After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men. But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.
But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
This chapter records Jesus’ very public miracle, His teaching and hard words for unbelieving religious leaders.
There was a particular man among the many impotent, infirm and diseased people who came to this pool known for healing when the waters were stirred by angels. This one man however, had been infirm for 38 years. John doesn’t tell what he’s suffering from, but obviously he was at least paralytic or unable to walk because he was laying there. I am reminded of what we looked at in the last chapter, how we don’t ‘find’ Jesus, but He finds us. Notice that the man didn’t seek Jesus out, and from his reaction to Jesus when asked, “Wilt thou be made whole”, he definitely didn’t seem to know who Jesus was.
It’d seem as if someone who was unable to walk and going to a place known for healing for so long, that if asked, do you want to be well, the person would be begging YES Please! But notice that this man didn’t, instead he gave Jesus an explanation on why he hadn’t been made whole, because he was always left while someone else could go into the water.
Jesus knew this man was there, and He also knew He could teach and heal through him. And so He did. Immediately by a spoken command- pick up your bed and walk. Jesus didn’t heal anyone else, yet people had to have witnessed Him talking with the man, and the man all of a sudden walking. We know Jesus didn’t heal anyone else there because John doesn’t record it, but he records that Jesus conveyed himself away. He’d left the area.
And of course, the pharisees with their rules and regulations, traditions and religion were incensed that the now healed man dare pick up his mat and walk on the Sabbath. It’s incredible to think that as crowded as the Pool area had to have been (John describes a multitude of people), people would be happy for someone to be healed, but instead they condemned the guy.
I’ve always found the next part kind of curious. Jesus again finds the man; later on in the Temple, and warns him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
When Jesus warns him, it’s similar to what He said to the sinful woman, “Go and sin no more” But in this case, (correct me if I’m wrong) I don’t see anywhere that He told the man his sins were forgiven. Is it that whatever the man was suffering from, it was a direct result of a sinful lifestyle? Or at least an excessive one? Not everyone suffers because of a sin or the fall- in fact in other scriptures, Jesus says some suffering happens so the work of God might be displayed in his life.
Matthew Henry’s commentary describes the supposition of the warning this way, “While those chronical diseases lasted, they prevented the outward acts of many sins, and therefore watchfulness was the more necessary when the disability was removed. Christ intimates that those who are made whole, who are eased of the present sensible punishment of sin, are in danger of returning to sin when the terror and restraint are over…
…it is common for people, when they are sick, to promise much, when newly recovered to perform something, but after awhile to forget all.”
Whatever the case, this healing is a little different than other healings Jesus performed. We don’t know whether the man repented and was a new man inside after this or not. Some people can witness true miracles, some may even be healed beyond a doctor’s belief, and still not believe or trust in Jesus.
This seems like a physical healing for the sake of public notice. It happened on the Sabbath, and Jesus knew that his command to pick up your bed and walk, would be viewed as laboring on the sabbath. Maybe he was preparing the way for His sermon which He delivered when the religious leaders questioned His authority to command the man to work on the Sabbath.
By His sermon, Jesus establishes the witness to His relationship with God the Father. For those who say Jesus never claimed to be God, this is one of the parts of scriptures that He explicitly indicates it, so much so that the Jews were ready to murder Him for blaspheme. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus makes three claims here, which is backed up by witness and testimony:
He was equal to God, because He is God in the flesh- Messiah and Mediator.
He has the authority to raise the dead, because He has conquered sin and death on the cross. And, there are solid witnesses to His deity through God the Father, John the Baptist, his miracles, and by the scriptures about Moses of the Old Testament. .
The pharisees couldn’t deny or counter any of it, just as people have been trying to for over 2000 years. And just as the pharisees sought to destroy Jesus so they could maintain the status quo of their religious influence, traditions and positions, people continue to try to bury Jesus and any mention of His Name for the same reasons.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Have a blessed day all!