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Bible Commentaries
John 5

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 This feast was the Passover, and the second one that Jesus attended after his baptism. The next one is recorded in chapter 6:4.

Verse 2

2 Sheep market is from the Greek word PROBATIKOS, which Thayer defines, "the sheep-gate." The Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) uses the same word, and Donnegan defines it, "Pertaining to sheep, or to cattle, especially sheep." This spot is mentioned in Neh 3:1; Neh 3:32. Porch is from STOA, which the lexicon of Thayer defines, "a portico, a covered colonnade where people can stand or walk, protected from the weather and the heat of the sun."

Verse 3

4 The greater part of this paragraph is omitted from some translations, on the ground that some early Greek manuscripts do not contain it. I have consulted the information that is available to me, with the result that the subject is left in an indefinite state. Perhaps it is because there is little evidence of importance on the controversy. Various kinds of miracles were performed in ancient times, and the one described in this passage would not be entirely out of line with the Lord's manner of doing things. However, whether -the miracle actually occurred as stated, or that the people had a tradition on which they relied, is immaterial as far as the work of Jesus is concerned. That some periodical disturbance of the water took place need not be disputed. Jesus did not make any controversy about the doctrine of "Transmigration of souls" (Mat 14:2), but healed the blind man independently of it. The writer does not show Jesus as even referring to the question of this agitation of the pool, therefore I shall comment on the remaining verses in their order.

Verse 5

5 This man's case was chronic, for he had been afflicted 38 years.

Verse 6

6 Of course Jesus knew the history of the case, but his approach to the patient was made in the spirit of a sympathetic well-wisher. The patient did not know the identity of Jesus (verse 13) until sometime afterward.

Verse 7

7 The impotent (weak or feeble) man had confidence in the curative properties of the water, whatever was the basis of that belief. He explained to Jesus why he was compelled to lie there from time to time, not getting any relief from his illness.

Verse 8

8 Jesus made no reference to the proposition in connection with the pool, but bade the man not only to arise, but to carry his bed as he walked.

Verse 9

9 A nervous person might be induced to bestir himself momentarily, by the influence of suggestion. But it would require something more than "mind over matter" to enable a man who had been physically helpless for 38 years, not only to walk, but to carry a bed that was large enough to support a man. His recovery was complete and immediate, because that was what Jesus willed to be accomplished in this case. In that of the nobleman's son (preceding chapter), Jesus only professed to start him on the road to recovery, which was done by causing the "temperature" to drop to normal. That feat was also immediate, for it was done the "same hour" that Jesus spoke the word.

Verse 10

0 The Jews were not candid enough to object to the curing of the impotent man, but pretended to be opposed to breaking the sabbath.

Verse 11

1 The man did not express any conclusion, but the facts he related implied one that could not be disputed. Anyone could tell a man to get up and carry his bed, but not everyone who might say that could enable the patient to do so. This combination of facts was the strongest kind of evidence that it was no ordinary person who had befriended the impotent man.

Verse 12

2 We are not told whether the Jews suspected who the man's benefactor was, but it is reasonable to suppose they did, in view of their hatred for Him.

Verse 13

3After Jesus cured the weak man, He took advantage of the crowd to disappear. Hence the former victim of the affliction told the truth, if he stated he did not know who it was who told him to carry his bed.

Verse 14

4 Sin no more. We are not informed what sin the man had committed, that brought on him the chronic case of physical prostration. And it did not have to be a miraculous punishment, although God did sometimes send physical Judgments upon people in the days of miracles. But there are some sins of a moral nature, that can result in serious consequences to a man's health. But if this man should be so ungrateful as to sin again, the Lord would not wait for nature to inflict a penalty upon him, but would send one Himself, that would be worse than the affliction he had this time.

Verse 15

5 The meeting of Jesus and the man in the temple, and the conversation which they had, revealed to the former impotent man who his benefactor was. He seems to have thought the Jews had asked him the question about the identity of his friend, for the sake of information. Now that he has learned who he was, he felt that he should give them the information he could not before.

Verse 16

6 The Jews evidently knew that Jesus was going about doing good to the people, and that he was likely the one who had healed the impotent man. But their envy of Him was made more bitter because the man had learned about the identity of his friend, and seemed to be interested in His work. The envy of the Jews became so active they had a desire to kill Him.

Verse 17

7 The Jews were so bitter against Jesus that they accused him of breaking the sabbath. Jesus made his reply by asserting his relation with God as his Father, and his cooperation with Him in the good work. The Jews made great claims of respect for God, and would never admit that He would violate the very day that he had declared to be holy. Now that Jesus claimed his work (even on the sab-bath) to be as a co-worker with God, it was more than they could stand.

Verse 18

8 A new cause for murderous hatred was furnished the Jews by the answer of Jesus. They pretended to be outraged at his claim of being the Son of God.

Verse 19

9 This verse expresses a situation that is generally true in principle. A dutiful son will logically imitate the actions of his father. Since God does not hesitate to bestow works of mercy on the unfortunate, even on the sabbath day, so the Son may properly do the same without being condemned as a breaker of the holy day.

Verse 20

0 On the principle set forth in the preceding verse, a loving and divine Father will take his Son into his confidence, and inform him of the great things that are being done through Providential benevolence. And there were to be still greater things done than the healing of an afflicted man on the sabbath day.

Verse 21

1 One of the works that are greater than healing a sick man, is that of raising a man from the dead. The Son was destined also to perform that great work of quickening the dead by the sound of his voice.

Verse 22

2 Hath committed all judgment unto the Son. This was said in prospect, looking to the time when the Son would complete the test. (See Mat 28:18.)

Verse 23

3 Men are required to recognize the close relationship between the Father and the Son, in order to receive the favor of either of them.

Verse 24

4 The subject in the preceding verse is continued in this as to the close partnership between the Father and the Son. The passage adds the results for those who recognize that union, by showing a practical belief in the same. Death and life refers to spiritual matters, because all who refuse to accept God and Christ and obey their law will be condemned to everlasting death.

Verse 25

5 This passage pertains to the same death and life as that in the preceding verse. To hear the voice of the Son of God in the sense of this statement, means to heed and obey His requirements; a dead faith will not save.

Verse 26

6 A father transfers his characteristics to his offspring as an established rule. This relation between God and Christ is no exception to the rule, for Jesus is able to impart spiritual life to those who will accept it, because He is the Son of the life-giving God.

Verse 27

7 This inheritance that. Christ received from his Father, entitled him to be the executioner of the divine judgment upon the world.

Verse 28

8 Jesus passes from figurative and spiritual language, to literal or physical. The graves are the enclosures for the bodies of those who have died, through separation of soul and body. These dead shall be brought out of their graves literally by the call of Jesus on the day of the general resurrection.

Verse 29

9 There will be only one literal resurrection day, on which all of the dead will come forth. The fact of coming from the dead will not depend upon character or conduct, for the whole human family that has died will come forth. The hour that the voice of Christ calls is the one instant when the tremendous event will occur. But as to what will be awaiting them after coming to life again, that does depend on their conduct, as stated in this verse. This resurrection and what will follow is predicted in Dan 12:2.

Verse 30

0 This is the same teaching as that in verse 19.

Verse 31

1 Bear witness of myself. This means if His testimony is by itself, and not in harmony with that of his Father. That is why Jesus always worked in harmony with God, so that their united efforts would verify each other.

Verse 32

2 Not only did God verify the Sonship of Christ (Mat 3:17), but there was another among men who added his testimony to the divine witness, to be named soon.

Verse 33

3 John the Baptist was the other witness referred to above. The time the Jews sent to inquire of John is recorded in chapter 1:19-27.

Verse 34

4 I receive not testimony from man. This denotes that Jesus did not depend on human testimony for his authority. That ye might be saved. The standing of Jesus did not depend upon human testimony. However, the salvation of men does depend on their faith, and Jesus was willing to cite them to any truth that would strengthen their faith. The corroborating testimony of John was a help in that direction.

Verse 35

5 The Jews had once shown much admiration for the work of John. If they became cool toward that testimony, that would not weaken its truthfulness.

Verse 36

6 The works to which Jesus refers are those mentioned in chapter 20:30, 31. Had he been an impostor, he could not have performed these deeds.

Verse 37

7 No man in normal flesh ever saw the form or person of God, for to do so would mean his death (Exo 33:20). But God wished human beings to have the testimony of Him, hence he furnished it by aiding the Son to perform the miraculous works.

Verse 38

8 The gist of this verse, is that all who will nourish the word of God in their hearts, will signify it by accepting that of His Son, whom he hath sent into the world in the form of human flesh.

Verse 39

9 As the King James translators word this verse, it sounds like a command or directive, telling the Jews to go and search the scriptures. Several other versions have the pronoun "ye" before the word "search," and the inflection of the word in the Greek composition justifies it. The context also bears out that form of rendering. Jesus was showing the Jews another of their inconsistencies. They professed to have so much confidence in the Old Testament that they would search its pages to find the conditions on which they could obtain eternal life. And yet, that very document had told the Jews that a person like Christ was to come.

Verse 40

0 The one person that their Scriptures predicted should come into the world to save it, these Jews refused to accept that they might be saved.

Verse 41

1 This could not mean that no man honored Jesus, for even the "common people (the crowds) heard him gladly" (Mar 12:37). It denotes that Jesus was not depending on human support for his standing.

Verse 42

2 This accusation that Jesus made was logical, and based on the close relationship and attachment that God and his Son have for each other. If they loved God from the heart (and not merely from the lips), they would necessarily love his Son, which the Jews did not, or they would not be wanting to kill him.

Verse 43

3 It is hard to understand why false teachers can have more suc cess in leading people than the true. Perhaps it is because such characters are unscrupulous about the means they will use to put over their theories.

Verse 44

4 Those who receive honor from men are selfish, and also feel obligated to "return the favor" to the others. Such worldly-minded persons cannot have much respect for the testimony of God, which requires them to disown themselves.

Verse 45

5 The thought in this verse is that Jesus is not alone in condemning these Jews. The giver of the law of which they boasted to be followers, already accused them by his predictions. In Deu 18:18-20, Moses predicted that a prophet was to come among the Jews, and we know that was Christ. In that prophecy, a condemnation is uttered against the man who would not hearken to the words of that prophet.

Verse 46

6 When the Jews rejected Jesus it was the same as rejecting Moses.

Verse 47

7 Reasoning back the other direction, Jesus concludes they are bound to disbelieve his words, when they reject the words of their boasted lawgiver.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on John 5". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/john-5.html. 1952.
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