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Bible Commentaries
John 5

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


There was a Jewish religions feast. Probably the second Passover Jesus attended since his public ministry began. The feast is mentioned as the reason for Jesus going to Jerusalem.

Verse 2


A pool with five porches. The porches were shelters for the sick, who lay jammed together on them.

Verses 3-4


A large crowd of sick people. Hoping for a miracle. The part in brackets [1] is omitted in most ancient manuscripts, but is found in the Latin Vulgate and was known in the second century. John 5:7 seems to imply it, and it is in harmony with the Jewish understanding of the work of angels.

Verse 5


A man was there. He probably was paralyzed, and had been for thirty-eight years!

Verse 6


Do you want to get well? He asks this to get the man’s attention, and to arouse him to hope.

Verse 7


Sir, I don’t have anyone. The man seems hopeless, because he believes only the first one to get into the water would be healed. He could move by himself, but not fast enough.

Verse 8


Get up. Jesus spoke with authority, as the Son of God.

Verse 9


Immediately the man got well. When Jesus spoke, the man was instantly healed! Immediately the now well man picks up his mat [bed] and walks! This man: (1) heard Christ’s word of command; (2) obeys (the act of faith); (3) as he obeys, he is healed. It is Jesus who heals, but the man reaches out through faith to seize the blessing.

Verse 10


So the Jewish authorities told the man. The man is officially stopped and questioned. The law did say this (Jeremiah 17:21). The Tradition made it even stronger.

Verse 11


The man who made me well told me. This is the man’s defence. He thinks anyone who can heal his sickness ought to be obeyed.

Verses 12-13


Who is this man? But the man did not know who Jesus was.

Verse 14


Quit your sins. This implies the man’s sickness was caused by his own sins (compare Mark 2:5-10). (1) Jesus sets men free from the wrath of the Law; (2) being set free is a command to repudiate sin.

Verse 15


And told the Jewish authorities. He knows who Jesus is now, but probably does not think he is doing the wrong thing by telling the authorities who had done this miracle to him.

Verse 16


For this reason. Jesus had “kicked” their Tradition by healing the man on the Sabbath day.

Verse 17


My Father works always, and I too must work. The basis of the Sabbath recess, was that God had recessed his work of creation on the seventh day. But God had not quit, but continued to do his works of love and mercy. The Sabbath does not suspend benevolence and mercy. The Father’s example is our pattern.

Verse 18


This saying made the Jewish authorities. They are horrified! Not only has he “kicked” their Tradition by healing on the Sabbath, but he said God was his own Father! This was blasphemy to them!

Verses 19-21

19–21. So Jesus answered them. He answers their charge of blasphemy by showing there is the closest cooperation between the Father and the Son. The Son does nothing on his own. This is said directly about Jesus himself. So close is the Son and the Father, that the Son does only what the Father authorizes him to do. See Colossians 1:20 and note. Even as the Father raises the dead. Jesus had just given life to one who was as good as dead for thirty-eight years.

Verses 22-23


So that all will honor the Son. God has placed “judgment” in the hands of Christ. The Son who speaks and acts by the Father’s authority is to be honored. Whoever does not honor the Son. To reject Jesus the Son is to reject God the Father! Jesus is the ONLY “means of access” to the Father!

Verse 24


Has eternal life. Hearing Jesus and believing in God through what he says, brings eternal life. Faith is “obediential.” See note on James 2:19.

Verses 25-27


When the dead will hear the voice. The spiritually dead, such as the man in John 5:5. But this means the resurrection as well, as Jesus says in John 5:28. Because he is the Son of Man. Jesus is THE Son of Man, because: (1) He has had “first-hand experience” with our humanity (Hebrews 4:15-16). (2) He is the “go-between,” God in human form, Job complained: “But there is no one to step between us no one to judge both God and me” Job 9:33). THERE IS NOW!

Verses 28-29


Do not be surprised at this. That is, at the fact that the Father has given the Son the right to judge. Jesus here points out the BODILY raising of all the dead! This was one of the facts of the Good News that was to amaze people. Jesus himself came out of his grave in BODILY form. So shall we all (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).

Verses 30-31


I can do nothing on my own. Jesus makes it clear that both he and the Father are one in intent. His relationship to mankind (Hebrews 2:14-18) grows out of the intent and plan of the Father. If I testify on my own behalf. That is, if only he testified in his own behalf, it would not be sufficient evidence for proof. This does not mean his testimony would be untrue (John 8:14).

Verse 32


But there is someone else. McGarvey says this is the Father, and cites John 8:50-54 as a similar section.

Verse 33


You sent your messengers to John. John 1:19. They evidently believed what John said. And he spoke on behalf of the truth. John the Baptist had clearly identified Jesus as the Messiah (John 1:29-36).

Verse 34


It is not that I must have a man’s witness. John the Baptist was a reliable witness. Yet, as the scripture says: “God must be true, even though every man is a liar” (Romans 3:4). The important witness is the Father. That you may be saved. He points them to the testimony of John [and of the Father]. If they will believe, they may be saved.

Verse 35


John was like a lamp. John the Baptist led a great spiritual renewal among the Jewish people, But like children, they listened for a while, but had not taken him seriously.

Verses 36-38


Even greater than. The miracles which Jesus did through the Father’s power [and his other works]; the Father’s voice at his baptism; the Father’s testimony through the prophets. You have never heard his voice. That is, they refused to listen when God spoke. And you do not keep his message. The Father has given his testimony through the prophets and through John the Baptist, but they will not believe in the One who was sent by the Father.

Verses 39-41


You study the Scriptures. They were looking to find eternal life. Compare Romans 9:30-33. And they themselves speak about me! The Scriptures gave their witness to Christ, The entire Old Testament pointed forward to “Someone is coming!” I am not looking for praise from men. He has scolded them, but not because of pride or ambition. He came to be the world’s Savior!

Verses 42-43


But I know you. This is fact! He could look deep down inside them to see what they really were. With my Father’s authority. If they had really loved God, they would have believed in Jesus. When someone comes with his own authority. They rejected Jesus, who was their only hope. But when fake messiahs would come, they would believe them (Matthew 24:5).

Verse 44


How, then, can you believe? Their unbelief grew out of their greed for glory and fame! They wanted a “messiah” who would give them important positions in a political kingdom. Compare Luke 17:20-21 and notes there.

Verses 45-47


Moses is the one who will accuse you. They thought they believed Moses, but they didn’t! If they disbelieve Moses, whom they honored, how could they believe Christ whom they did not honor? In rejecting Christ, they were also rejecting Moses, since he wrote about Christ.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/john-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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