John 5:19-29.

W. H. Westcott.

Extracted from Scripture Truth, Volume 36, 1949, page 151.

When Jesus was here He raised dead people to life. But His business when here was not to work miracles purely for the sake of showing that He could do so; but in order to make the Father known and to reveal God. He never did any work except with the object of manifesting the willingness of God to meet men in their every need, and to carry out God's love purpose.

It would have been possible for Him to utter one call and all the dead would have risen, and all the sick would have been cured. But the time for that had not come. There were other works to do.

He came to give eternal life with its knowledge of God. Mere power in raising dead people and in curing sickness would not give the knowledge of God nor confer eternal life. The tree of life is inaccessible on earth; the way back to Eden is closed. To open the way to eternal life for men, He must die; life and the knowledge of God became accessible there. When that work was done, life was in Him, even in Him raised from the dead, as God's gift to men.

Men are in death until reached by God and by the voice of the Son. His voice is not, at this time, uttered to touch bodies but souls. Quickening out of death means a new order of life for men, in which sinning and doing our own will are hated, and doing God's will is loved. It is not a life merely to live continuously on earth, but of knowing God in Christ, so that here, in the midst of evil, we may live unto Him by the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

But all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth. That time will also come. The earnest of it was when He was here: the fulfilment, both as to just and unjust, will be presently.