What does John 5:42 mean?
ESV: But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
NIV: but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
NASB: but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.
CSB: but I know you--that you have no love for God within you.
NLT: because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.
KJV: But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
NKJV: But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus knows that these men are not following the will of God for a basic reason: they have rejected the One God sent (John 5:38). This rejection is not based on reason or evidence. Jesus has the support of human testimony (John 5:33), miracles (John 5:36), and the written Word of God (John 5:39). The evidence is there, but the men who deny Christ do so in "refusal" (John 5:40). They have made up their minds (Luke 16:31) and so no proof will ever be enough to change their hearts (Romans 1:18–20).

Ultimately, one cannot genuinely love God if they ignore His words (John 5:46) or His messenger (John 5:23). The opening lines of the gospel of John described Jesus as a light who came into the world (John 1:9–11). The reason men reject this light is not because they can't see it, but because they prefer darkness (John 3:19). The Bible is clear that those who truly seek God will accept Christ (Matthew 7:7–8) because He is the one and only way to be reconciled with the Father (John 14:6). Any claims these men made to loving God were contradicted by their own actions and their refusal to accept God's Son.
Verse Context:
John 5:30–47 continues Jesus' response to His critics in Jerusalem. After healing a crippled man on the Sabbath and claiming to be equal with God, Jesus now speaks about evidence. Rather than simply saying, "have faith,'' or ''believe Me because I said so,'' He offers reasons why He should be believed. These include human testimony, the miracles He is performing, and the words of Scripture. Jesus also makes the point that those who reject the prior words of God—the Old Testament Scriptures—aren't going to believe in Christ, no matter what.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus again returns to Jerusalem, as required for the various feast days. While there, He heals a man who had been crippled for nearly forty years. Since this occurred on the Sabbath, local religious leaders are angry. In fact, they are more upset with Jesus for working on the Sabbath than amazed at His miracle. In response, Jesus offers an important perspective on evidence. Jesus refers to human testimony, scriptural testimony, and miracles as reasons to believe His declarations. Christ also lays claim to many of the attributes of God, making a clear claim to divinity.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 through 4 showed Jesus avoiding major publicity. Here, in chapter 5, He will begin to openly challenge the local religious leaders. This chapter is Jesus' first major answer to His critics in this gospel. The fact that Jesus is willing to heal on the Sabbath sets up a theme of His upcoming disagreements with the Pharisees. Jesus also provides an important perspective on the relationship between evidence and faith, which He will expand on in later chapters. This chapter also establishes a key point made by Jesus' critics: His claims to be God.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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