“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5.28-30
According to this passage, everyone at one time or another will hear the voice of Jesus. Whether they be dead or alive, they will hear him. Jesus says those “who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out.” So everyone who has died will come out of their graves but the difference is that those who have done what is good “will rise to live” while those who have done evil will “rise to be condemned.” And then Jesus adds, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
Jesus is our ultimate judge. And, according to this verse, he judges according to behavior be it good or bad. In addition, Jesus judges only because the Father has enabled him to do so. Everyone, including the dead, will rise from their graves and be sorted according to their deeds.
Now some might read this and believe it doesn’t apply to them. Some will read this and think themselves “off the hook.” Others will interpret this as only a metaphor and don’t really believe in a literal translation of the judgement of Jesus. I, on the other hand, believe it will happen as it is written. The judgment between good and evil is a judgment between those redeemed and forgiven of sin and those who remain in wickedness. All have sinned according to Romans 3:23, but not all have been forgiven. Only those who trust in the love and grace of Jesus and in his sacrificial death for their sins can have eternal life.
We have two likely responses to this passage — first, we must make sure we come to Jesus ourselves and find salvation in the arms of Christ. Second, we must tell others about the Good News of Jesus and warn them of the coming judgement. We can become the hands and feet of Jesus to a world lost in darkness.
Who will you share Jesus Christ with today?
“O Lord God, you are good. When I was in darkness, you rescued me. When I was alone and lost, you reached down and pulled me up from the pit. Thank you Lord for saving me. Thank you for the power of the cross and the salvation found in your blood. I praise you Lord for constant reminders to share your Word with this world. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and transform me into an agent of grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen