Sunday, June 07, 2009

"The Very Works"

Are the scriptures saying that the works of Jesus prove His deity and the Trinity, without explicit words and concepts and doctrines? I found these:

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

john 14:11

What does this passage mean? I tried a measly dose of study and came up with no leads. Is Jesus saying, "Okay, you don't have to believe in the Trinity idea just yet, but at least believe in Me, because the works themselves which I do - the works which are the works of YHWH God alone - if you know your Hebrew scriptures well, you'd know that."

But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

john 5:36

(One of my most favorite passages of the GoJ's (Gospel of John's) deity chapters (5,13-17))

Why "the very works I do"? Because only YHWH had eternal life, only YHWH could forgive sin, and, YHWH had all judgment entrusted to Himself. These works-characteristics of YHWH identify, set Him apart, and distinguish Him from all false gods.

The question I am trying to ask is this: are "the very works" when believed, essentially a transaction of believing in the deity of Jesus? Also, a transaction therefore of believing in the Father?

John 14:11 (above) comes at the tail end of Jesus talking with Philip who asks, "Lord, show us the Father and that is sufficient for us" to which Jesus replies, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?" If you have One you have The Other as well - that's a theme from the deity-chapters of the GoJ.

In John chapter 5, the context from which I'm pulling the phrase "the very works" is on bearing witness. Jesus says,

If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.

john 5:31

As far as I comprehend things, there is an interconnectedness in bearing witness. The Father bears witness of the Son and the Son also bears witness of the Father - and the Holy Spirit might be meant instead in those passages in John 5? But John the Baptist is a forth witness in this passage who God foretold in the OT. John the Baptist was also a witness to Jesus.

If "the very works" bear witness, then essentially we've got the Godhood of Christ, and the Trinity, being believed upon, on that level alone. It's kind of like "pay it forward" - believing on the light you have received, even the "voice of one crying in the wilderness" in the transitory-covenant period, is essentially proving our honoring of the entire Trinity?

Of course, I find this interesting because when I was coming to Christ, I could tell while watching Jesus as an atheist that He had authority on some level, and His works and miracles persuaded me to acknowledge and revere Him. To review an old post I additionally wrote on my testimony of salvation, you might read this...

Who was Jesus when I was Saved?


goe said...


Here are some passages in John that will shed a lot of light on the issue it seems you are wrestling with.

Jn. 4:10--notice that Jesus speaks here of the "living water", which involves knowing ("if you knew") two things: 1) the gift of God (eternal life (v 14) 2) who Jesus is ("who it is who says to you...)=the Christ.

Jesus is going to reveal these two things to her and all she has to do is "drink" (=believe). When she understands and believes these two truths she is born again and possesses eternal life. Now compare this with what Jesus says to Martha in 11:25-27. Jesus is essentially telling Martha the same thing and asks her: "Do you believe THIS?"

Notice that in v 19 the Samaritan women as progressed from believing that Jesus was just a man to sensing that He was "prophet". But Jesus wants her to see that He is even more than a prophet-He is the Christ=the One Who gives eternal life to her when she believes (=drinks the truth He is giving Her about Himself).

Read these passages and it will give you a sense of what it is the Gospel of John wants us to believe about Jesus: 4:42; 7:40-43; 10; 24,25; 11:25-27; 20:31

After you've read these passages tell me what you think about them. I think you will see that we all go through a process of coming to grips with just who this person Jesus really is. See especially Matt. 16:13-17. This is the truth that must be believed in order to be born again (Jn. 20:31). The Gospel of John was written for the purpose of showing us what it means to believe that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus asks all of us the same question He asked Martha: "Do you believe THIS?"

goe said...

I meant to say; "the Samaritan woman HAS progressed...

Not: "the Samaritan woman AS progressed..."

Sanctification said...

Hi Gary!

Forgive me, please stand by, I'm praying about something upsetting right now, I will get back to answering soon.

Your friend Michele

Sanctification said...

Hi Gary,

Thanks for being so patient. Let me run downstairs and get my bible.


Sanctification said...

Hi Gary,

I read all those passages. Thanks for opening this conversation with me. Can I take each of these passages alone?

Over all, let me say that I can agree that Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God is the conclusion He wants us to make, I'm just not confident that this is the conclusion holding eternal life hostage till the time which it is illuminated to a man.

John 4. It was the miracle, which was His predicting her relationship status that caused her to perceive Him as a prophet. She also brought up worship immediately afterward, as well as location. What did Jesus think of that?

Jesus teaches her that location doesn't matter (soon) anymore. Salvation was now for the rest of the world, not just for Jews. He says, "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews, But, the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth."

What is said here?

1 - she knows very little of God/scripture, being a Samaritan

2 - the Jews know what they worship

3 - God is Spirit and is seeking Spiritual worshipers, not just those who have truth like the Jews

Jesus has a truth-lacking convert on His hands, doesn't He!!! :D (Please take note that she was not a tooth-less convert, but even if she were I'm sure she'll get nice toothers in glory.)

Now I go back to the beginning when Jesus interveningly said, "IF you knew" then you would ask. But, she asked WHILE NOT KNOWING (the end conclusion of Him being the Christ). She said before hearing and knowing, "Sir give me this water..."

The light went on without knowing the revelation of His being the Christ. That "light going on" was her salvation-moment. It was the miracle that made her eyes open and her heart receive. Jesus was pleased that she got it, she got the Spirit, another words, the heart, of His message (the Word).

That was one reason why the Pharisees stumbled because they did not read scripture with the heart for why they were written (the Spiritual reading of the Word).

Once she got the heart of His message, from that point on everything fell into place for her. The Holy Spirit called her to recall "I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called 'Christ'." And Jesus said, well that's Me.

Looking forward to hearing your reply Gary, and thanks for caring about this, I am very humbled and very blessed!


Sanctification said...

John 7.

The big topic in this chapter is Jesus describing from where He came and where He is going. Those listening do not believe even when they seem to marvel and understand that he was claiming to be the Christ.

He also speaks of his testimony, again, being made not by Himself about Himself. "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of another One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him." Then he uses Moses as an illustration of how this principle of testimony, has worked according to their familiarity of that account.

As for the promise that He is standing up and announcing regarding the Holy Spirit, I see this as simply Jesus doing for the Holy Spirit what the Father had done for Jesus: testifying about Him, according to the pattern set.

I do see Him calling Himself the Way to receive the water (the Holy Spirit). So that (Jesus) can be the bullseye and that's fine with me as you are trying to point out, correct?


Sanctification said...

John 10.

Another passage on "The Very Works." Cool.

"Then the Jews surrounded Him and said, 'How long do You keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.'

Jesus answered them, 'I told you and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.'"

I am thinking that there were many times he told people not to tell others that He was the Christ, even when He told the people "plainly." So perhaps these Jews had not heard His "plain" admitting?

I am convinced that Jesus would be confident saying that "the very works" told them enough, that He was the Christ. The problem wasn't that He wasn't plain, or that they had not heard Him clearly say "I am the Christ" so that they would believe and be saved.

The problem was that they did not believe "because you are not one of my sheep."

"The Very Works" would have stirred the sheep into a salvific transaction.... I am persuaded, without the direct knowledge per se that He was the Christ just because He said so.

Jesus has to document and certificate His ministry, that's why He always says, "This is the Father's testimony/work/words." If you have a problem with Jesus, take it up with the Father, dude. Because you know better than to be wishy-washy on what I'm doing and who I am.


Sanctification said...

John 11.

A really great passage. Jesus is weeping, maybe not only for death, not only for the people, but because he was going to participate in a pre-cross work of His. It required His suffering inwardly just like He would soon do on the cross and in the garden.

He was troubled inwardly as he looked on Lazareth in death, knowing something I cannot even fathom about His fight against Satan during this pinnacle moment in all of humanity - our redemption.

Martha is asked if she believes in eternal life, and she says yes.

Then later He reminds her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" So I agree with you, He is reviewing the "believe" meaning believing that He gives eternal life.

But when He prays to the Father, I do notice that He changes the content material of what He wants the people to believe: "...but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me."

I think this referring to Another (testimonies of one another, or the statements saying "If you have the Son you have the Father also" sorts) are also, besides just eternal life statements, a salvific proclamation series in the gospels... but I'll have to take a look.

I do believe that eternal life can be the COSF. But I think it can be exchanged for other congruent COSF's - such as "The Very Works" or "believe in the One who sent me" are also sufficient to save.

John 20:31 - Yes this can be the main thrust of why the gospels are written, but it is not the law which excludes all other congruent COSF faiths in Jesus and His Words and works.

Let me know, okay Gary?
Thanks again for listening, this is personally enriching.

Sanctification said...


One of the very very cool things about "The Very Works" is that it informs my disciplemaking.

Many times Jesus wanted others to not pronounce that they knew Him the Christ. And he seems hesitant, in my grasp of the Gospels, to just tell people Who He Is, with words.

Demonstrate, demonstrate, demonstrate - He was all about showing the Jews who He was, many times before using words, or in place of using words.

I have been deeply impacted by this truth, this week. Can I demonstrate, demonstrate demonstrate, before I tell someone the answer? Or do I just tell others the answer?

Anyway, I was thinking of that all week, and even though I didn't do research on it (again), I wish I had but I thought I'd say this anyway.

Talk to you soon?
:D Michele

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