John Five

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

John 5:4 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.

troubled the water. This verse is omitted in certain of the manuscripts, along with the last part of John 5:3. Because of what seems to be the unlikelihood of this cyclic miracle, most modern versions have omitted it. The problem is, however, that John 5:7 (which is in all the manuscripts), makes no sense without it. Furthermore, the great majority of the manuscripts do include all these verses. Whether the miracle seems reasonable or not to our scientific minds, the probability is that it was recorded by John in his original text, and was later deleted in some manuscripts because of the skepticism of the copyists. There is nothing impossible about the miracle, no matter how unusual it seems. Perhaps God, in view of the long absence of a prophetical voice in Israel, elected to maintain this continuing witness to His grace and power in Jerusalem, as a sort of perpetual Messianic promise, to be repeated regularly until Christ would come.

John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

John 5:6 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?

John 5:7 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.

John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

made whole. This is the third of the great creation miracles described by John. A man hopelessly crippled for thirty-eight years (John 5:5) who suddenly had perfectly sound limbs again can be explained only in terms of the creative power of God Himself. It should have been a mighty testimony to the Jewish leaders of His deity, but instead they complained because He did it on the Sabbath.

John 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

John 5:11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?

John 5:13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.

John 5:14 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.

John 5:15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

worketh hitherto. In answer to the charge that He had broken the Sabbath by healing the crippled man at Bethesda on that day, Jesus noted that both He and His Father had been working continuously, the inference being that they had been doing this all through history. This fact, of course, in no way contradicted the revelation that “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Genesis 2:2). God rested from His work of creation, for it was complete, and the weekly Sabbath (i.e., “rest”) day was ordained to commemorate that fact. But He then began His work of conserving what He had created. Thus, He is now “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3; see also Colossians 1:16; 2 Peter 3:7). In addition, when sin entered God's “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31), God also entered on His long work of redeeming His cursed and disintegrating creation (Romans 8:20-23). It was perfectly proper, therefore, for the Lord Jesus to “do good” on the Sabbath day (Luke 6:9). It should be emphasized, however, that God's ongoing work of conservation and redemption in no way suggests that He was also continuing His primeval work of creation, as modern theistic evolutionists argue. The Bible is clear that God's creative “works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).

John 5:18 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.

John 5:19 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.

John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

quickeneth whom he will. The Jews were seeking His life because they understood Him to be making Himself equal with God (John 5:18) when He claimed God was His Father. His response proved that this was exactly what He was claiming, for He claimed that the Father showed Him all that He did, that He could raise the dead, that all judgment had been committed to Him and, finally, that He—as the unique Son of God—should be honored in the same degree that they honored the Father. Such statements as these, occurring frequently in John's gospel, leave no doubt whatever that Jesus believed and claimed that He was “equal with God” (John 5:18).

John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

committed all judgment. Note also John 5:27; Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1.

John 5:23 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.

John 5:24 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.

hath everlasting life. Note that salvation is a present possession. Since “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), there is “no condemnation [i.e., ‘judgment'] to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The believer “is passed” from death to life. Thus he already possesses eternal life.

John 5:25 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.

John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

John 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

John 5:29 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.

resurrection of life. All the dead shall be raised when Christ, the Creator, calls them forth, but not all are called at the same time. The resurrection of life is completed a thousand years before the resurrection of damnation (see Revelation 20:4-6).

John 5:30 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.

John 5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

John 5:32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.

John 5:33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

John 5:34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

shining light. John's “light” (Greek luchnos) was a mere “candle” or “light-bearer” in relation to the intrinsic, “true light” (Greek phos) whom John preached (John 1:7-9) and in whom they rejoiced for a season.

John 5:36 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.

John 5:37 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.

John 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Search the scriptures. The written Word of God, according to Christ's affirmation, is that which brings salvation and eternal life (see also, e.g., James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23) because it is the only source of information we have about the Savior. The written Word reveals the living Word. The Lord was, in fact, speaking here of the Old Testament Scriptures, for there was nothing else at that time. These scriptures, however, are replete with testimonies of the coming Christ.

John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 5:41 I receive not honour from men.

John 5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

John 5:43 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.

John 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

John 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.

John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

he wrote of me. Moses was considered by the Jews to have been the author of all the Pentateuch, the books of the Law. The modern speculations of higher criticism, which chop up the Pentateuch into segments supposedly written by various authors, all of whom lived long after Moses' time, were unheard of among these ancient scholars (as well as Christ Himself!) who lived much closer to Moses' time and had access to much more data on the subject than modern scholars. These writings include the book of Genesis, which actually was written by eye-witnesses, then handed down from patriarch to patriarch until it finally was incorporated by Moses with his four other books. Thus, even Genesis was (and is) considered to be one of the books of Moses, even though its tablets were only documented and edited by him.

John 5:47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

believe not his writings. It is foolish to claim (though many modern Christians do) to believe the New Testament without also believing the Old Testament, including Genesis. Christ Himself accepted the Pentateuch as literal and inspired history. Thus, to reject the Genesis accounts of Creation and the Flood, for example, is tantamount to rejecting Christ as the omniscient Son of God.