By: Steve Shirley
Let's begin by reading (Jn 5:1-18).
(Verse 1) "a feast of the Jews" We do not know what "feast" is being celebrated here, however, some believe it was the Passover. I am not sure that this is true, but if it was, it would be the 4th Passover mentioned in the book of John, with the other 3 being (Jn 2:13)(Jn 6:4)(Jn 11:55). As we mentioned in our study of John Chapter 2, these can tell us the approximate length of Jesus' earthly ministry. The first one as Jesus started His ministry, the last one was right before Jesus' death, and there is one (or 2 if this was a Passover feast) in between.
(Verse 2) The "Sheep Gate" (Also mentioned in Neh 3:1, Neh 3:32, Neh 12:39) One of the entrances to the city of Jerusalem. This was likely the entrance used to bring sheep to the Temple to be sacrificed.
(Verses 3-4) The earliest and best manuscripts do not have verse 3 from "waiting for the moving of the water" through the end of verse 4. These were likely later additions, and not part of the original manuscripts.
(Verse 6) Why did Jesus say, "Do you want to be made well?" Doesn't this seem obvious?
(Verses 9-17) "made well..... and that day was the Sabbath" The Sabbath was of course Saturday. The Jews almost certainly knew that the man had been healed, however, their bigger issue was that he was "carrying his bed." This shows where their heart was. Jesus almost certainly anticipated this reaction by the Jews, which was why He chose to heal this man on the Sabbath.
(Verse 14) "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." What does this mean? Was sin the cause of his infirmity?
(Verses 16-18) The Jews first wanted to kill Jesus
for healing on the Sabbath. Then, they wanted to kill Him because He said, "God
was His Father." In saying this, Jesus made "Himself equal with God."
Jesus says something similar a few chapters later. Let's look at this in (Jn 10:30-33).
In (Phil 2:5-6), Paul tells us, "Let this mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
***Note: This was one of several times that Jesus "broke" the Sabbath. Let's turn to a few more: (Lk 6:6-11)(Lk 13:10-17)(Lk 14:1-6). Jesus said in (Mt 12:8)(Mk 2:28)(Lk 6:5) "For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day." This is clearly another instance of Jesus proclaiming His deity, saying that the Sabbath day belonged to Him.
Next, let's read (Jn 5:19-30).
Beginning with verse 17 to the end of this chapter, we see the reason why Jesus has done what He has to this point. It gave Him the opportunity to explain to the Jews who He was in a number of different ways.
(Verses 19-21) Jesus and the Father were equal in their power and works. "the Father raises the dead and gives life to them... ("I do too"). This is likely the "greater works" that Jesus is referring to, as He later "raises the dead" several times (Jn 11:1-44 - Lararus)(Lk 7:11-16)(Lk 8:49-56).
(Verse 22) "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:" This verse is interesting to me! If you have been with me for any period of time, you know that I am "fascinated" by possible appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament (I discuss these here: https://jesusalive.cc/jitot.). So, I ask this question: If "the Father judgeth no man," then when we look at the numerous places where God judged people in the Old Testament, who was doing the judging?
(Verse 23) Jesus says, He and the Father are equally worthy of "honor."
(Verses 24-29) Jesus touches on aspects of what will happen in the future to believers and unbelievers.
(Verse 24)(NASB) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life..." Some versions (i.e. KJV, NKJV) have "believes ON/IN Him who sent me." If you look at the Greek for this, the NASB version rightly phrases this. We don't "believe IN God who sent Jesus to have eternal life," we "believe God who sent Jesus to have eternal life."
(Verse 24) In addition, through Jesus, we shall not "come into judgment," and we have "passed out of death into life." We do not face "judgment" because through His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins. Before Christ, we were "dead in our sins," in Christ, we have "life!"
(Verse 26) I will quote from the John MacArthur Study Bible for this: "He has granted the Son. The Son from all eternity had the right to grant life (1:4). The distinction involves Jesus' deity versus His incarnation. In becoming a man, Jesus voluntarily set aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes and prerogatives (Phil. 2:6-11). Jesus here affirmed that even in His humanity, the Father granted Him "life-giving" power, i.e., the power of resurrection."
(Verses 28-29) Notice that "two" resurrections are mentioned here: "the resurrection of life" and "the resurrection of condemnation." While I am not an expert in eschatology, most agree that this was taken from (Dan 12:2). These "two resurrections" will likely be separate events. A picture of this can be seen in (Rev 20:4-10). Let's look at these verses.
These verses are not tying "doing good" to salvation, but rather, those in Christ will do good works. If a person claims to be a Christian, and they do not do good works, they are not saved, and are "evil" (James 2:14-20)(Rom 2:5-10)(Jn 3:21). Jesus says this in (Jn 6:29), "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
(Verse 30) "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." The first priority of Jesus was to do the "will of the Father." He says this in several other places as well (Mt 26:39-42)(Jn 4:34)(Jn 6:38). This is part of the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Mt 6:10) If we had this same desire, how would our lives be different today?
Let's close by reading (Jn 5:31-47).
These verses go back to the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, witnesses were needed in order to establish the truth of a matter. Here are two examples:
(Deut 17:6) At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
(Deut 19:15) One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
We see two more examples of this in the New Testament. First, let's turn to (Mt 18:15-20). Next, let's look at (Jn 8:12-18).
Tied to this, Jesus gives a list of "witnesses" who can testify as to who He is.
(Verses 31-35) The first witness is John the Baptist.
(Verse 36) The second witness is the "works" (miracles) that Jesus did.
(Verses 37-38) The third witness is God the Father.
(Verses 39-47) The fourth witness is "the Scriptures." This is speaking of the numerous places in the Old Testament which "testified" of Him.
(Verse 41) "I receive not honour from men." Jesus was not who the Jews expected the Messiah to be. As a result, He did not receive "honour" from them.
(Verse 46) "Moses.... wrote about me.... but you do not believe his writings" We find numerous things in the writings of Moses which pointed to Jesus (i.e. Gen 3:15, Gen 12:2-3, Gen 49:8-12, Deut 18:15).