Read: John 5:25-29
Judgement and resurrection are some of the weightiest concepts in all of Christian theology, and in just a short text, Jesus alludes to both. Jesus declares that there will be a resurrection for everyone, but some will be resurrected in to judgment and some will be resurrected into life. John 1:4 declares that Jesus was the Light and in him was life, Jesus is both the source of life (Genesis 2:7) and new life for those who believe (Romans 6:4). Jesus’ power over life is made evident when he heals the man at the pool of Bethesda, but he says it will be made even more evident when all are resurrected.
But the judgment Jesus is speaking to here is a judgment of deeds. If salvation is by grace through faith, and not of works, then why is Jesus judging according to works? Every person that lives commits any number of evil acts and any number of good acts. In God’s economy though, any one given evil acts makes its doer guilty of the whole law (James 2:10) and Romans 6:23 declares that the wages of sin (categorically singular) is death. One cannot do good deeds to counter act his or her bad deeds because no one deed can amount to the price demanded for sin. The choice is clear then: accept the Jesus’ substitution in one’s place to satisfy the demands of the law or accept the punishment from God. Jesus explains that the ones who don’t believe are already condemned because they have sinned and not believed in Jesus. There will be many who attempt to flaunt their deeds at judgment but Jesus will reject them because they did not have faith (Matthew 7:21-22) but unless one believes and has his or her name written in the Book of Life, he or she is cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15). The ones who do believe have their sins erased and are judge only according to what good they did in Jesus’ name (Matthew 25:14-26).
For believers, the promise of eternal life is to put off mortality and take on immortality and to take of the perishable and put on the imperishable. In this, believers have the promise of resurrection to eternal life and death has no power over those who believe. This is the victory that Jesus claims over death (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). The hope Christians have is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus, because if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then one’s faith is in vain. But Jesus did indeed, as historical fact for that matter, rise from the dead. For this reason, the surety eternal life and future resurrection into glory is as real as the fact that Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-19).
The Jews at the healing of the man by the Pool of Bethesda marveled at the sign Jesus gave. What Jesus describes, however, is of epic proportions to that one deed. Jesus had the ability to give life and raise the dead while he was on earth, but at the end of days every person that ever lived will be resurrected and judged. These are things that Jesus could only do if he was equal with God! The question is whether or not that person believes in Jesus or not. For Christians then and Christians today, there is the assurance of resurrection to life for those who believe. The task of believers is to tell as many people as possible about the good news of salvation so they too can be resurrected to life!
Lord, I rest assured that I’ll be resurrected to life. Help me tell others so they too can have the same hope!