthew 2:11The Role of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh 

Months after His birth, Magi descended from the teachings of Daniel, offered gifts to the infant Messiah. These show significance and would have provided an inheritance for Yeshua throughout his 30+ years of life.

Gold speaks of His being Deity and King.

Frankincense speaks of His being the High Priest and even a Self-sacrificial Offering, fully pleasing in the senses of His Abba, Father (Isaiah 53).

Myrrh speaks of His being a Suffering Servant, a Prophet who would see a bitter Prophet’s death. [Yet He did not remain so.]

Yeshua was not poor. He had enough money to do / have what he needed.

Hebrews 5:8-10 — Everything He Endured (Especially as a Child) was to Make Him a Perfect High Priest

8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

10 Reasons Why God Does Not Heal Everyone and/or Prevent Evil

These are the questions:

“If God exists and is good, then why does God allow evil and suffering?” —Atheist / Agnostic

“If God is all powerful, then why don’t Christians go into hospitals and psych wards to heal everyone?” —Skeptic

“Will God heal the non-believer just the same as a believer?” —Inquiring Christian

“I prayed for a miracle, but God did not do it. Why?” —Disillusioned Christian

These are the biblical answers:

1. Human free will stands, according to God’s original design. By it we fell into sin; with it, each of us may be redeemed by grace through faith. Free will means others may affect my life, and that is just the law of existence, which God set into motion. Their freedom is your freedom; and God will not remove it. He keeps His own laws. Mankind makes evil and hurtful or neglegent choices, because mankind is corrupted in nature, not God.

BUT, God promises He alone can redeem these evils into something eternally good, if He is willfully entrusted with both the wrongs and His prescription on how to cope with them. Finding out & following His ways can treat and / or prevent much evil, inner suffering & even physical ailment.

Sometimes God won’t heal us or heal instantly, because He wants us to use our will to find healing by searching out and living in His freeing Truth & ways. That is, God may delay a healing or spread it out over time in order to build the faith of the recipient. Instantaneous healing does happen, but so does prolonged healing.

If He has assured us of healing based on His Word and the illumination of the Spirit, then we must continually believe with praising, or “pray through.” This builds a strong faith! Again, God is more interested in cultivating our person in trusting Him than in providing quick fixes for our temporal, physical bodies. See Luke 18:1-8

And, yes, emotional and psychological healings come at His hands too… but often take much time and much truth.

2. Some (NOT ALL) torments are the result of sin. Examples include: guilt, not forgiving others, the results of covetously seeking riches and fame or worldly success, bitterness or blaming God for not getting your strong desires met, dabbling in occult ritual or magic, bringing railing accusation against / commanding angels, speaking evil/reviling angelic majesties without knowledge/understanding. These must be confessed and renounced in Jesus’ Name before we can command the tormentors to go. (See Jude; Matthew 18:34; Hebrews 12; 1 Timothy 6:10; James 4-5)

3. Our understanding is limited; God’s is limitless. It may be redemptive suffering or glorification of God in unseen realms… Or seen realms (Ex. Job, John 9:1-12). We are not gods; He is God. It is about His glory, AND He rewards those who suffer but keep faith! [See Befitting Rewards Series and 1 Peter 4 & Luke 22:31]

4. This is a fallen world in an evil age—temporal—not Heaven. Sickness, disaster, disease & death are not only possible but probable; but God wants our trust in Him for the rescue of our eternal soul—even above trust for temporal fixes—as well as the maturing of our (believers’) person into Jesus’ likeness. We did not give God trust in a perfect age (Garden of Eden). This present evil age is about trusting Him while enduring ills. If we do so, He will give us His wisdom & understanding. Therefore, He may or may not heal / deliver based on our need to grow into Christ’s likeness. Jesus suffered and was perfected by it too, but He suffered so that He could rescue us from eternal separation from God in judgement. The rescue and mature development of your eternal soul is more important to God than your temporal / bodily desires. Only by suffering, can we be made better (more empathetic, wise, understanding, compassionate, self-less, content) people.

Speaking of being mortal, getting older and chronically sick is hard. King Solomon puts it best by saying: “Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’ (Ecclesiastes 12:1). God says you were supposed to have spent your youthful years learning the Wisdom of God, SO THAT when you are older and sicker and feeble you would be prepared instead of lost for answers about life in this fallen world. Youth is preparation for getting older, not a thing to be squandered as if to say, “Tonight, we are young. So, let’s set the world on fire.” The best way to age gracefully is to age (gain) in wisdom. Even wine gets better with age, even though it rots.

See Romans 8:29-30; John 16:33; Ecclesiastes 12

5. God is not partial or vengeful. He gives both blessings and trials to the just and the unjust alike. He lets good things and “bad” things happen for a reason, which is: both blessing and suffering are meant to lead us to faith in God, either in response for his goodness OR in seeing the brokenness of the fallen world & desiring to be rescued from this present evil, fallen age.; and, as indicated above, trials and suffering can either grow or destroy our empathy and compassion…. The choice is ours, whether to become better humans or not. See Matthew 5:45

6. The proud, rich & affluent of this world are often self sufficient (poor in faith). We think we have a remedy or fix or prevention or insurance for everything… somehow invincible. We need to learn our frailty and vulnerability and trust in the presence of God (See above). To become spiritually rich, we must fully realize we are poor in spirit; and a revelation of our spiritual bankruptcy before God does not happen without trials. By the way, if we treat prayer for healing like a “treatment” so that we can go on living in our godless and selfish ways, then God won’t heal us. See James 2:5; 5; Matthew 5:3

7. Someone must ask for healing (spiritual & physical) in Jesus’ Name. If one does not believe in Him as the only true God and Savior, why should He give them a healing / deliverance? In the Bible records, healings are always given so that faith may be established in Him. This is not to say God will not preserve life, even in miraculous ways, until that one has a chance to hear the Good News of Jesus. God has and will heal, or allow a near death experience, or miraculously protect or deliver someone from tragedy, if/when that person needs to hear / accept the Good News of Jesus.

[See Bible passages recording healings and “What About Those Who Have Not Heard?“]

8. Believers do not direct or empower spiritual gifts (healing, etc.) to use at their will, as if the power is theirs. It is God’s power and at His will. (See above & 1 Corinthians 12:11)

9. Prayer is aligning with God’s rule & will over us. Sometimes He says no, even to those who are righteous (repentant attitude). To pray for His “Kingdom to come & His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven” is not a question of His will getting done, as if God can’t do everything He wants in this present, evil age. But rather, to pray this is to practice aligning ourselves with God’s will and rule by agreement of spirit and a confident trust in Him. This is called faith, and untainted faith is sourced in (or flows out of) love. If we love God, we desire His rule and his will to happen on earth, even if it goes against our natural desires; and this stands in direct contradistinction to the collective will of fallen, unregenerate humanity… which seeks self-will and self-rule at all costs. The “Lord’s Prayer” is a form of worship, not a revelation of God’s impotence. So, we may pray outright for healing (believer & non-believer alike), but if God does not heal you—in His Divine wisdom—will you love him and trust him anyway? Will you learn to pray with agreement from the heart, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” [*Note: this prayer is also prophetic concerning His future 1000 yr. reign from Jerusalem]

As Nick Vujicic says:

If you don’t get a miracle, be the miracle.”

10. God wants fellowship. More than any, God has suffered; because in all our suffering, He suffers. We are His Creation gone astray by the free will he gave us and enduring evils He never would have chosen for us. He also provides the remedy of His Son at His own costly expense. But, just like Abraham and all the patriarchs and great people of faith, they endured great hardship & testing down here, so that they would know the fellowship of Christ Jesus’ sufferings… a necessary “evil” that must go alongside of knowing “the power of His resurrection!” These people were called “friend” by God and enjoyed deep relationship with Him while on earth and afterward in Heaven. Are you desiring exemption from this? As Romans 8 puts it, “I reckon that the present sufferings of this age are nothing to be compared to the glory to be revealed in us…. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” See Romans 4; 5:3; 8; Hebrews 11

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OTHER RESOURCES:

Key Word Search: Trials of Faith 

Dealing with Loss, Evil, Suffering and Hopelessness

For a list of people in the Bible who were righteous and not healed, see Warnings about the Word of Faith Movement

When God Says No

What Will Believers Endure before the (Pre-Tribulation) Rapture?

Tim Lahaye’s Left Behind book series (1995–2007) took the world by storm. Mr. Lahaye gave a biblically-informed, fictional narrative of the Apocalyptic timeline in novel form. After the final release, one of my relatives bought and devoured all the books in nearly one sitting each. People want to know what the Bible has to say about the future.

Like Mr. Lahaye, I see the Bible teaches that the Redeemed of the Lord will be removed physically from planet earth before the Apocalypse begins. [By the way, it will begin with 3.5 years of peace before all Hell literally breaks loose for the next 3.5 years.] But, this is not to say genuine Christians will suffer nothing at the hands of persecutors before the Rapture. The Apostles taught “we must suffer many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Moreover, Peter writes: [1 Peter 4:12-19]

12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of gloryb and of God rests upon you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?18And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”c

19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Specifically, believers will see quite a lot of Bible prophecy unfold before their eyes before the Rapture. The book of Daniel predicts Anti-Christ will present an agreement to Israel, which marks the beginning of Jacob’s Trouble, a.k.a. the Great Tribulation Period, The Apocalypse. All events after that agreement are considered within the “Period of Divine Wrath.” But, God has not appointed believers to suffer wrath, but to obtain deliverance (1 Thessalonians 5:9). That means believers will physically witness all the prophecies which precede the agreement. Our lives will be—rather, are currently being—affected by what Jesus labeled “these things” (Luke 21).

As Christian’s we are looking for more than a couple of pre-tribulation events… none of which will take long to take place.

A. Psalms 83. The nation’s around Israel attacking and getting destroyed with some type of Nuclear exchange leveling Damascus (Isaiah 12), Amman called Rabbah in Jeremiah 49,.

B. Ezekiel 38 with Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya attacking Israel as possible payment for Psalms 83. It does not take long for Psalm 83 to precipitate Ezekiel 38. In fact, they might be seen as the same war to the secular eye. Recently, Israeli Rabbis have stated they believe Iran wishes to incite Gog and Magog. That kind of statement gives evidence to the interconnectedness of this two-stage war.

C. We look for a collapse of the the world economy necessitating a ten part with the one world leader leading the ten and making an agreement with Israel.

D. The movement of the UN to Iraq and the rebuilding of Babylon. (Zechariah 5, Daniel 7, Revelation 13).

  1. Will believers see the War of Gog and Magog (WWIII) as described in Isaiah 17, Jeremiah 49, Ezekiel 38, and Daniel 8? Yes. In order for the Anti-Christ to broker peace with Israel, there must first be a Great War.
  2. Will believers see an event called “THE Apostasy” (a.k.a. the rebellion), when the entire globe, including ‘name only’ Christians, will suddenly and vehemently reject the notion of a monotheistic Creator God? Yes. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 It must occur before Anti-Christ can be unveiled. Please consider what kind of event this must be to precipitate such a global falling away. Certainly, this is a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11)—some worldview shattering phenomenon—sent by God upon those who disobey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I, like many others, believe this will be nothing other than fallen angels masquerading as aliens in order to fulfill the prophecies of Peter and Paul, which state mankind will go after myths (2 Tim. 4:4)—the gods (from the stars) of the ancient myths (Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Hindu, Greek and Roman). In fact, Luke 21:26 states people will literally faint due to the fear and foreboding of what is coming UPON (as in ‘down upon from above’) the earth. These things will mark the beginning of the Tribulation period.. St. Peter states in contrast (1 Peter 1:16), “We do not follow after cunningly devised fables” (lit. myths).
  3. Will believers see the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Perdition, the Anti-Christ himself? Yes. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
  4. Will believers see the expansion of Israel’s borders? Maybe. If the expansion is due to the agreement made between Anti-Christ and Israel, then perhaps not… because, again, everything after the agreement is the period of divine wrath.
  5. Will believers see the construction of the 3rd Jewish Temple? Maybe. Many Bible students believe the Anti-Christ will be the one to direct the construction of the 3rd Temple of the Jews only to desecrate it (Abomination of Desolation, Matthew 24:15-16). Whether or not he/Israel will build before or after an agreement is highly debated.

For more in depth study of what Bible prophecies are currently being fulfilled, or soon will be fulfilled, I highly recommend Bill Salus’ The Now Prophecies. What are the Now Prophecies?

  • Disaster in Iran – (Jeremiah 49:34-39)
  • Destruction of Damascus – (Isaiah 17, Jer. 49:23-27)
  • Toppling of Jordan – (Jer. 49:1-6, Zephaniah 2:8-10, Ezekiel 25:14)
  • Terrorization of Egypt – (Isaiah 19:1-18)
  • Final Arab-Israeli War- (Psalm 83)
  • Decline of America (Ezekiel 38:13), (America is identified as the young lions of Tarshish)
  • Expansion of Israel – (Obadiah 1:19-20, Jer. 49:2, Zephaniah 2:9, Isaiah 19:18)
  • Vanishing of the Christians – (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)