|The Bible Knowledge Commentary:NT, p. 289|
42. Jesus heals a lame man by a pool: John 5:1-15
The feast referred to here may have been the Passover (John 2:23; 6:4; 11:55). You can see from the map where the Pool of Bethesda is located in Jerusalem. Archaeologists have uncovered a pool and five porticoes near the Sheep Gate. You might notice that there are brackets from "waiting . . . afflicted" in John 5:3-4. No Greek manuscripts before A.D. 400 contain these words. So, the idea of the first person in the water being healed may have been a superstition.
Jesus healed him and later warned him to stop sinning. This does not mean that his malady was caused by sin but that there would be a fate worse than his malady awaiting him if he did not get right with God. Healing of the soul is more important than healing of the body!
43. Jesus claims to be the Son of God: John 5:16-30
Jesus was healing on the Sabbath, and this was a big no-no! Doing this was one of the biggest ways Jesus challenged the tradition of the religious leaders and brought Him into intense conflict with them because of it. In addition to the man at the pool, He healed the blind man (John 9), man with a shriveled hand (Mark 3:1-5), crippled woman (Luke 13:10-17), and man with dropsy (Luke 14:1-6) on the Sabbath. In addition, His disciples picked grain (Mark 2:23-28) on that day!
The Mosaic Law required that man stop working on the seventh day, sunset Friday night to sunset Saturday night. Jewish religious authorities had added complicated and burdensome laws on top of that. The rabbis believed that the Sabbath was an end in itself. If you were a pious Jew, you were to sacrifice all your personal interests and even ignore the needs of others on this day. Their mantra was that man was made for the Sabbath. Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man's benefit (Mark 2:27). If it came down to man's needs versus following the the "letter of the Law," man's needs were more important.
God rested on the seventh day from all of His work (Genesis 2:2-3) of creation, but He was constantly active in our lives. Jesus made a claim to His deity in 5:17-30, and it certainly irritated his opponents!
John 5:29 does not imply that works get us into heaven because the rest of John would contradict this (3:17-21; 6:28-29), but it implies that a person who is "born again" (John 3) will live a life of good rather than evil. (The word "deeds" are not in the original Greek. This is why they are in italics in the NASB and omitted in the NIV.) The Greek word for "evil" in this case means "worthless things, slight, trivial, blown about by every wind" (Vine's Expository Dictionary). Which tells me that a life not lived intentionally for God is not acceptable, even if it does not look down-right evil!
44. Jesus supports his claim: John 5:31-47
"Witness" or "testimony" is a main theme in the Gospel of John. These words and their derivatives occur 136 in John's writings (John; 1, 2, 3 John; and Revelation). In this section, Jesus claims that John the Baptist (John 10:41), His works (signs), the Father (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 12:28; John 3:2; John 6:45, 1 John 5:9-12), and Scripture (The Scarlet Thread of Redemption that points to Jesus throughout the Old Testament) all testify of Him as the True Light and Promised Messiah.
What a great chapter! There are several things that struck me throughout it:
1) Jesus asked the lame man, "Do you want to get well?" Sometimes, I feel like people would really prefer to be stuck in their sickness (physical, emotional, spiritual) because it is familiar to them. For some people, it is the only way that they have learned to garner attention for themselves. I am involved with someone who is addicted to being a victim emotionally. It is a big elephant in the middle of the room, and she has the ability to get up and dip her toes in the pool of healing, and she blames not being there when the pool stirred, whining that everyone else got the opportunity but her. I am praying that she takes a dip soon!
To clarify, God is capable of healing everyone, but He sometimes chooses not to for His own purposes (Paul's "thorn in the flesh" of 1 Corinthians 12 comes to mind). So, if you are sick, I am not putting you down. Some people do wish to be well and God has not allowed it.
Update: Since I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, there was a breakthrough with this person! Thank God this Scripture prompted prayer for her!
Most Recent Update: That person is now out in the world serving Jesus!
APPLICATION: You do not have to wait for the swirling of the water to find healing. Jesus is asking, "Do you want to get well?" Go for it!
2) Sabbath was meant by God to lift man's burden, and man made it burdensome! Jesus said, "My load is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). He wants to give us rest, and the Sabbath was made for just that! My husband and I have gotten in the habit of not scheduling anything on the Sabbath. God can bring anything He wants along on that day, but we are keeping it free for His purposes!
APPLICATION: Are you taking regular rest periods?
3) Jesus said that our lives would yield good if we believed. If we did not, those lives would be "evil," but I did a little word study, and evil means "worthless, slight, trivial." So, not just "evil" people are destined for an eternity apart from God but even those non-believers who lived worthless lives because they did not live 100% for God!
APPLICATION: Are you living out the destiny that God has given to you?
4) Jesus is who He said He is, and John is a great book for understanding the deity of Christ! The Scriptures pointed to Jesus, and that is why I write the Bible Book Club blog!
APPLICATION: If you have not studied The Scarlet Thread of Redemption throughout the Old Testament, I would like to invite you to complete the first two years of the Bible Book Club.
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to be the Light of the World! We worship You. We believe You are who You said You are. Lord, may we lives lives of destiny and not worthlessness. In Your name we pray, Amen.