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John 5: 1-4 – Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate a feast.  He did not do anything casually or “just because,” so His mind would have been upon what the feast was all about. It was a Sabbath day.  He could have enjoyed the feast and the Sabbath in so many different ways.  He could have gone to the temple and mingled with His friends there and in their homes afterwards.  But He didn’t.  He went to a squalid place filled with the pain and suffering of multitudes of people – people who had been sick and afflicted for a very long time.  And He walked among them and saw them, felt them, smelled them, identified with them, as always.  The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world – and all the effects of sin.  He would heal one.  Why only one?  Don’t know, except that His Father told Him to speak to that one.

Most of us would not have been in that place; not if we had anything to say about it!  A woman wrote an article – I read it years ago – she went to India on a “mission trip.”  She was to work with the nuns at one of the homes that Mother Theresa had set up to take care of the poor and dying.  She was asked to bath a woman who was incredibly filthy and diseased.  She was repelled and didn’t want to touch her.  But as she took her broken body in her arms and began to wash her matted hair and her oozing sores, something happened in her heart.  It broke for that woman and for the millions all over the world like her.  So needy, so in need of compassion and care.

!John 5:6-7 – “Do you want to be made well?”

His sickness was a way of life for him.  If he were healed, he’d have to be accountable to live a normal life with all its responsibilities.  His soul had been shaped by his sickness.  His thoughts had been full of his sickness.  He was most likely a bitter man, as if revealed in his next words, “Nobody ever helps me. I’m all alone in this misery.”  Debbie Donahue and others like her.  So bitter, feel as if the world owes them everything to make up to them for their pain, and because the world doesn’t, then bitterness and a deeper pain become a part of them.  A blindness sets in and their world view is one of great misery.

!John 5:9how “well” was he?  I want to do more research on this. Was it a complete healing? A sozo healing?  His words to the man in John 5:14 indicate that this was a complete healing.  Something had happened in his heart, he had been touched by a stranger, a man he didn’t even know.  Someone had stopped and looked at him, really looked at him, and then that Man had challenged his heart and his will.  He experienced that look and those words in the depth of his soul, and it appears by Jesus words in 5:14 that he was healed not only in his body but also in his soul and spirit. 

I have heard teachers disagree with what I am presently thinking. They say that the man’s words in John 5:15 indicate that he wanted to put the blame on Jesus for his sin of “carrying his mat on the Sabbath.”  I don’t know.  Was he blaming Jesus or was he giving Him honor, like the blind man in John 9 did?  That was quite a story!  An honoring story, an exposure if the hearts of the Pharisees who refused to see, just as these Pharisees did not want to see. 



!John 9:5 – And that day was the Sabbath.

John 5:10LAB Commentary: “Carrying a mat on the Sabbath did not break any Old Testament law; instead, it broke the Pharisees’ legalistic application of God’s command. The regulation against carrying something on the Sabbath was the last of thirty-nine rules in the “tradition of the elders” that stipulated the kinds of work prohibited on the Sabbath. This was just one of hundreds of rules the Jewish leaders had added to the Old Testament law.[1]

LAB footnote:  “A man who had not walked for 38 years had been healed, but the Pharisees wer more concerned about their petty rules than the life and health of a human being.  The Jewish leaders say both a mighty miracle and a broken rule.  They threw the miracle aside as the focused on the broken rule, b/c the rule was more important to them than the miracle.   It is so easy to get so caught up in our man-made structures and rules that we forget the people involved.  Are your [rules] for living God-made or man-made?  Are they helping people or are they needless stumbling blocks?”

!John 5:12Who is this Man who told you to take up your bed and walk?  He didn’t know.  There are so many who have been touched by Him and do not know it.  So many who do not know His name.

!John 5:14 – see John 8:11 (a heart touched); Matt 12:25 (accountability)

 Go and sin no more, unless a worse thing happen to you. 

!John 5:16 – “My Father is always working…and so am I.”  Even on the Sabbath?  Yes!  That’s part of God’s Sabbath rest!  To do good things is restful to the Father and to the Son.  !  And it can be so with us.  Being able to do good things on the Sabbath is part of the rest that we are to come into When we are walking in the image of God, filled with His Spirit, gifted with His gifts and having His words of life on our tongues b/c we are His disciples (Isa 50:4-5), it will be so with us.  

If the Father and the Son and the Spirit were to stop doing good works on the Sabbath, if They were to stop for one day a week and do absolutely nothing on that day…what chaos there would be in the world for one day out of seven every week!  We can be sure that the devil and his demons don’t stop working on the Sabbath!  We must stop them, even as Jesus did – even on the Sabbath! We are not to ignore it when an opportunity presents itself on the Sabbath to do good, being led by the Father, for then we are following in the footsteps of God. 

!John 5:17-30 – Jesus validates His claim to be the Messiah and the Son of God, equal to the Father

See Phil 2:6; Phil 2:5-11;

John 5:27

LAB Comm: This statement seems to contradict John 3:17, where Jesus is said not to have come into the world to judge it, but John 8:15–16 offers an explanation. Jesus did not come to judge, but his coming led to judgment because his coming forced decision—and decision results in judgment for those who reject Jesus. The last phrase literally reads, “He is Son of Man”; as such, it emphasizes Jesus’ humanity. Jesus, as man, will judge men (see Daniel 7:13–14). In this way, the Father has given all the honor to the Son, for everyone must answer to him (see Philippians 2:5–11). Jesus always kept before his audience, in word and deed, his unique dual nature as God-man.[2]

LAB footnote:  The OT gave 3 signs of the coming Messiah.  In this chapter John sows that Jesus  has fulfilled all 3 signs. 

·         Authority to judge is given to Him as the Son of Man (John 5:27 – see Daniel 7:13-14).

·         The lame and the sick are healed (John 5:20-21; Isa 35:6; Jer 31:8-9;

·         The dead are raised to life (John 5:21;28; Deut 32:39; 1 Sam 2:6; 2 Kings 5:7)


!John 5:31-38 – Not only do people witness to the validity of His claim to be the Son of God and equal to Him, but His teaching and His miracles are also proof that He is who He says He is.  Lord, You have called us to be the sons of God!  When are we going to be able to say these words of Jesus?  When are we going to be able to say, “Look at the evidence of my life and then judge me!

!How will that ever be able to happen in us?  John 5:39.  We must go to Jesus if we want to have life within us. We can’t get there by studying hard about it, we can’t get there by trying hard to do His works.  We must go to Jesus.  He is the source of life. We must believe in Him and go to Him.  That is not spiritualizing anything, it is the truth.  In ourselves we are not able to walk in His footsteps, we are not able to obey; we are not able to do His works outside of the gifts that He gives us. (Matt 7:21-23)

!John 5:41-44 – the honor that comes from man is nothing, because we are only like one another. There is a higher honor and a higher judge, and He is the one that we are to pursue, to desire to be like.  “No wonder you can’t believe!”  You seek the honor of man, which severely limits you.   You set your sights far too low. 

Father, I am tired of people spiritualizing Your good works.  We in this day and age talk much about the spiritual application of these things, but when are we going to walk fully in Your image?  When are we going to rise up and begin to reach out and touch people and heal them according to Your direction?  When are we going to be so dissatisfied with what little of You we have now and begin to yearn and pray and fast to be able to do the works of Jesus and even greater works (John 14:12)?  I was listening to a Casting Crowns song yesterday about a husband dying and a baby dying and people needing answers…and the message was “Just love them like Jesus.  Stay by their side, walk through it with them and love them, comfort them.”  When are we going to refuse to be content with just comforting people and start bringing life to them, healing broken, sick bodies, raising loved ones from the dead, challenging the weak and wearying words of weak and empty church leaders – including me?  I’m so tired of the works of man, they are so limited, and not at all like the works of Jesus.  Heal us!  Lord!  Sozo us!  Raise us up from the dead! 


[1]Barton, B. B. (1993). John. Life application Bible commentary (103). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.

[2]Barton, B. B. (1993). John. Life application Bible commentary (112). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.

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