Jesus continues on His tough rant in John 5:31-47. He points to John’s testimony as proof. All of the religious guys liked John, and trusted him. John said Jesus is the One. Why don’t they believe him?
But more importantly, God Himself is testifying to Jesus’ power through the miracles and signs Jesus does. Then Jesus goes a step farther. He claims that if God’s love was in the men, they would recognize Jesus for who He really is. I find that interesting. It’s not the wisdom of God, the knowledge of God, the education of God that opens eyes to the Truth. It’s the love of God.
In reading this, I wondered if that meant that they didn’t have a love from God (“the love of God”) or they didn’t have a love for God (“the love of God”). It could be taken both ways in the English language. So, I did some study. Usually when something is a little vague in our language, if you look at the original language (in this case, ancient Greek), it will clarify it’s meaning. So, I looked it up.
Ironically, it’s no more clear in the original writing than it is in ours. It could be the love for God, or the love from God was missing in them. My guess is, Jesus said it that way on purpose. It is both at the same time. It makes sense. If we are not pursuing God on His terms, on His ground, we definitely won’t see Him. We won’t receive His love if we want everything to be our way. That is what Jesus is going after with the religious guys. They had their systems and thoughts and understandings of God. The rules had replaced the ruler. Because of that, the God they followed was a small one they had made up. They were missing the Living One, and because of that, they didn’t understand His Son either, even though He was right in front of them.
Before we get too hard on these guys, how many times do we just assume that God is a capitalist; that His greatest concern is how much money and stuff we have? How many times do we just assume that God belongs to a political party, typically the same one we belong to? How many times do we use God to justify what we want to do? (“I really feel like God wants me to go on a vacation I can’t afford.”) We allow our beliefs and systems to dictate who God can and can not be. The problem is, that isn’t God. Often, when Jesus shows up, His way of doing things looks really weird to us because it doesn’t fit within our system. Then we either have to change our system, or decide that it wasn’t really Jesus. And the love of God dies a little within us. It doesn’t take long before we are religious, and out of love.
But never miss the fact that Jesus confronts these guys so that they might change. He’s not intimidated by them, He doesn’t need their support, He’s not even trying to save His own life. He cares about them. He wants better for them. He wants to save them from the mess they’ve made. He does the same for us. If we find ourselves cold towards God, feeling distant; it’s because we’ve tried to fit God into our systems, instead of changing the systems to fit God. Turn around. Admit it to Him. He welcomes us home with open arms everytime.