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IN JERUSALEM AGAIN
46. Healing at Bethesda and its outcome (John 5:1-29)
Jesus came from Galilee to Jerusalem for a Jewish religious festival. While there he visited a pool where many blind and crippled people hoped to find healing (John 5:1-5). One of the men asked Jesus for help, not to heal him (for he did not know who Jesus was) but to assist him into the pool. Jesus responded by healing him instantly (John 5:6-9). As the healing took place on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders were anxious to find out who was responsible. Jesus must have known that the healed man’s wrongdoing was partly the cause of his troubles, and urged him to repent. But the man’s response was to report Jesus to those who were looking for him (John 5:10-15).
When the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath laws, he replied that his Father also works on the Sabbath. Day by day he maintains the world and cares for his creatures. When he makes the sun to rise, the rain to fall and the grass to grow on the Sabbath, he does not break the law. Jesus is united with his Father, and he does not sin when he carries out acts of mercy on the Sabbath (John 5:16-17).
The Jews objected even more strongly when they heard Jesus call God his Father. Jesus replied that in all their work the Father and the Son are united. They are separate persons, but one God. In healing on the Sabbath, Jesus was not acting against the Father’s commands, but doing what the Father wanted (John 5:18-20a).
Because Jesus is God, he will do even greater works than this; he will raise the dead to life and bring in final judgment. Those who reject the Son dishonour God, but those who receive the Son pass immediately from spiritual death to spiritual life (John 5:20-24). When the dead are raised for final judgment, that judgment will be carried out by the Son. But there will be no condemnation for those who have received the life that he offers (John 5:25-29).
47. Witness to Jesus (John 5:30-47)
Jesus acted with God’s authority, but he would not give evidence on his own behalf to try to convince the Jews. God was his witness, and Jesus accepted his witness even if the Jews did not (John 5:30-32). With God as his witness, Jesus needed no other, but if the Jews wanted earthly witnesses, they were available. Jesus gave them three, which would satisfy those who wanted to judge him according to the requirements for witnesses under Jewish law (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15). The first was John the Baptist. His announcement of the coming of the Messiah was like the introduction of a lamp in a dark place. People at first welcomed him, but when they saw that he was calling them to turn from their sinful ways they lost interest (John 5:33-35).
The second witness was the work of Jesus. His miracles were visible proof of the presence and power of the invisible God. But again the Jews did not believe (John 5:36-38). Third, there were the Old Testament Scriptures, which the Jews studied diligently, thinking that by keeping the law they would gain eternal life. Yet their studies did not lead them to accept the Saviour to whom the Scriptures pointed, and therefore they did not receive eternal life (John 5:39-40).
Unlike the Jews, Jesus did not look for human praise. The Jews welcomed those who appointed themselves teachers, but rejected the one whom God appointed (John 5:41-44). If they understood the real meaning of Moses’ law instead of arguing about rules and regulations, they would welcome Jesus. They would see that he was the one to whom Moses’ teaching pointed. In rejecting him they rejected Moses, and so were condemned by the very things that Moses wrote (John 5:45-47).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 5". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany