“An hour is coming when …”
In our reading today in John 5, Jesus speaks of the dead hearing his voice! However, note how he says this twice – and the meaning is different! These quotes are in verse 25-29.
The first time (verse 25) he says,
“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”
– but a few verses further on we read he said,
“an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgement” (verses 28,29).
Now these are two different situations; the hour that is “now here” is today and the “dead”. Jesus is talking about are those who “were dead in trespasses and sins” as Paul wrote to the Ephesians (2:1) rejoicing that
“God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses [evil ways], made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (verses 4,5).
Paul is writing of what Jesus said, as John records it in his gospel,
“those who hear will live”
– they prove they have heard by how their lives change now, it’s a re-birth!
Two days ago we read of Jesus conversation with Nicodemus,
“unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (3:3).
He then explained further,
“unless one is born of water and the spirit he (or she) cannot enter the kingdom of God” (verse 5).
Born of water is baptism and born of the spirit is explained in what we read yesterday of the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman; the need to
“worship him (God) in spirit and in truth” (4:24).
Our minds must undergo a rebirth as we direct our thinking toward God.
Take note also, as we will read tomorrow, that Jesus said,
“the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit and life” (6:63).
Accepting them brings about a spiritual re-birth. With this re-birth in water and spirit we will be among those in the tombs who
“will hear his voice and come out”
when the hour comes for Jesus to return! Or, it maybe we will still be alive for Paul writes of that hour
“we shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51).
How far away is that hour? Are you ready?