Jesus has just spent two days with people in a Samaritan village, teaching them about eternal life and being a disciple. He has also been instructing His disciples by His example. He leaves and goes back into Galilee, heals a nobleman’s son, then goes back to Jerusalem.
Jesus has created a divisiveness between Himself and the Jewish leaders, beginning at John 2:13-25 when He “cleansed the temple”. The conflict between Himself and the leaders is going to worsen and will mark His ministry. At this point in time, He heals a crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath Day, which becomes another source of the leaders hatred toward Him.
As Jesus travels, He spends time with people, teaching along the way, Mark 1:38; Luke 4:43. It must have been difficult, humanly speaking, for Jesus to continue His ministry while being opposed by the Jewish leaders. He did not, however, allow their dislike of Him or His ministry to dissuade Him from doing HIs Father’s will. Not all ministering will be accepted or approved of by people, even by religious people.
II. Key words, phrases, concepts
1. Sabbath: In brief, this is the day in which God rested and commanded that no work be done on that day, Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11. In the books of the Law of the Old Testament (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) the Lord specified what could and would not be done no the Sabbath (the 7th day which is Saturday).
During the exile into Babylon the Jewish leaders arose and created a great many last in order to avoid another exile. However, they became dependent upon those laws, and the Sabbath became an especially demanding law. To do any kind of work, even the most or necessary labor was considered to be breaking the Sabbath. They did not truly understand the Sabbath, and it became a day to control people. Jesus’ ministry broke their Sabbath laws and was a constant source of division.
Please see the Word Study “Sabbath”, or research this in a good Bible Handbook (Eerdmans) or Encyclopedia (ISBE).
2. Honor, Glory:
a. Honor, John 4:44; 5:23. This is the Greek word “time” (pronounced téemã)” which means to ascribe a value to, to pay a price. It is the idea of valuing something highly.
b. Glory, John 5:41,44. This is the Greek word “dôxa” which means to laud, praise, give glory to. In some bible versions it is translated “honor”, but it should be “glory”. It s the idea of ascribing public praise, and is more than “honor”.
III. John 4:43-54
A. Verse 44 indicates that He went to Galilee for a specific reason.
1. Read Matthew 13:57; Mark6:4; Luke 4:24.
a. Could not do many miracles – why?
b. Possibly a further witness to the consequences of unbelief – see Matthew 11:20-24; Mark 6:1; Luke 11:29-36.
2. The feast is the Passover feast from chapter 2:13-25
3. A nobleman’s son is healed
a. From Capernaum, north on the coast of the Sea of Galilee
b. Only “Signs and Wonders”? This is a gentle rebuke by Jesus.
One of the difficulties that Jesus has with the people is that they seek the miraculous instead of believing the Word of God. Miracles can be a witness, but that cannot create faith. Read Romans 10:17.
c. Notice the result in verse 53. How is this in keeping with John’s purpose?
IV. John 5:1-47 This is where John begins to show the animosity of the Jewish people, particularly the leaders, toward Jesus Christ. This animosity will continue grow until the crucifixion. The Sabbath is a point of regular contention.
A. An impotent man healed
1. Pool of Bethesda
a. Does not indicate that the rumors were actually true
b. Jesus questions the man as to whether he truly wants to be healed.
Is it possible here that, just as there have been beggars before who would prefer to get something for nothing, that this is the case with this man? This is merely conjecture, because no motive or reasons are given here. The point is not about the Pool of Bethesda or the rumors of angels. This is not in keeping with John’s purpose, nor does it have anything to confirm it in Scripture.
c. Many people around the “pool”
2. Only this man healed – why? Read ahead to John 5:19,20.
Here is an example of keeping the Word in Context, with the purpose being clearly shown as to the reason for this event.
3. Jesus commands the man to “rise up and walk”.
a. Difficult after not walking for 38 years;
b. On the Sabbath Day – controversy, see verses 10,16.
c. Jesus tells the man to stop sinning or a “worse thing” might happen?
Jesus probably knew that this man’s disability had resulted from his own actions, and warns him not to return to what caused his infirmity to begin with. Remember, Jesus is not talking about eternal condemnation or salvation, this is about a temporary healing. Be careful not to read more into the text than is there.
B. Jesus’ Authority
1. Persecute Him, Greek word for persecute is “diōkō” which means “to pursue, press forward”.
2. Jesus’ claims of equality with God the Father
b. Giving Life
c. Calling men to a resurrection
Q: How do these things show the eternal nature of Jesus Christ?
Read John 1:4; 1 John 5:10-12; Philippians 1:5-11; Colossians 1:16-19. What do these passage say that is also said here in John 5?
C. Jesus’ Witnesses
1. John the Baptist
a. Enjoyed John’s testimony briefly
b. Procrastinated and now John’s witness is gone
c. Jesus does not need the witness of any man.
Q: Why does Jesus refer to John’s witness, v 34?
2. The Father is a much greater witness – why? see verses 36-38
3. Even disbelief is a testimony of sorts, verses 37,38.
Notice how Jesus speaks the ruth to people in a straightforward manner, but does not “soft-sell” Truth to be a people-pleaser.
We can be Pleasant with the Truth of God’s Word, but we do not need to be people-pleasers.
D. The Word of God, or, The Scriptures
1. “You search” the Scriptures, the Old Testament
a. “To diligently investigate” – they knew the Scriptures well
b. Looked for eternal life in obedience and knowledge
2. The Scriptures speak of whom? See Luke 24:25-27, 44-48.
3. Honoring Jesus Christ
a. Coming to Him instead of trusting in self-efforts
b. Love of God – what does it mean in this context?
c. Rejecting Christ but accepting someone else
4. Honor from God the most important – see II. 2. (Key Words and Phrases)
a. Doing according to His will, as Jesus is doing.
Someone has said, “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery”. While flattery is not the intention of Jesus, being compliant to His Father and following HIs Father’s plan is a priority.
b. “Would you prefer man’s honor (witness) or God’s honor (witness)?
Eternal Life is not found in the writings, bit the Source of Eternal Life IS found in the writings – the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Moses is your witness
a. Against you
b. The Word of God is the Truth, reveals Jesus Christ for faith in Him. Compare this with Luke 15:19-31, especially verse 31.
V. Truths Presented
A. Jesus has all authority
1. He is pre-eminent
2. He does the Father’s Will
B. Scripture is about the Lord Jesus Christ
1. He is eternal life
2. He is the final Judge
C. Persecution is a reality
1. Speaking the truth without compromise
2. Receiving honor from God (read 1 Peter 4:12-19).
How do these truths apply to me today? How can I put these truths into actual practice?