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John 4:43-5:17

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As we read through this Bible study I want to begin to implement what we do in 3/3rds which is as we read through the text and I teach I want you to write down what this text teaches us about people and what does this text teach us about God? I will be asking these questions throughout the Bible study so be sure to write it down so you remember what you find.
John 4:43–54 (ESV)
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
John 5:1–17 ESV
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
Vs 43-45:
John foreshadows the reception Jesus will experience in Galilee with a parenthetical comment: Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country. The evangelist is preparing his readers for the lack of faith Jesus will encounter in his homeland.
This might seem a bit odd because as we read verse 45 seems to communicate Jesus was welcomed with open arms. But do not be so quick to read these two verses and assume a contradiction. Though Jesus was welcomed with open arms, the point being made by John is that this was not lasting as we continue into chapter 5. This is also true for us today. They remembered when Jesus performed miracles. They remembered what Jesus had done, so they accepted Him. But this was not going to last.
Vs 46-54
The point that John makes in verse 44 does not show up immediately. However it is very clear that Jesus knew it was coming. “So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’” Some translations make it more clear than ESV does but the “You” stated by Jesus is plural. Jesus is speaking to the crowd not the official alone. Jesus recognizes that their “faith” hinges upon Jesus performing signs not their hope or faith in Him.
The official, however, though we do not see him anywhere else in Scripture appears to believe in who Jesus is. I believe that this man and his family did truly have faith in Jesus for who He is. I believe this based on three evidences: First, 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. The man showed that Jesus was true to His word. Jesus said the boy will live. He trusted Jesus. The second reason, which i love about this text is how this man investigated his sons health. He tested to see if the boy was healed because of Jesus, whom he had trusted, and behold. “The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household.” The third reason, is extra Biblical. How would John know this man went home, investigated, and the entire family believed unless this man was then a part of the Body of Christ from that point. Now, John could have been told this by revelation. I am not writing that off, but I think more than likely its because this man and his family testified to what Jesus had done.
That concludes chapter 4, though chapter 5 immediately pick up in the narrative, What did these 11 verses teach us about people and teach us about God?
Setting the scene:
Before we get into the text at hand we need to make a point to see that here is where we begin to see Jesus cause problems for the religious. This almost seems to be the turning point in Jesus’ ministry where people begin to jump ship. This is what John was speaking of in 4:44 and Jesus as well interacting with the people before healing the officials son. The sabbath held significant religious implications for the Jews. They believed, beyond God’s command to keep it Holy, but that the Messiah was going to be very closely linked to the perfect keeping of the Sabbath. As we read through the Gospel of John, one of which we are about to read, we see that the Pharisee’s added to the Words of God and made more guidelines for obedience in relation to the sabbath. Jesus, does not keep their added rules. This raises the problem, because their added rules have become authoritative and on the same level as the Word of God. Whether or not they made created the added rules to protect the sabbath the outcome is the same, it actually led them to break God’s command to keep it Holy, because of their adding to His Words.
I think this must also provoke in us a time of self reflection, have we as a church done the same. Me as a Pastor here have we as Elders done this. Has the church in America done this. We need to challenge ourselves in this. Have we, whether with good motives or not, have we added to qualifications or church practice which has actually inhibited growth and involvement? Have we created measures which actually restrict growth rather than encourage it. By growth I mean, have we created a culture here at FCC which helps people find their spiritual gifts and then use them? Does our church help in the growth of Christians by disciplining them? If not, then we have to dismantle what is getting in the way. The Pharisee’s placed a greater burden on people to walk in the LORD rather than helping them to grow and walk fully in the LORD. Jesus seems to show a disregard for the sabbath in their own minds, but really, Jesus is keeping the Sabbath Holy.
John 5:1–17
Verses 1-2
The location of the miracle is found at what is called the Sheep Gate which was located near the north-east corner of the old city of Jerusalem. There are no other references to it in the NT, but it is mentioned in descriptions of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah. The pool called Bethesda was a double pool. Each pool was trapezoidal in shape, and the overall length of the two pools (north to south) was about 318 feet. The smaller pool to the north was about 197 feet wide on its northern side and the larger southern pool was about 250 feet wide on its southern side.
Verses 3-5
Early manuscripts do not have the verse 4 or as other believe it to be the end of verse 3. Regardless we see this arise more in latter translations and some have only part or all of verse 4. Does this change any Doctrine? No. It is a textual variant and like all other variants has no baring on the Christian faith. But we should know that the early manuscripts do not have verse 4. However, we should note that in Jesus interaction with the man later, Jesus does no confirm nor deny verse 4.
The man has been invalid for 38 years. We do not know what his illness is. We know he lacks the ability to climb into the water. We do not know if this is due to weakness or paralyzation. But we do know he is brought to the pool by someone. More than likely he was not brought every single day but he was brought when it was believed to be the time which the waters would stir.
Verses 6-9
I want to ask you, what separates Jesus’ miracle here with the others? The other miracles were performed following a request or plea, whereas here Jesus does this on His own initiative. The question must be asked, why? This will be answered shortly. But we must also take notice, Jesus did not heal everyone at the pool, only this man. Healing happens and it has a purpose. If we have the experience of God healing us in our lifetime, we must ask ourselves why? Healing has a purpose regarding His Kingdom and sovereign will. I do need to address a translation error in the NIV. If you read from the NIV look at verse 6, “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time” That word “learned” is better translated “know” or as the NASB translates, “Jesus, upon seeing this man lying there and knowing that he had already been in that condition for a long time.” I believe this is an important error for the reason, it doe snot change the text per se but it does remove two aspects from it: First, Jesus’ Divinity in supernatural knowledge. Second, Jesus’ personal relationship with this man prior to this interaction. Jesus knew him and his condition.
“Do you want to get well?” Do not look into this question beyond what the text gives us. If we try and psychologically break this down it leads us away from what we do know more than leading us down a deeper understanding of the truth.
Verse 7 alludes back to what is left our of verse 3 and 4. Though a later addition it may have been added for clarity to verse 7. That there was a belief that based on the evidence of healings done at the pool that an angel would stir the waters and sometimes someone would be healed. We know this is was also attested to have happened at the shrine of Asclepios in Corinth. You do not have to be a scholar to notice, “Wait that is a pagan shrine and yet people were healed.” How is that? Let’s go down this bunny trail for a moment. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 “8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” Jesus also said, Mark 13:22 & Matthew 24:24 “24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” So we must ask ourselves, would Satan do something good like heal someone? Yes! Satan has only one objective, to lead as many away from the salvation which is found in Christ alone. Satan is still a supernatural being, a created one as an angel, but we see demons able to perform remarkable feats such as fortune telling, telling of the future, and supernatural strength in a person. we see this in Acts 16 and 19. We would see healing as a good thing, but it can also be used to lead people away from Christ. If we have scripture warning us of this and evidence that this same periodic healing occured at a pagan shrine we can conclude healing is not only done by God for His Will but healing is also used in the misleading of some. That is why 1 John 4:1-3“1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” Yes miracles and signs were an aspect of attesting to someone being sent by God, but it is also what they teach of God which affirms who they are sent from. But it is clear that signs can be seen as the only authority and idolatry can be made from it.
verses 8-9 Jesus does not address what the man says about the waters, instead tells this man to pick up his mat and walk. Now why would the last part of verse 9 be so important to what Jesus said?
Verse 10 For the man to pick up his mat and walk, he would be violating the sabbath and doing labor.
I really want us to read verses 11-12 very carefully. What do you see happen in their conversation? The healed man said the one who made me well told me to pick up my pallet and walk. The pharisee’s ask, who is the man who told you to pick up your pallet? What should there question be? Where is the man who made you well? THEY WERE TOO CAUGHT UP IN THEIR FUNDAMENTALISM THAT THEY OVERLOOKED GOD MOVING!
verse 14 Jesus catches up with the man later and says, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” D.A. Carson raises some of the things we must wrestle with here, “(1) although suffering and illness have a deep, theological connection with sin in general, and although John elsewhere insists that a specific ailment is not necessarily the result of a specific sin (the blind man in John 9:3), there is nothing in any of this that precludes the possibility that some ailments are the direct consequences of specific sins. And that is the most natural reading of this verse. (2) If so, it is just possible John is also telling us that the reason Jesus chose this invalid out of all the others who were waiting for the waters to be stirred, was precisely because his illness, and his alone, was tied to a specific sin. If this interpretation is right, the syntax of Stop sinning is chosen to stress urgency. The something worse must be final judgment.”
Are there sins which if done will cause us serious hardship? Addiction in general has a significant affect on the brain especially the craving and need for dopamine. But there are addictions which lead people to do things which lead to greater consequences such as disease from sharing needles. Sin can be performed which would cause us to have illness brought upon us. The ravenous sexual sin of someone can lead to STD’s. Such a sin in this man’s life may have been a cause of his illness. But the difficult thing we wrestle with is sickness being a cause of sin. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:29-30 says that when we dishonor communion we are drinking judgement on ourselves and Paul says this is why some of you are sick and dying. Why we must approach this with caution is because this comes close to those who distort and abuse Scripture for heresy. Essentially, it is clear that sin can affect our health as we just discussed, and we see that Paul says that it is a sin to abuse the Lord’s Supper and by doing so some were being punished, lastly we see Ananias and Sapphira struck dead for lying to the Holy Spirit. What are these sins? I don’t know. What we do know for sure, is that not all infirmities are brought about because of sin as Jesus sets this straight with the blind man in John 9. Here is my personal approach to this, I do not know all of what sin affects, but I do know that the vast majority of our sickness comes from the fall of mankind, which was sin. But to assume that the sickness of others is due to their sin is 99% of the time error. This is a subject that i have not spend extensive time to study and John plops this down in our lap right at the end of our study today. if you want we can do a focused study on this next week or we can just continue on in John 5?
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