The gospel writers record for us Jesus sending out his disciples to do the work. These are prototype “missions” that are framework builders for us as we obey God to do the joyous work of his kingdom. We are to heal through setting straight what the curse of sin has made crooked and preach the good news of the kingdom.
But these are not merely prototypes of the work. The work Jesus sends them to do is modeled on what the Father sent the Son to do and what he actually does himself on the mission to bring light to darkness, life to death, and show the Father’s glory so that he may bring to light and life all those the Father has given to him.
We see this in John 5 clearly. John records Jesus’ third miraculous sign in chapter 5 of his gospel writing. Jesus heals and he preaches God’s word.
Jesus has turned the water to wine, healed the official’s son, and now he heals the disabled man at the pool of Bethesda. Then, and vitally, Jesus takes the preaching of God’s word up a notch.
Jesus begins to be persecuted because he healed on the Sabbath, and he responds like this:
John 5:17-23 (CSB) 17 Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” 18 This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.
19 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing, and he will show him greater works than these so that you will be amazed. 21 And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to whom he wants. 22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
Wow! Jesus says the Father sent him. They understand in his words that Jesus is claiming to be God, and Jesus clearly tells them he just does what the Father does, and the end game is that all people would honor the Son just like they honor the Father.
Jesus again reveals the mission. He was sent by the Father, does the Father’s work as the Father does, gives life, and does this so that people will see, worship, and delight in him.
Jesus goes on to tell them that he himself will speak and raise the dead to life because the Son of Man has life in himself.
Get this. Jesus then reminds them that he is not simply witnessing about himself. No, he models for us how to do it as he does it himself. I mean, he is Creator God, and he has all right to just testify about himself, but he doesn’t. He points to what John the Baptist says about him and he points to God’s word, which John is preaching from. Why?
John 5:36-39 (CSB) 36 “But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about me that the Father has sent me. 37 The Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You have not heard his voice at any time, and you haven’t seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word residing in you, because you don’t believe the one he sent. 39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me.
John 5:46 (CSB) 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me.
The Triune God of the Bible has revealed himself in his word from the beginning, and when he spoke to his people and had them write it down, he was telling them about Jesus, the very Son of God. Its. In. The. Manual. We are to model our witness after Jesus’ witness.
Jesus validates his testimony from his very word and is himself the very fulfillment of that word.
But the talk of resurrection has two tones to it. Resurrection is great, and one has to die in order to be raised up. Moses talked a bunch about sacrifices for sin and the death required to pay for sin. Jesus will raise his people to life, and he’s got to be the first to set the example as he does in ministry by healing and preaching. Death is coming, but death can’t win in the end.
Hang on, the ride starts to get a little bumpy as darkness hits back against Light.