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After these things (μετα ταυτα). John is fond of this vague phrase (John 3:22; John 6:1). He does not mean that this incident follows immediately. He is supplementing the Synoptic Gospels and does not attempt a full story of the work of Jesus. Some scholars needlessly put chapter 5 after chapter 6 because in chapter 6 Jesus is in Galilee as at the end of chapter 4. But surely it is not incongruous to think of Jesus making a visit to Jerusalem before the events in chapter 6 which undoubtedly come within a year of the end (John 6:4).
A feast of the Jews (εορτη των Ιουδαιων). Some manuscripts have the article (η) "the feast" which would naturally mean the passover. As a matter of fact there is no way of telling what feast it was which Jesus here attended. Even if it was not the passover, there may well be another passover not mentioned besides the three named by John (John 2:13; John 2:23; John 6:4).
Went up (ανεβη). Second aorist active indicative of αναβαινω. It was up towards Jerusalem from every direction save from Hebron.
There is (εστιν). Bengel argues that this proves a date before the destruction of Jerusalem, but it is probably only John's vivid memory.
By the sheep gate (επ τη προβατικη). Supply πυλη (gate) which occurs with the adjective προβατικη (pertaining to sheep, προβατα) in Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 3:22.
A pool (κολυμβηθρα). A diving or swimming pool (from κολυμβαω, to swim, Acts 27:43), old word, only here in N.T.
Which is called (η επιλεγομενη). "The surnamed" (present passive participle, only N.T. example except Acts 15:40 first aorist middle participle επιλεξαμενος).
In Hebrew (Εβραιστ). "In Aramaic" strictly as in John 19:13; John 19:17; John 19:20; John 20:16; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 16:16.
Bethesda (Βεθεσδα, or House of Mercy. So A C Syr cu). Aleph D L 33 have Βεθζαθα or House of the Olive, while B W Vulg. Memph. have Βεθσαιδα.
Having five porches (πεντε στοας εχουσα). Στοα was a covered colonnade where people can gather from which Stoic comes (Acts 17:18). See John 10:23; Acts 3:11. Schick in 1888 found twin pools north of the temple near the fortress of Antonia one of which has five porches. It is not, however, certain that this pool existed before A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed (Sanday, Sacred Sites of the Gospels, p. 55). Some have identified it with the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7), though John distinguishes them. There is also the Virgin's Well, called the Gusher, because it periodically bubbles over from a natural spring, a kind of natural siphon. This is south of the temple in the Valley of Kedron and quite possibly the real site.
In these (εν ταυταις). In these five porches.
Lay (κατεκειτο). Imperfect middle of κατακειμα, to lie down, singular number because πληθος (multitude) is a collective substantive.
Withered (ξηρων). Old adjective ξηρος for dry, wasted as the hand (Matthew 12:10). The oldest and best manuscripts omit what the Textus Receptus adds here "waiting for the moving of the water" (εκδεχομενον την του υδατος κινησιν), a Western and Syrian addition to throw light on the word ταραχθη (is troubled) in verse John 5:7.
All of this verse is wanting in the oldest and best manuscripts like Aleph B C D W 33 Old Syriac, Coptic versions, Latin Vulgate. It is undoubtedly added, like the clause in verse John 5:3, to make clearer the statement in verse John 5:7. Tertullian is the earliest writer to mention it. The Jews explained the healing virtues of the intermittent spring by the ministry of angels. But the periodicity of such angelic visits makes it difficult to believe. It is a relief to many to know that the verse is spurious.
Which had been thirty and eight years (τριακοντα κα οκτω ετη εχων). Literally, "having thirty and eight years," "having spent thirty and eight years."
Knew that he had been a long time (γνους οτ πολυν ηδη χρονον εχε). How Jesus "knew" (γνους, second aorist active participle of γινωσκω) we are not told, whether supernatural knowledge (John 2:24) or observation or overhearing people's comments. In ηδη εχε we have a progressive present active indicative, "he has already been having much time" (χρονον, accusative of extent of time).
Wouldest thou be made whole? (Θελεις υγιης γενεσθαι;). "Dost thou wish to become whole?" Predicate nominative υγιης with γενεσθα (second aorist middle infinitive). It was a pertinent and sympathetic question.
When the water is troubled (οταν ταραχθη το υδωρ). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν and the first aorist passive subjunctive of ταρασσω, old verb to agitate (Matthew 2:3). The popular belief was that, at each outflow of this intermittent spring, there was healing power in the water for the first one getting in.
To put me into the pool (ινα βαλη με εις την κολυμβηθραν). Final use of ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of βαλλω, "that he throw me in" quickly before any one else. For this use of βαλλω see Mark 7:30; Luke 16:20.
But while I am coming (εν ω δε ερχομα). Temporal use of the relative, "in which time" (χρονω or καιρω understood). Εγω (I) is emphatic.
Arise, take up thy bed, and walk (Εγειρε, αρον τον κραβαττον σου κα περιπατε). Present active imperative of εγειρω, a sort of exclamation, like our "Get up." The first active imperative (αρον of αιρω) means to pick up the pallet, and then "go on walking" (present active imperative of περιπατεω). For κραβαττον (pallet) see Mark 2:2-12; Mark 6:55; Acts 5:15; Acts 9:33.
Took up his bed and walked (ηρε τον κραβαττον αυτου κα περιεπατε). The same distinction in tenses in the same verbs preserved, punctiliar action in ηρε (first aorist active of αιρω, took it up at once) and linear act (imperfect active of περιπατεω, went on walking).
The sabbath on that day (σαββατον εν εκεινη τη ημερα). The first of the violations of the Sabbath rules of the Jews by Jesus in Jerusalem that led to so much bitterness (cf. John 9:14; John 9:16). This controversy will spread to Galilee on Christ's return there (Mark 2:23-3; Matthew 12:1-14; Luke 6:1-11).
Unto him that was cured (τω τεθεραπευμενω). Perfect passive articular participle of θεραπευω (only example in John), "to the healed man." See Matthew 8:7.
To take up thy bed (αρα τον κραβαττον). The very words of Jesus (verse John 5:8), only infinitive (first aorist active). Carrying burdens was considered unlawful on the Sabbath (Exodus 23:12; Nehemiah 13:19; Jeremiah 17:21). Stoning was the rabbinical punishment. The healing of the man was a minor detail.
But he answered (ος δε απεκριθη). Demonstrative ος (But this one) and deponent use of απεκριθη (first aorist passive indicative of αποκρινομα with no passive force).
The same (εκεινος). "That one," emphatic demonstrative as often in John (John 1:18; John 1:33; John 9:37; John 10:1, etc.). The man did not know who Jesus was nor even his name. He quotes the very words of Jesus.
Whole (υγιη). Predicate accusative agreeing with με (me).
Who is the man? (Τις εστιν ο ανθρωποσ;). Contemptuous expression, "Who is the fellow?" They ask about the command to violate the Sabbath, not about the healing.
He that was healed (ο ιαθεις). First aorist passive articular participle of ιαομα (John's usual word).
Who it was (τις εστιν). Present tense preserved in indirect question.
Had conveyed himself away (εξενευσεν). First aorist active indicative of εκνεω, old verb to swim out, to slip out, or from εκνευω, to turn out, to turn the head to one side (to one side with which compare ενενευον, they nodded, Luke 1:62). Either of these verbs can explain the form here. The aorist tense simply states an antecedent action without being a pastperfect.
A multitude being in the place (οχλου οντος εν τω τοπω). Genitive absolute and the reason for Christ's departure.
Findeth him (ευρισκε αυτον). Dramatic present as in John 1:45, possibly after search as in John 9:35.
Sin no more (μηκετ αμαρτανε). "No longer go on sinning." Present active imperative with μηκετ, a clear implication that disease was due to personal sin as is so often the case. Jesus used the same words to the woman taken in adultery in the spurious passage (John 8:11). He had suffered for 38 years. All sickness is not due to personal sin (John 9:3), but much is and nature is a hard paymaster. Jesus is here living up to his name (Matthew 1:21).
Lest a worse thing befall thee (ινα μη χειρον σο τ γενητα). Negative final clause with second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομα. Χειρον is comparative of κακος, bad. Worse than the illness of 38 years, bad as that is. He will now be sinning against knowledge.
Went away and told (απηλθεν κα ειπεν). Both aorist active indicatives. Instead of giving heed to the warning of Jesus about his own sins he went off and told the Jews that now he knew who the man was who had commanded him to take up his bed on the Sabbath Day, to clear himself with the ecclesiastics and escape a possible stoning.
That it was Jesus (οτ Ιησους εστιν). Present indicative preserved in indirect discourse. The man was either ungrateful and wilfully betrayed Jesus or he was incompetent and did not know that he was bringing trouble on his benefactor. In either case one has small respect for him.
Persecute (εδιωκον). Inchoative imperfect, "began to persecute" and kept it up. They took this occasion as one excuse (δια τουτο, because of this). They disliked Jesus when here first (John 2:18) and were suspicious of his popularity (John 4:1). Now they have cause for an open breach.
Because he did (οτ εποιε). Imperfect active, not just this one act, but he was becoming a regular Sabbath-breaker. The Pharisees will watch his conduct on the Sabbath henceforth (Mark 2:23; Mark 3:2).
Answered (απεκρινατο). Regular aorist middle indicative of αποκρινομα, in John here only and verse John 5:19, elsewhere απεκριθη as in verse John 5:11.
My Father (ο πατερ μου). Not "our Father," claim to peculiar relation to the Father.
Worketh even until now (εως αρτ εργαζετα). Linear present middle indicative, "keeps on working until now" without a break on the Sabbath. Philo points out this fact of the continuous activity of God. Justin Martyr, Origen and others note this fact about God. He made the Sabbath for man's blessing, but cannot observe it himself.
And I work (καγω εργαζομα). Jesus puts himself on a par with God's activity and thus justifies his healing on the Sabbath.
Sought the more (μαλλον εζητουν). Imperfect active of ζητεω, graphic picture of increased and untiring effort "to kill him" (αυτον αποκτεινα, first aorist active, to kill him off and be done with him). John repeats this clause "they sought to kill him" in John 7:1; John 7:19; John 7:25; John 8:37; John 8:40. Their own blood was up on this Sabbath issue and they bend every energy to put Jesus to death. If this is a passover, this bitter anger, murderous wrath, will go on and grow for two years.
Not only brake the Sabbath (ου μονον ελυε το σαββατον). Imperfect active of λυω. He was now a common and regular Sabbath-breaker. Λυω means to loosen, to set at naught. The papyri give examples of λυω in this sense like λυειν τα πενθη (to break the period of mourning). This was the first grudge against Jesus, but his defence had made the offence worse and had given them a far graver charge.
But also called God his own Father (αλλα κα πατερα ιδιον ελεγε τον θεον). "His own" (ιδιον) in a sense not true of others. That is precisely what Jesus meant by "My Father." See Romans 8:32 for ο ιδιος υιος, "his own Son."
Making himself equal with God (ισον εαυτον ποιων τω θεω). Ισος is an old common adjective (in papyri also) and means
equal . In Philippians 2:6 Paul calls the Pre-incarnate Christ ισα θεω, "equal to God" (plural ισα, attributes of God). Bernard thinks that Jesus would not claim to be ισος θεω because in John 14:28 he says: "The Father is greater than I." And yet he says in John 14:7 that the one who sees him sees in him the Father. Certainly the Jews understood Jesus to claim equality with the Father in nature and privilege and power as also in John 10:33; John 19:7. Besides, if the Jews misunderstood Jesus on this point, it was open and easy for him to deny it and to clear up the misapprehension. This is precisely what he does not do. On the contrary Jesus gives a powerful apologetic in defence of his claim to equality with the Father (verses John 5:19-47).
The Son (ο υιος). The absolute use of the Son in relation to the Father admitting the charge in verse John 5:18 and defending his equality with the Father.
Can do nothing by himself (ου δυνατα ποιειν αφ εαυτου ουδεν). True in a sense of every man, but in a much deeper sense of Christ because of the intimate relation between him and the Father. See this same point in John 5:30; John 7:28; John 8:28; John 14:10. Jesus had already made it in John 5:17. Now he repeats and defends it.
But what he seeth the Father doing (αν μη τ βλεπη τον πατερα ποιουντα). Rather, "unless he sees the Father doing something." Negative condition (αν μη=εαν μη, if not, unless) of third class with present (habit) subjunctive (βλεπη) and present active participle (ποιουντα). It is a supreme example of a son copying the spirit and work of a father. In his work on earth the Son sees continually what the Father is doing. In healing this poor man he was doing what the Father wishes him to do.
For what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner (α γαρ αν εκεινος ποιη ταυτα κα ο υιος ομοιως ποιε). Indefinite relative clause with αν and the present active subjunctive (ποιη). Note εκεινος, emphatic demonstrative, that one, referring to the Father. This sublime claim on the part of Jesus will exasperate his enemies still more.
Loveth (φιλε). In John 3:35 we have αγαπα from αγαπαω, evidently one verb expressing as noble a love as the other. Sometimes a distinction (John 21:17) is made, but not here, unless φιλεω presents the notion of intimate friendship (φιλος, friend), fellowship, the affectionate side, while αγαπαω (Latin diligo) is more the intelligent choice. But John uses both verbs for the mystery of love of the Father for the Son.
Greater works than these (μειζονα τουτων εργα). Τουτων is ablative case after the comparative μειζονα (from μεγας, great). John often uses εργα for the miracles of Christ (John 5:36; John 7:3; John 7:21; John 10:25; John 10:32; John 10:38, etc.). It is the Father who does these works (John 14:10). There is more to follow. Even the disciples will surpass what Christ is doing in the extent of the work (John 14:12). Δειξε is future active indicative of δεικνυμ, to show. See also John 10:32.
That ye may marvel (ινα υμεις θαυμαζητε). Purpose clause with ινα and present active subjunctive of θαυμαζω. Wonder belongs to childhood and to men of knowledge. Modern science has increased the occasion for wonder. Clement of Alexandria has a saying of Jesus: "He that wonders shall reign, and he that reigns shall rest."
Quickeneth whom he will (ους θελε ζωοποιε). Present active indicative of ζωοποιεω (from ζωοποιος, making alive), common in Paul (1 Corinthians 15:45, etc.). As yet, so far as we know, Jesus had not raised the dead, but he claims the power to do it on a par with the power of the Father. The raising of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) is not far ahead, followed by the message to the Baptist which speaks of this same power (Luke 7:22; Matthew 11:5), and the raising of Jairus' daughter (Matthew 9:18; Matthew 9:22-26). Jesus exercises this power on those "whom he wills." Christ has power to quicken both body and soul.
He hath given all judgement unto the Son (την κρισιν πασαν δεδωκεν τω υιω). Perfect active indicative of διδωμ, state of completion (as in John 3:35; John 6:27; John 6:29; John 10:29, etc.). See this prerogative claimed for Christ already in John 3:17. See the picture of Christ as Judge of men in Matthew 25:31-46.
That all may honour the Son (ινα παντες τιμωσιν τον υιον). Purpose clause with ινα and present active subjunctive of τιμαω (may keep on honouring the Son).
He that honoureth not the Son (ο μη τιμων τον υιον). Articular present active participle of τιμαω with negative μη. Jesus claims here the same right to worship from men that the Father has. Dishonouring Jesus is dishonouring the Father who sent him (John 8:49; John 12:26; John 15:23; 1 John 2:23). See also Luke 10:16. There is small comfort here for those who praise Jesus as teacher and yet deny his claims to worship. The Gospel of John carries this high place for Christ throughout, but so do the other Gospels (even Q, the Logia of Jesus) and the rest of the New Testament.
Hath eternal life (εχε ζωην αιωνιον). Has now this spiritual life which is endless. See John 3:36. In verses John 5:24; John 5:25 Jesus speaks of spiritual life and spiritual death. In this passage (John 5:21-29) Jesus speaks now of physical life and death, now of spiritual, and one must notice carefully the quick transition. In Revelation 20:14 we have the phrase "the second death" with which language compare Revelation 20:4-6.
But hath passed out of death into life (αλλα μεταβεβηκεν εκ του θανατου εις την ζωην). Perfect active indicative of μεταβαινω, to pass from one place or state to another. Out of spiritual death into spiritual life and so no judgement (κρισις).
And now is (κα νυν εστιν). See John 4:23 for this phrase. Not the future resurrection in verse John 5:28, but the spiritual resurrection here and now.
The dead (ο νεκρο). The spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 5:14).
Shall hear the voice of the Son of God (ακουσουσιν της φωνης του υιου του θεου). Note three genitives (φωνης after ακουσουσιν, υιου with φωνης, θεου with υιου). Note three articles (correlation of the article) and that Jesus here calls himself "the Son of God" as in John 10:36; John 11:4.
Shall live (ζησουσιν). Future active indicative, shall come to life spiritually.
In himself (εν εαυτω). The Living God possesses life wholly in himself and so he has bestowed this power of life to the Son as already stated in the Prologue of the Logos (John 1:3). For "gave" (εδωκεν, timeless aorist active indicative) see also John 3:35; John 17:2; John 17:24. The particles "as" (ωσπερ) and "so" (ουτως) mark here the fact, not the degree (Westcott).
Because he is the Son of man (οτ υιος ανθρωπου εστιν). Rather, "because he is a son of man" (note absence of articles and so not as the Messiah), because the judge of men must partake of human nature himself (Westcott). Bernard insists that John is here giving his own reflections rather than the words of Jesus and uses υιος ανθρωπου in the same sense as ο υιος του ανθρωπου (always in the Gospels used by Jesus of himself). But that in my opinion is a wrong view since we have here ostensibly certainly the words of Jesus himself. So in Revelation 1:13; Revelation 4:14 υιον ανθρωπου means "a son of man."
In the tombs (εν τοις μνημειοις). Ταφος (grave) presents the notion of burial (θαπτω, to bury) as in Matthew 23:27, μνημειον (from μναομα, μιμνησκω, to remind) is a memorial (sepulchre as a monument). Jesus claims not only the power of life (spiritual) and of judgement, but of power to quicken the actual dead at the Last Day. They will hear his voice and come out (εκπορευσοντα, future middle indicative of εκπορευομα). A general judgement and a general bodily resurrection we have here for both good and bad as in Matthew 25:46; Acts 24:15; 2 Corinthians 5:10 and as often implied in the words of Jesus (Matthew 5:29; Matthew 10:28; Luke 11:32). In John 6:39 Jesus asserts that he will raise up the righteous.
Unto the resurrection of life (εις αναστασιν ζωης). Αναστασις is an old word (Aeschylus) from ανιστημ, to raise up, to arise. This combination occurs nowhere else in the N.T. nor does "the resurrection of judgement" (εις αναστασιν κρισεως), but in Luke 14:14 there is the similar phrase "in the resurrection of the just" (εν τη αναστασε των δικαιων). Only there note both articles. Here without the articles it can mean "to a resurrection of life" and "to a resurrection of judgement," though the result is practically the same. There are two resurrections as to result, one to life, one to judgement. See both in Daniel 12:2.
I (Εγω). The discourse returns to the first person after using "the Son" since verse John 5:19. Here Jesus repeats in the first person (as in John 8:28) the statement made in verse John 5:19 about the Son. In John εμαυτου is used by Jesus 16 times and not at all by Jesus in the Synoptics. It occurs in the Synoptics only in Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:7.
Righteous (δικαια). As all judgements should be. The reason is plain (οτ, because), the guiding principle with the Son being the will of the Father who sent him and made him Judge. Judges often have difficulty in knowing what is law and what is right, but the Son's task as Judge is simple enough, the will of the Father which he knows (verse John 5:20).
If I bear witness of myself (Εαν εγω μαρτυρω περ εμαυτου). Condition of third class, undetermined with prospect of determination (εαν and present active subjunctive of μαρτυρεω). The emphasis is on εγω (I alone with no other witness).
Is not true (ουκ εστιν αληθης). In law the testimony of a witness is not received in his own case (Jewish, Greek, Roman law). See Deuteronomy 19:15 and the allusion to it by Jesus in Matthew 18:16. See also 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19. And yet in John 8:12-19 Jesus claims that his witness concerning himself is true because the Father gives confirmation of his message. The Father and the Son are the two witnesses (John 8:17). It is a paradox and yet true. But here Jesus yields to the rabbinical demand for proof outside of himself. He has the witness of another (the Father, John 5:32; John 5:37), the witness of the Baptist (John 5:33), the witness of the works of Jesus (John 5:36), the witness of the Scriptures (John 5:39), the witness of Moses in particular (John 5:45).
Another (αλλος). The Father, not the Baptist who is mentioned in verse John 5:33. This continual witness of the Father (ο μαρτυρων, who is bearing witness, and μαρτυρε, present active indicative) is mentioned again in verses John 5:36-38 as in John 8:17.
Ye have sent (υμεις απεσταλκατε). Emphatic use of υμεις (ye) and perfect active indicative of αποστελλω, official and permanent fact and so the witness of the Baptist has to be recognized as trustworthy by the Sanhedrin. The reference is to the committee in John 1:19-28.
He hath borne witness (μεμαρτυρηκεν). Perfect active indicative of μαρτυρεω showing the permanent and abiding value of John's testimony to Christ as in John 1:34; John 3:26; John 5:37. So also John 19:35 of the testimony concerning Christ's death. This was the purpose of the Baptist's mission (John 1:7).
But the witness which I receive (Εγω δε ου την μαρτυριαν λαμβανω). "But I do not receive the witness" simply from a man (like John). The εγω (I) in sharp contrast with υμεις (ye) of verse John 5:33. Jesus complained of Nicodemus for not accepting his witness (John 3:11). Cf. also John 3:32. In 1 John 5:9 the witness of God is greater than that of men and this Jesus has.
That ye may be saved (ινα υμεις σωθητε). Final clause with ινα and first aorist passive subjunctive of σωζω. This was the purpose of Christ's coming, that the world might be saved (John 3:17).
He (εκεινος). "That one" (John of John 5:33). Common demonstrative (that one) in John to point out the subject. Used in John 1:8 of the Baptist as here. John was now in prison and so Christ uses ην (was). His active ministry is over.
The lamp (ο λυχνος). The lamp in the room (Mark 4:21). Old word for lamp or candle as in Matthew 5:15. Used of Christ (the Lamb) as the Lamp of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23). Λαμπας (Matthew 25:1; Matthew 25:3, etc.) is a torch whose wick is fed with oil. The Baptist was not the Light (το φως, John 1:8), but a lamp shining in the darkness. "When the Light comes, the lamp is no longer needed" (Bernard). "Non Lux iste, sed lucerna." Jesus by his own claim is the Light of the World (John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:46). And yet all believers are in a sense "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14) since the world gets the Light of Christ through us.
That burneth (ο καιομενος). See Matthew 5:15 for this verb used with λυχνος (lighting a candle or lamp). The lamp that is lit and is burning (present passive participle of καιω, and so is consumed).
And shineth (κα φαινων). See John 1:4 for this verb used of the Logos shining in the darkness. Cf. 1 John 2:8. John was giving light as he burned for those in darkness like these Jews.
And ye were willing (υμεις δε ηθελησατε). "But ye became willing." Ingressive aorist active indicative of θελω. Reference again to John 1:19. Cf. also for the temporary popularity of the Baptist Mark 1:5; Matthew 3:5; Matthew 11:7; Matthew 21:26. The Jews were attracted to John "like moths to a candle" (Bernard).
To rejoice (αγαλλιαθηνα). First aorist passive infinitive of αγαλλιαομα, late word for αγαλλομα for which see Matthew 5:12. "They were attracted by his brightness, not by his warmth" (Bengel). Even so the brightness of John's shining did not really enlighten their minds. "The interest in the Baptist was a frivolous, superficial, and short-lived excitement" (Vincent). It was only "for an hour" (προς ωραν) when they turned against him.
But the witness which I have is greater than that of John (Εγω δε εχω την μαρτυριαν μειζω του Ιωανου). Literally, "But I have the witness greater than John's." Μειζω (μειζονα) is predicate accusative and Ιωανου is ablative of comparison after μειζω. Good as the witness of John is, Christ has superior testimony.
To accomplish (ινα τελειωσω). Final clause with ινα and first aorist active subjunctive of τελειοω, the same idiom in John 4:34. Jesus felt keenly the task laid on him by the Father (cf. John 3:35) and claimed at the end that he had performed it (John 17:4; John 19:30). Jesus held that the highest form of faith did not require these "works" (εργα) as in John 2:23; John 10:38; John 14:11. But these "works" bear the seal of the Father's approval (John 5:20; John 5:36; John 10:25) and to reject their witness is wrong (John 10:25; John 10:37; John 15:24).
The very works (αυτα τα εργα). "The works themselves," repeating τα εργα just before for vernacular emphasis.
Hath sent me (με απεσταλκεν). Perfect active indicative of αποστελλω, the permanence of the mission. Cf. John 3:17. The continuance of the witness is emphasized in John 5:32; John 8:18.
He hath borne witness (εκεινος μεμαρτυρηκεν). Εκεινος (that one; cf. John 5:35; John 5:38), not αυτος. Perfect active indicative of μαρτυρεω, the direct witness of the Father, besides the indirect witness of the works. Jesus is not speaking of the voice of the Father at his baptism (Mark 1:11), the transfiguration (Mark 9:7), nor even at the time of the visit of the Greeks (John 12:28). This last voice was heard by many who thought it was thunder or an angel. The language of Jesus refers to the witness of the Father in the heart of the believers as is made plain in 1 John 5:9; 1 John 5:10. God's witness does not come by audible "voice" (φωνην) nor visible "form" (ειδος). Cf. John 1:18; John 6:46; 1 John 4:12. Ακηκοατε is perfect active indicative of ακουω, to hear, and εωρακατε is perfect active indicative of οραω, to see. It is a permanent state of failure to hear and see God. The experience of Jacob in Peniel (Genesis 32:30) was unusual, but Jesus will say that those who have seen him have seen the Father (John 14:9), but here he means the Father's "voice" and "form" as distinct from the Son.
And (κα). "And yet" as in John 1:10 and John 5:40 below.
His word abiding in you (τον λογον αυτου εν υμιν μενοντα). But God's word had come to them through the centuries by the prophets. For the phrase see John 10:35; John 15:3; John 17:6; 1 John 1:10; 1 John 2:14.
Him ye believe not (τουτω υμεις ου πιστευετε). "This one" (τουτω, dative case with πιστευετε) in emphatic relation to preceding "he" (εκεινος, God). Jesus has given them God's word, but they reject both Jesus and God's word (John 14:9).
Ye search (εραυνατε). Proper spelling as the papyri show rather than ερευνατε, the old form (from ερευνα, search) as in John 7:52. The form here can be either present active indicative second person plural or the present active imperative second person plural. Only the context can decide. Either makes sense here, but the reason given "because ye think" (οτ υμεις δοκειτε, clearly indicative), supports the indicative rather than the imperative. Besides, Jesus is arguing on the basis of their use of "the Scriptures" (τας γραφας). The plural with the article refers to the well-known collection in the Old Testament (Matthew 21:42; Luke 24:27). Elsewhere in John the singular refers to a particular passage (John 2:22; John 7:38; John 10:35).
In them ye have eternal life (εν αυταις ζωην αιωνιον εχειν). Indirect assertion after δοκειτε without "ye" expressed either as nominative (υμεις) or accusative (υμας). Bernard holds that in John δοκεω always indicates a mistaken opinion (John 5:45; John 11:13; John 11:31; John 13:29; John 16:20; John 20:15). Certainly the rabbis did make a mechanical use of the letter of Scripture as a means of salvation.
These are they (εκεινα εισιν α). The true value of the Scriptures is in their witness to Christ (of me, περ εμου). Luke (John 24:27; John 24:45) gives this same claim of Jesus, and yet some critics fail to find the Messiah in the Old Testament. But Jesus did.
And ye will not come to me (κα ου θελετε ελθειν προς με). "And yet" (κα) as often in John. "This is the tragedy of the rejection of Messiah by the Messianic race" (Bernard). See John 1:11; Matthew 23:37 (κα ουκ ηθελησατε, and ye would not). Men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19).
That ye may have life (ινα ζωην εχητε). Life in its simplest form as in John 3:36 (cf. John 3:16). This is the purpose of John in writing the Fourth Gospel (John 20:31). There is life only in Christ Jesus.
Glory from men (δοξαν παρα ανθρωπων). Mere honour and praise Jesus does not expect from men (verse John 5:34). This is not wounded pride, for ambition is not Christ's motive. He is unlike the Jews (John 5:44; John 12:43; Matthew 6:1) and seeks not his own glory, but the glory and fellowship of the Father (John 1:14; John 2:11; John 7:18). Paul did not seek glory from men (1 Thessalonians 2:6).
But I know you (αλλα εγνωκα υμας). Perfect active indicative of γινωσκω, "I have come to know and still know," the knowledge of personal experience (John 2:24).
The love o' God (την αγαπην του θεου). Objective genitive, "the love toward God." See Luke 11:42 for this phrase in the same sense (only other instance in the Gospels, but common in 1John (1 John 2:5; 1 John 3:17; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4:9; 1 John 5:3) and in 2 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Romans 5:5. The sense of God's love for man occurs in 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:9; 1 John 4:10; 1 John 4:16; John 15:9 of Christ's love for man. These rabbis did not love God and hence did not love Christ.
In my Father's name (εν τω ονοματ του πατρος μου). Seven times Jesus in John speaks of the "Name" of the Father (John 5:43; John 10:25; John 12:28; John 17:6; John 17:11; John 17:12; John 17:26). See John 1:12 for use of ονομα (Luke 1:49).
And ye receive me not (κα ου λαμβανετε με). "And yet ye do not receive me," as in verse John 5:40, "the Gospel of the Rejection" (John 1:11; John 3:11; John 3:32; John 12:37) often applied to the Fourth Gospel.
If another come (εαν αλλος ελθη). Condition of third class (εαν and second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομα). Note αλλος, not ετερος, like αλλον Ιησουν in 2 Corinthians 11:4. Similar prophecies occur in Mark 13:6; Mark 13:22 (Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:24), all general in character like Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. There is no occasion for a reference to any individual like Barcochba (about A.D. 134) as Pfleiderer and Schmiedel hold. These Messianic upstarts all come "in their own name" and always find a following.
Him ye will receive (εκεινον λημψεσθε). "That one," whoever he is, as Jesus said. Future active indicative of λαμβανω. Credulous about the false Messiahs, incredulous about Christ.
How can ye believe? (πως δυνασθε υμεις πιστευσαι;). Emphasis on "ye" (υμεις), ye being what ye are. They were not true Jews (Romans 2:29; Esther 9:28) who cared for the glory of God, but they prefer the praise of men (Matthew 6:1; Matthew 23:5) like the Pharisees who feared to confess Christ (John 12:43).
From the only God (παρα του μονου θεου). B and W omit θεου which is certainly meant even if not genuine here. See John 17:3; Romans 16:27; 1 Timothy 6:15.
Think not (μη δοκειτε). Prohibition with μη and the present imperative. See on verse John 5:39 for δοκεω for mistaken opinions in John.
I will accuse you (εγω κατηγορησω υμων). Emphasis on εγω (I). Future active indicative of κατηγορεω (κατα, against, αγορευω, to speak in the assembly αγορα, to bring an accusation in court, a public accusation). See Romans 3:9 for προαιτιαομα for making previous charge and Luke 16:1 for διαβαλλω, a secret malicious accusation, and Romans 8:33 for εγκαλεω, for public charge, not necessarily before tribunal.
Even Moses (Μωυσης). No "even" in the Greek.
On whom ye have set your hope (εις ον υμεις ηλπικατε). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζω, state of repose in Moses. Only example of ελπιζω in John. See 2 Corinthians 1:10 for use of εις with ελπιζω instead of the usual επ (1 Timothy 4:10).
Ye would believe me (επιστευετε αν εμο). Conclusion of condition of second class (determined as unfulfilled) with imperfect indicative in both protasis and apodosis and αν in apodosis. This was a home-thrust, proving that they did not really believe Moses.
For he wrote of me (περ γαρ εμου εκεινος εγραψεν). Deuteronomy 18:18 is quoted by Peter (Acts 3:22) as a prophecy of Christ and also by Stephen in Acts 7:37. See also John 3:14 about the brazen serpent and John 8:56 about Abraham foreseeing Christ's day. Jesus does here say that Moses wrote concerning him.
His writings (τοις εκεινου γραμμασιν). Dative case with πιστυετε. See Luke 16:31 for a like argument. The authority of Moses was the greatest of all for Jews. There is a contrast also between
writings (γραμμασιν, from γραφω, to write) and
words (ρημασιν, from ειπον). Γραμμα may mean the mere letter as opposed to spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 2:27; Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6), a debtor's bond (Luke 16:6), letters or learning (John 7:15; Acts 26:24) like αγραμματο for unlearned (Acts 4:13), merely written characters (Luke 23:38; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 6:11), official communications (Acts 28:21), once ιερα γραμματα for the sacred writings (2 Timothy 3:15) instead of the more usual α αγια γραφα. Γραφη is used also for a single passage (Mark 12:10), but βιβλιον for a book or roll (Luke 4:17) or βιβλος (Luke 20:42). Jesus clearly states the fact that Moses wrote portions of the Old Testament, what portions he does not say. See also Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44 for the same idea. There was no answer from the rabbis to this conclusion of Christ. The scribes (ο γραμματεις) made copies according to the letter (κατα το γραμμα).
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany