Robert D. Pace

John 3:31‑35

Today, I want us to focus our attention on Jesus Christ—the One the Old Testament spoke of hundreds of times. The finger of genealogy traced His lineage through Abraham, Judah, David and thirty-nine others. The feet of chronology walked Him into that First Century stable in Bethlehem. He is the centerpiece of Scripture, the focal point of human history, and the preeminent figure of all time—Jesus Christ! It stands to reason that Christianity’s most important question is, Who is Jesus Christ? The entire Christian Faith rests upon this question. If He’s God, then our Faith is safe. If He’s a fraud, our eternal destiny is at stake. Think about the many times the question is dealt with in Scripture:

    The question the Scribes and Pharisees asked: “Who is this man, do we not know His brothers and sisters, is He not the carpenter’s son?”

    It’s what those of Jerusalem wanted to know when He rode into their city on Palm Sunday: “Who is this man?”

    This was Pilate’s demand when Jesus stood trial in the Roman Judgment Hall: “Are you the king of the Jews?”

    It’s what Christ wanted to know from His disciples as they huddled around Him in Caesarea Philippi: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

In Luke 11:15 the religionists had the question answered. They asserted: “We know who He is, He is “Beelzebub.” And in John 8:48 they labeled Him a ‘demon‑possessed half‑breed.’ In John 9:24 the Pharisees were certain about His identity. They said: “We know this man is a sinner;” and in Matthew 11 they determined He was “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners”” (19). But not everyone mischaracterized Him:

    When John saw Him at the Jordan River he declared: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

    In Matthew 16 Peter said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

    When Jesus opened the heart of the woman at the well she declared Him to be ‘the Messiah.’

    On the mount of Transfiguration the Heavenly Father said: “This is My Son, whom I love. Listen to Him” (MAR 9:7).

    Paul said in Colossians 1:15‑16: “He is the image of the invisible God” and the creator of all things!

    John said in Revelation 19:16 He is the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

    And Jesus concluded the matter in Revelation 22 by saying He was: “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

I suppose if you had to condense all Scripture has to say about the personage of Christ you could summarize it like this: Jesus Christ is Lord! I love the assessment John provides in our text: “The one who comes from above is above all” (3:31). What does that imply? It means you could pile all the Himalayas, Alpines, Everests, and Rockies atop each other and Christ’s glory would still need to spread its wings and descend the altitudes to touch their highest summit. It means, even with the galaxies stacked atop the other, Christ is yet above them all. Jesus is indeed the over‑topping figure of all time!

(Transition) Now what does it mean for Jesus to be “above all”? We could inject many truths here, but time will permit us to propose only a few. First, for Jesus to be “above all” He must be the conqueror of human weaknesses. And He is!

I.    Christ is Conqueror of Human Weaknesses

Many young people assumed they were invincible. But it doesn’t take too long for them to learn they were mortal. And we discover our mortality in many ways: a tiny, invisible virus in the bloodstream can sideline us for several days; a broken bone can take weeks to heal. Injuries and improper eating habits can debilitate the human body.

Age is perhaps the most intemperate reminder of our humanity. We keep doctors busy cutting away wrinkles, engrafting hair, and enhancing body parts; all because we are consumed with preserving our appearance. But nobody can tame time or avert death.

And if age doesn’t wear us out we have disease and misfortune with which to contend. Despite scientific and medical breakthroughs there are still avenues of life that constrain us. But Christ was unfettered at every point. And that’s what the story of the paralytic reveals in John 5.

John 5:1‑9

It’s interesting how John meticulously described this miracle. And his details of this story sharpen and shape the significance of this miracle.

1.       First, this episode transpires in Jerusalem, the religious capital of the world. If people should have been healthy anywhere it should have been those living in Jerusalem. It was the hub of rabbis, priests, scribes, and prophets. The great Temple was there. Despite this John said “a great multitude of sick folks gathered there.”

Folks, religion without the welcomed and living presence of Christ is powerless! It’s Christ that infuses Christianity with supernatural power.

2.       Secondly, John said the miracle took place at the pool of Bethesda. This was a pool where sufferers gathered to receive healing from an angel that stirred the water. But this man remained infirmed despite his many years spent at the water. The supernatural was just beyond reach.

3.       Thirdly, John recorded this miracle happening by the “sheep gate.” There’s little historical information profiling this gate so we can make limited assumptions. Because lambs were a vital aspect of Jewish festivals we assume this was a marketplace for purchasing and washing sacrificial lambs. This meant multitudes thronged this area. Yet, this man remained crippled despite the thousands of worshipers that passed before him.

4.       John mentions this miracle transpiring among a vast assemblage of helpless suffers. Get the picture. It was a squalor of the blind, lame, and paralyzed all hovering around this water. For these people, and especially this lame man, it was hope against hope.

But with all the conditions contrary to optimism, Christ arrives, stands before this man and says, ‘You’ve been lame long enough, arise, pick up your mat and walk.’ And immediately every bone in his body cracked into place and he claimed perfect health! No medical examination could have explained it. His recovery was simply miraculous. He was helpless thirty-eight years until one sentence from Christ cured him. What a way for Jesus to illustrate His mastery over human weaknesses!

God’s Willingness to Meet Our Needs

But there’s another message the Holy Spirit reveals here. It’s the revelation of God’s willingness to change our circumstances! Many people don’t understand how much God desires to meet their needs. They have problems, but they’re unsure whether He’s interested in solving them.

(Example) But God expressly discloses His willingness to meet man’s needs over 365 times the Bible. That’s one expression of His goodness for every day of the year. And fifty-nine times in the four Gospels Jesus said, “I will.”

    To the man with leprosy Jesus said: I will make you whole” (MAT 8:3).

    For the Centurion’s servant He said: “I will come and heal him” (MAT 8:7).

    To the weary and oppressed He said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (MAT 11:28).

    To the repenting sinner He says: “whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (JOH 6:37).

    To the one who approaches God by faith He says: “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (JOH 14:14).

    To those needing companionship He says: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (JOH 14:18).

    To the Church He says: “on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (MAT 16:19).

    And, confident of Christ’s willingness to deliver, the apostle Paul declared: “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (PHI 4:19).

    Jeremiah 33:3 says: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Thank God, Christ not only can, He will! And whatever your need, the Bible says: “God will provide!” The answer to your situation may not appear anywhere on the horizon. But a quick study of David’s life testifies to God’s predisposition toward meeting your needs.

    As a youth David used God’s power to vanquish a lion and a bear that attacked his flock.

    As a teenager he met Goliath in the valley of Elah and with only a slingshot toppled that giant.

    As a King he routinely overpowered armies from without and conspiracies from within.

    And at his death his epitaph was: “I have been young, and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed out begging for bread.”

Folks, we’re limited. We understand that. But we must never allow our faith to get hedged, handcuffed, or halted to where we focus on our frailty rather than God’s omnipotence! We need to concentrate on Jehovah-Jireh who says: “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”(JER 32:27). Christ is the conqueror of human weaknesses and He’s willing to meet your need.

(Transition) But not only is this incomparable Christ the conqueror of human weaknesses, secondly, Christ knows no limitations.

II. Christ Knows No Limitations

Read: John 6:5‑15

The central point from this account is found in verse six when Jesus asked Philip where enough bread could be found to feed the crowd. Jesus knew the solution from the start but He asked this question for a specific reason. He was about to demonstrate His ability to supply. Here was a crowd, by anyone’s calculations, too large to eat from one boy’s lunch. But how many times has the Bible proven: Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity? Do you understand that God desires to demonstrate His supply to us? And just like Philip, it requires the testing of faith. When Jesus tested Philip’s faith He quickly found that Philip possessed very little. Jesus asked, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat” and Philip immediately began counting dollars and cents. He should have looked to omnipotence.

Few people can plead exemption from this failure. In distressing times our natural inclination is to look at lack instead of focusing faith on God’s power. Philip, one of the twelve, should have never given such an answer. Here Jesus was smiting cancers, curing lepers, leaving His footprints on the water, and Philip looks immediately at mortal limitations. “[Lord,] Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Then Andrew steps into the picture with his offer: “[Lord,] Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” That’s not much faith either, but remember, all it takes is mustard-seed faith to relocate the mountains.

God doesn’t need vast resources to perform miracles! His economy doesn’t operate according to human calculations. When He took the boy’s little lunch and distributed it to the multitude He was exercising divine arithmetic. And divine arithmetic first subtracts in order to increase. Jesus took away the boy’s lunch and then multiplied it to thousands. Maybe God is taking something from you so He can multiply back something far greater!

(Transition) Finally, not only is the incomparable Christ the conqueror of human weaknesses, and unrestricted by human limitations, but Christ is the great “I am.”

III.  Christ is the Great “I Am”

Jesus was more than human, He was divine. As the consummate conqueror it was impossible for Him to be less than divine. And He repeatedly emphasized His divinity when He said He was the “I am.” This was the precise designation Jehovah-God asserted about Himself in the Old Testament. At the burning bush in Exodus 3 God told Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt through the power of the Name “I Am.” He was saying: “Moses, “I am” whatever you and My people need me to be. “I am _______,” now you fill in the blank.” Folks, only one person is qualified to make such a statement—God Almighty! He alone is the all‑sufficient One! When Jesus said He was the “I am” the Jews knew He equated Himself with the Father. That’s why they accused Him of blasphemy. A clear example is found in John 8.

Read: John 8:53‑59

My how Jesus infuriated the religious hierarchy. They weren’t about to accept His pre-Abrahamic claim. Here was some 30 year-old dissident unaffiliated with their cliche claiming to be older and superior than Abraham, the grand statesman. And they weren’t buying it! I know it’s difficult to comprehend the mystery of Christ’s nature. But if you don’t believe His divinity not much else about Him makes sense. Everything He did and said hinge upon His divinity.

    His teaching and miracles can’t be understood without subscribing to His deity. Abraham died 2028 years earlier when Jesus informed the Jews He preceded him. That’s impossible to understand without believing in His divinity.

    Can an ordinary man be in a thousand places at once? Christ said He could. Jesus said: “where two or three come together in my Name, there am I with them” (MAT 18:20). Try to understand that without believing in His divinity.

    How is it possible for a mere man to defy the laws of nature and walk on water, or use a few words and calm a raging storm, or wither a tree from the roots up? None of it makes any sense, unless there’s a fundamental belief in His divinity.

    Where’s the medical journal explaining His healings, or the physiology book explaining His resurrection, or the science treatise explaining His ascension? None can be explained without a belief in His divine nature!

He’s either Christ, born of the virgin Mary, wholly God and wholly man, or the greatest imposter that ever lived. I believe He is the incarnate Son of God . . . the great “I am.” He didn’t merely stumble onto that divine “I am” title but He repeatedly invoked this divine designation. He said:

    “I Am the Bread of life” signifying His sufficiency to satisfy man’s most innate drive to survive.

    “I Am the Water of life” signifying His sufficiency to satisfy man’s need for refreshment.

    “I Am the Vine” signifying His ability to supply nourishment and vitality.

    “I Am the Good Shepherd” signifying His care and concern for His flock.

    “I Am the Light of the world” signifying the clear direction He provides.

    “I Am the Door” signifying He is the exclusive entrance into God’s Kingdom. He isn’t a way, or an entrance into eternal life, He’s the only way to eternal life!

(Example) We live in a day when it’s popular, conventional, and religiously correct to believe in many doors leading to eternal life. Stare at a crystal, repeat a mantra, or just live a good life and Heaven is yours.

Folks, I have no hesitation being dogmatic here. Jesus is the only way to eternal life. He said, “I Am the way, the truth and the life,” and that signified His singular ability to furnish man’s eternal redemption. That’s not a fact because orthodox Christians attest to it, it’s a fact because God’s Word declares it, and that settles it!


Heaven is ensconced with a 10,000-mile jasper wall. Its streets are paved with translucent gold. A perfectly pitched rainbow arcs God’s throne and it’s surrounded by no less than 100 million angels. Crowns before Him, angels surround Him, wealth incalculable, and it’s all arranged to bring glory to One person—Jesus Christ.

    He was fairer than the flowers that illustrated His sermons.

    He was brighter than the star that pointed toward the manger.

    And He was higher than the heavens from which He descended.

What a Savior! He is conqueror of human weaknesses, He is the Lord without limitations, and He is the great “I am.” Jesus Christ is the incomparable, over-topping figure of human history. If you don’t know Him as your personal Lord and Savior, invite Him into your heart now.