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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
John 5

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-9

46 The first sign, at Calla, signifies the blessing of Israel in the kingdom. This, the second sign, is also at Calla, hence is also concerned with the coming kingdom. The wine prefigured the joy of the favored nation. This second sign foreshadows the healing of that nation. The effect of human government is aptly figured by a burning fever. Never was this more evident than after the great European conflict. The delirium, the weakness, the oppression, the dread of death, possesses the nations. It will be far worse at the time of the end. It will not be cured by human medicaments, but by the coming of Christ. The seventh hour is suggestive of the seventh seal, and the seventh trumpet which proclaims that the world kingdom became our Lord's and His Christ's. . . ( Rev_11:15 ). Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He will assuage the pain and unrest which possesses Israel today. He will change their feverish delirium into a quiet, restful peace.

49 "Lord, descend! " is the only cure for the earth's political ills. The resort to arms has not healed but rather aggravated the sores which caused it. Instead of being the last war it seems to be the seed of further conflict. Even if the war weary world should patch up a truce, it would not last. There is no other cure but "Lord, descend!" This sign does not signify blessing to the nations now, during Israel's defection. At present the fever of the nations continues unabated and all our blessings are spiritual and celestial. The fact that the courtier was connected with the king, suggests that the rule of Israel over the nations is in view, and that they are included in the blessing. The Lord does not visit the son, but heals him at a distance. So He will deal with the nations in the millennial era. When He comes for us we are snatched away to meet Him in the air and enter His very presence, and remain with Him, and share His heavenly rule for the eons. The nations on earth in that day will not be so highly blessed.

52 Yesterday, that is, before sunset of the same day.

1 The third sign brings before us another picture of Israel before and after His advent. They are not only joyless, but weak, infirm through the flesh ( Rom_8:3 ), unable to put into practise the precepts of that holy law which had been given to them. They cannot walk in the commandments. The occasional presence of a prophet sent from God stirred them up and recalled them to righteousness. But it had been a long time since a prophet had risen in Israel and they became almost hopeless of such help. They lay in the portico, outside. Christ is the

Door. Here we have Israel under the old covenant, which they are powerless to fulfill. Their infirmity followed the breaking of its precepts (14). It was given to teach them the excessive sinfulness of sin, and, by transforming sin into transgression, show them their utter helplessness to fulfill His will apart from His enabling grace. The sign signifies that none other than Messiah had given strength to the infirm man, even as He will do for the whole nation when He confirms a new covenant with them, in the days of His coming. Then, like the infirm man, they will have a due sense of their own impotence, and will be looking for some one outside of themselves to introduce them into the sphere of God's healing power. But, as it will be in the future, His Word will be sufficient to turn their weakness into strength. He will put His law in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. . . He will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more ( Jer_31:33-34 ).

2 "Bethesda", in Hebrew, signifies "House of Kindness," an apt designation. Israel abode under the law of Moses, with its five books.

In that day, instead of ineffectual efforts to fulfill the law, and being dispersed among the nations for their failure, He will gather them together from the peoples, and gather them from all of the lands in which they have been scattered and give them the land of Israel. And He will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. He will take away their stony heart and give them a heart of flesh, to walk in His statutes ( Eze_11:17-20 ).

Verses 10-30

10 The day on which the cure was effected indicates that its fulfillment will find place in that great sabbatism that remains for God's people of the Circumcision ( Heb_4:9 ). As a pallet was a mere bundle of bedding, the only burden which the Lord put upon the man who had been infirm was the means of rest. The Jews had no rest in their spirits even on the sabbath. So we have the astonishing absurdity of Jews striving to take away the means of rest on the plea that it was work! They, rather, were breaking the sabbath. They did not hesitate to try to kill Him, no matter what the day might be. This is one of the delusions which blinds all who seek to keep the law. They do not allow themselves real rest even on the sabbath, and those who are burdened with the rest of God are deemed lawbreakers. All rest for man can only be based on God's work.

18 The charge of equality with God brings out a clear statement of the relationship of the Son to the Father. Of Himself the Son is unable to do anything. He does not claim divine power independent of the Father. Neither does He claim to exercise His own will. That is God's prerogative (30). As He has neither the ability nor the will of the Father, the charge of making Himself equal with God was false. Nevertheless, because He did not exercise His own will and because He did nothing except by the power and sanction of the Father, and was sent and commissioned by Him, He is entitled to all the honor due to the Father, for only thus can the Father receive the homage of His creatures. The healing of the impotent man was done by the power and will of the Father. If it was a desecration of the sabbath, then the Father was responsible. How few today really enter into God's rest! His grace and love are bartered for so much faithfulness or service. Instead of the exultant consciousness of His settled smile, there is a constant striving to do something to appease His wrath or fulfill His imaginary demands. God will not have our hands without our hearts. He does not want us to work for Him. He wishes to work through us.

20 The Father's fondness for the Son is one of the most intimate and delightful revelations of Holy Writ. The fondness is not the love which flows out to those least deserving it, but the affection founded on the fellowship of purpose and of work, and agreeable association. It is liking rather than love. It is the great Master Workman initiating His Associate into His great designs.

21 To appreciate fully the greatness of the work of the Son we must grasp the fact that He is more than "file Resurrection. He is the Resurrection and the Life ( Joh_11:25 ). Great as resurrection is, vivification far surpasses it. Resurrection is for the dead. Vivification is for the living or those who have been raised ( Joh_11:26 ). Resurrection imparts physical life, subject to decay and death. Vivification is the life abundant. Those who have it do not die for the eons. All who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, yet for some it will be a resurrection of judgment, for others it will be a resurrection of life. As all resurrection implies life in its ordinary sense, the resurrection of life must impart life in a superlative sense.

22 Judgment is not, in itself, condemnation. It consists in setting things to rights. It is the prerogative of the Son to correct all wrongs, whether done to God or man. He is the Supreme Arbiter and Adjudicator of the universe. All men must submit their cases to His decision.

Hence the honors due to God are accorded Him. As the accredited representative of the Father all affronts He receives are affronts to the Father Who sends Him.

24 Belief is followed by eonian life, or vivification. For such there is no judgment possible, for they receive much more than is right in the gift of life for the eons.

25 This is vivification, for only those who hear shall live. It is for those who believe. It will be fulfilled in the former resurrection ( Rev_20:6 ).

28 This is resurrection, for all hear His voice. Both believers and unbelievers are included. This will be fulfilled at the great white throne judgment ( Rev_20:12 ).

Verses 31-47

31 The usual rendering, "If I bear witness of Myself My witness is not true", is not true ! The Lord Himself insisted, on another occasion, that His testimony concerning Himself was true. "And if I should be testifying concerning Myself, true is My testimony. .." ( Joh_8:14 ). He was not like other men who need references from others to establish the truth of their own account of themselves. Though John the baptist had come for the very purpose of bearing witness to the Coming One, yet He is not dependent on any human testimony whatever. The credibility of Christ's account concerning Himself may be tested in two ways, by His acts and by His fulfillment of the Scriptures. John the baptist did no signs or miracles, but He did many, everyone of which was an attestation to His messianic claims. The sign under discussion is an example of this. The correspondence between the thirty-eight years of Israel's wanderings after the spying out of the land and the length of time the infirm man had suffered implies that the One Who can bring Israel into the kingdom is present. The very point to which they objected-healing on the Sabbath-should have spoken in His favor, for when Israel is healed it will be the great millennial sabbatism for them.

39 The Jews prided themselves greatly on being the depository of the oracles of God, and on knowing His will. Holy could they fail to see in Him the long promised Messiah? Does it not seem strange that He should ask them to search the Scriptures. They did search them to disprove His claims ( Joh_7:52 ), but their search was neither accurate nor honest. Instead of finding that Isaiah ( Joh_9:1-2 ) foretold His ministry in Galilee, they were offended at it and used it against Him. They searched and found that Christ should be born in Bethlehem, and inferred without reason that that should be His home as well. We, as well as they, need to search and believe accurately, honestly, whole-heartedly, if we are to enjoy the fullness there is in the Scriptures.

41 Who else could say this? The true servant of God may be known by this mark. Is he seeking to please men or God? Popularity is often a mark of apostasy.

1-13 Compare Mat_14:13-21 ; Mar_6:31:44 ; Luk_9:10-17 .

1 This is the fourth sign in this account. The first figured Israel's joy in the coming kingdom ( Joh_2:1 ) , the second the healing of the nations ( Joh_4:46 ). The third showed the source of its power ( Joh_5:2 ). The fourth deals with its sustenance. Christ is the Life of the world. He is the true Bread. Mankind is figured by the five thousand, hungry and far from food. The spiritual famine will become so acute that what might suffice for five is all there is for five thousand. Even the great literal famine of the end time does not approach this ( Rev_6:6 ). Then food will be eight times its normal price. Here the lack, is a thousand fold. What does this signify? We know that man shall not be living on bread alone, but on every declaration going out through God's mouth ( Mat_4:4 ). The coming eon will be a time of plenty ( Amo_9:13 ), but the life of the world is not sustained by the stomach, but by the head and heart. It comes from the knowledge of God. In the day when Jehovah shall acquire the remnant of His people, the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea ( Isa_11:9-11 ). Such was the spiritual dearth in the nation when our Lord came the first time that their spiritual sustenance was but a thousandth part of what it should be and what it will be when Messiah comes. The feeding of the multitude is a sign of His presence. A comparison of this sign with the feeding of the four thousand is startling and instructive ( Mat_15:32-38 ; Mar_8:1-9 ). God's provision comes in inverse ratio to human help. When seven loaves and some fishes were used to feed four thousand they gathered seven hampers full of fragments. Surely when only five loaves and two fishes are distributed among five thousand the remnants will be scarce! Not so! For, after feeding the larger number with the smaller provision, there is a larger surplus left. Seven loaves among four thousand left seven hampers. Twelve large panniers remained after the five thousand were fed with only five loaves. And, while the hampers were full, the panniers were packed, crammed to their utmost. It is evident that, the less there is of human help, the greater is His grace. This principle applies to His dealings with Israel and the world at the coming of Christ. The spiritual plenty of that day will not be approached gradually by natural development, by character building and education, but by a miraculous diffusion and multiplication of the knowledge of God. In its personal application, we may deduce that the possession of natural talents is not essential to God's operations. He prefers a famine, where He can furnish food, to a feast where His hand is not needed and His heart is unheeded. He can use the humblest means and mediums to accomplish His miracles.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 5". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/john-5.html. 1968.
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