John 5:39-47 “Search the Scriptures”

Introduction:  John wrote his Gospel account for the purpose that men might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing they might have life through His name.  John has thus far told us about Jesus being the eternal God and the creator of all things.  He told us of the testimony of:

1. John the Baptist, who said Jesus is the Son of God, The Lamb of God…

2. Andrew, called Jesus the Messiah the Christ.

3. Philip, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write.”

4. Nathaniel,  Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel”.

5.  Nicodemus, “thou art a teacher come from God…”

6.  The woman at the well, “Is not this the Christ…”

John has written about the works of Jesus:

1. Turned water into wine,

2. Cleansed the temple,

3. Did many miracles in Jerusalem,

4. Healed the noble man’s son,

5. Cured the 38 year long infirmity of the man at the pool of Bethesda.

            All of these are recorded for the same reason that we might believe in Jesus.  God has left in the hands of men His written word.  These were written by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit of God.  These serve as a permanent record from God as to what God expects from men and what God has done for men.  If a man desires to do the will of God he must search the scriptures.


(John 5:39)  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

            Search the scriptures was Jesus command.  A search is made to find something specific.  When you search for something you may find other things but the search is not over until the specific item is found.  These men were searching the scriptures because they thought they could find contained in them the way to have eternal life.  They had not found that for which they were looking.  They needed to continue their search.  The Scriptures testify of Jesus.  The Scriptures tell us and them all they need to have eternal life.  The plan of salvation is not easily found in the Old Testament.  It must be searched out.  It was not written in larger letters than the rest of the words.  It was not written in bold letters and underlined.  It is there but one must be looking for it if they are going to find it. 

            What they should have been looking for was a person.  Salvation is not in keeping the law but is in and through a person.  This person is described in the scriptures.  He is the one who can give you eternal life. 

            Abraham, “Gen 22:8  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together”

            Job, “(Job 19:25-27)  For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:  26)  And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27)  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me.”

            David, “2Sa 22:3  The God of my rock; in him will I trust: [he is] my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

            Isaiah, “Isa 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else.

            (Isaiah 9:6-7)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  7)  Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

(Isaiah 55:6-7)  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7)  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

(Isaiah 53:1-12)  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2)  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. 3)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4)  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5)  But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7)  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  8)  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9)  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10)  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11)  He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12)  Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

            These are examples of what the Old Testament testified of Jesus.  These represent what men need to know about Jesus and His saving power and grace.  What does the Scripture testify concerning me?  It says of me that I am as a sheep who has gone astray.  It says of me that I have gone my own way.  It testifies of me that I am wicked and lost, condemned, and unclean.  It testifies that I am without hope if I will not believe in Jesus Christ as my savior.   This is what the scriptures testify of me.

            I have believed the testimony of the scriptures concerning Christ Jesus my Lord.  Thus the Scriptures testify of me that I will live forever with Jesus.  I will have a crown of righteousness and a robe of white.  I will walk on a street of gold and enter a city whose builder and maker is God.  The Scriptures testify of me that I will have no more tears, sorrow, crying, death, pain, or sickness. 

            If you have not believed the testimony of the Scriptures concerning Jesus the Scriptures testify of you as well.  You will spend eternity separated from God in the torments of hell fire.  You will never be comforted. 

            John wrote these things that you might believe and have life.  Search the Scriptures and find eternal life in Jesus Christ.


(John 5:40)  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

            With Salvation taught as it was in the Old Testament these men, had they made a proper search, would know that they would need to believe in the person of the Messiah to have eternal life.  They refused to come to Jesus that they might have spiritual life and eternal life.   Pride is thing that stood in their way.  They were blinded by pride and self-righteousness.  Had they swallowed their pride and acknowledged their sin they would have see the truth of Scriptures and come to Jesus and had life.

            What keeps you from coming to Christ.  Is it pride?  Do you think yourself righteous and have no need of God?  The only thing keeping you from coming to Jesus for salvation is you!


(John 5:41)  I receive not honour from men.

            This verse speaks of the motivation of Jesus.  Jesus did not come to receive honor from men.  He does not seek their approval.  Jesus knows that all men are sinners.  Jesus does not care about the prestige that He might have if these Jewish leaders accepted and endorsed Him.  These men care about the praise of men.  That is what they are all about.  They want to be seen of men.  Jesus is not like them.  Remember that in the middle of this discourse Jesus had said to these men “these things I say, that ye might be saved.”  Jesus is motivated by love for these men.  He wants them to receive Him that they might be saved.


(John 5:42)  But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

            Jesus knew these men all to well.  Jesus had exhibited His knowledge of men.  He told Nathaniel that He saw him under the fig tree.  He told the woman at the well of her five husbands.  He knows how many hairs are on the head of each man.  Jesus knows you and he knows me.  He knew every thought and intent of these men’s hearts.  These men do not love God and do not display God’s love in their lives.  These men are rather filled with pride, self righteousness, envy, and greed.  Their hearts are full of hatred for the light which shines in the dark.  They will not come to the light for their deeds are evil.

            This equates to people today who will not admit their sinful condition.  In pride they say they do not need God for they are without sin.  Sinner friend, you are not ok.  You are a vile sinner and incapable of doing any good thing.  All of your goodness is as a filthy rag in the sight of God.  Recognizing this fact and accepting this truth is the first step to being cleansed from sin and being saved from condemnation.


(John 5:43)  I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

            Jesus now points out to them that He has come with the authority of God the Father just as the scriptures had said He would and yet they did not accept Him.  They only accept those, like themselves, who come by the authority of men.  Those who are praised of men they will receive.  God had told Moses that He would raise up a prophet like unto Moses.  Jesus comes and fulfills all the prophecies and does marvelous works just as the Scriptures said and yet they reject Him.  These men lack faith.  They will not believe even if one rose from the dead. 


(John 5:44)  How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only?

            These men will not believe because they desire the praise of the world rather than the praise of God.  Jesus taught that we were to do our good deeds in private without seeking the praise of men.  He went on to say that God which sees in secret will reward openly.  Jesus did say to let your light so shine before men that they may see, not you but, your good works and glorify, not you but, the Father which is in heaven. 

            These men are self-righteous.  They care not for the righteousness of God nor for His approval.  As long as they are satisfied with themselves and with the acceptance and praise of their fellow men they will not repent and believe in Jesus.


(John 5:45)  Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust.

            These men had accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath and of blaspheme.  They were good at accusing people of breaking the Law of Moses.  What they needed to see was their own guilt.  They had not only broken the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law.  Jesus does not go to the Father to accuse sinners.  The Law of Moses is the accuser and Satan is an accuser but Jesus is not.  He does not need to accuse for the Law itself is sufficient for that purpose.  Paul said that the Law entered in that sin might abound.  Law makes sin apparent.  These men had so perverted the Law that they could not see their guilt.  They thought that they had kept the Law when they had not.  They were trusting in their interpretation of the Law of Moses in stead of trusting in the person of the Messiah who would come to redeem men from sin.


(John 5:46)  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

            These men are in a bad way.  They do not believe Moses.  The proof that they do not believe Moses is that they do not believe Jesus.  Moses was writing about Jesus.  All the pictures of the sacrifices and feasts of the Law were of Jesus and His redeeming work.  All the prophets spoke of Jesus and described His person and His work in great detail.  If they do not believe Moses and the Prophets there is no hope for them.  Abraham told the rich man in hell that his brothers had Moses and the Prophets.  If they will not believe Moses and the Prophets they would not believe though one rose from the dead.  Jesus proved this point for He rose from the dead and they still would not believe in Him.  They would not believe in Moses and thus they would not believe in Jesus.


(John 5:47)  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

            If you will not believe the Bible you will not believe the teachings of Jesus.  The Bible tells us all that we need to know.  It tells of our relationship to God.  It tells of sin and condemnation.  It tells of God’s love and His provision for reconciling us to Himself.  He has sent His Son to die for our sins.  He raised His Son on the third day just as He said He would.  Jesus now stands ready to save all who will come to Him admitting their sinful state and seeking His forgiveness.