Jesus Christ, the omnipotent Son of God, delights to help the helpless, and manifests His mercy to those who are willing to be helped. He who thus overrules the powers of nature on behalf of trusting souls can be no other than the Son of God, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells.
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
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.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
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?
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.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
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.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
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.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
17 ¶ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
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.
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.
20 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.
21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
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.
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.
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.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
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.
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.
31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
32 ¶ There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.
34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.
35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.
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.
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.
38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
39 ¶ Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
41 I receive not honour from men.
42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.
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.
44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
John 5:1 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:1-3 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:4-5 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:6 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:7-18 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:19-22 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:23-24 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:25-27 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:28-30 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:31-36 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:37-47 – J. Vernon McGee
John 5:1-9 – Weakness Made Strength
An interval of some months lies between the previous chapter and this, in which many of the incidents of our Lord’s Galilean life took place. John does not touch on them, because they had been described in the Synoptic Gospels, and because he wished to concentrate all his force on the great conflict which our Lord waged in Jerusalem, the stronghold of Jewish prejudice. He also chose the incidents which led to our Lord’s discourses, and served as the text of his words.
The pool of Bethesda had medicinal properties. It was an intermittent spring. There must have been something in this man who lay at its brink which specially attracted Jesus. He saw that he had faith to be healed, and therefore made a direct challenge to the will of the sufferer. As soon as the appeal was made, he opened his heart to Christ’s power. Through his expectant faith new energy poured into his being.
Are you a withered soul? Healing and wholeness are in Christ for you. Receive from Him the power that waits to flow through your wasted muscles. Believe that it is passing through you, and act accordingly. Spring to your feet, roll up your bed, and carry that which has so long carried you. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 5:9 – When Diogenes heard Zeno with subtle arguments endeavoring to prove that there was no motion, he suddenly starts up, and walks. Zeno asking the cause thereof, said Diogenes, “Hereby I confute you, and prove that there is motion.” Walking with God is the best way to confute them that think religion to be but a notion: living religion will prove that there is religion. (Venning)
John 5:10-18 – Sabbath Work That Pleases the Father
In the foregoing incident our Lord not only healed the sufferer after thirty-eight years of deferred hope, but did so on the Sabbath, and bade him carry his bed home. This clashed with Pharisaic prescriptions; but the man was of course right to infer that He who would work so great a miracle was greater than either the Pharisee or mere ritual. The religious leaders of that time, like those of all time, could not tolerate the setting up of an authority superior to their own, by one who was outside their ranks; and they accused Jesus of Sabbath-breaking. His judges, however, were little prepared for His line of defense, which revealed the depths of our Lord’s inner consciousness. First, He spoke of God as His own Father, making Himself God’s equal. See Philippians 2:6. Second, He said that God was working through His life and had energized Him to perform that miracle of healing. It was not His own deed but the Father’s in Him and through Him. If, then, they condemned it, they were in direct collision with the Infinite One, from whom the Sabbath law had originally come. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 5:18 – It was during the reign of Theodosius the Great, in the fourth century, that the Arians made their most vigorous attempts to undermine the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The event, however, of his making his son Arcadius partner with himself on his throne was happily overruled, in the following manner, to his seeing the God-dishonoring character of their creeed. Among the bishops who came to congratulate him on the occasion was the famous and esteemed Amphilochus, who, it is said, suffered much under the Arian persecution. He approached the emperor, and, making a very handsome and dutiful address, was going to take his leave. “What!” said Theodosius, “do you take no notice of my son? Do you not know that I have made him a partner with me in the empire?” Upon this the good old bishop went to young Arcadius, then about sixteen years of age, and, putting his hand upon his head, said, “The Lord bless thee, my son!” and immediately drew back. Even this did not satisfy the emperor. “What,” said he, “is this all the respect you pay to a prince that I have made of equal dignity with myself?” Upon this the bishop arose, and looking the emperor in the face, with a tone of voice solemnly indignant, said, “Sir, do you so highly resent my apparent neglect of your son because I do not give him equal honor with yourself? What must the eternal God think of you, who have allowed His co-equal and co-eternal Son to be degraded in His proper divinity in every part of your empire?” This was a two-edged sword in the heart of the emperor. He felt the reproof to be just and confounding, and no longer would seem to give the least indulgence to that creed which did not secure the divine glory to the “Prince of peace.” (Jeffers)
John 5:19-29 – The Father Working through the Son
The relationship of our Lord to the Father was such that He felt Himself competent to fulfill all the functions of the Divine Being. Is it God’s prerogative to raise the dead? It is also Jesus Christ’s. The Son quickeneth whom he will, John 5:21. Is it the divine right to be the judge of man? It is also the Redeemer’s right. See John 5:22. Is it the peculiar attitude of God to be the fountain of life, so that life, inherent, underived, and perennial, is ever arising in His nature, sustaining here an angel and there a humming-bird? This is also an attribute of our blessed Lord. So hath he given to the Son to have life in himself, John 5:26. The entire sum of the attributes of Deity are resident in the nature of the Son of man. But though all divine attributes were his, and might have been called into operation, He forebore to use them, that He might learn the life of dependence and faith, the life which was to become ours towards Himself. He did nothing apart from the Father, John 5:19, etc. No vine ever clung more closely to its trellis, and no child to its mother, than He to the Father. See Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 12:2. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 5:20—The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth.
Heaven stands open to me, my Lord, in these deep and holy words. Through the open door I see the source of the golden light that shone around thy earthly life, and detect the secret of the music that ever sounded around thy path, as the music of the golden bells when Aaron passed to and fro.
The Father loved Thee, not only because Thou wert his Son, dwelling in his bosom, but because Thou wert his obedient Servant. And I would inherit a similar love; not only the love of my adoption, but of service; for Thou saidst, “If a man love Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him.”
The Father was ever showing Thee what He was doing in the unseen and eternal depths. Indeed, it seemed that Thou wert more occupied in beholding the things which were unseen than those which were seen. Thine eye was ever on the dial-plate of eternity, and thine ear attent to the note of the tide on its shore. Thou didst nothing that was not in the pattern shown Thee on the mount of fellowship; but whatever was wrought there Thou didst here. Teach me to live like this.
Thy Father led Thee to ever greater works. First the daughter of Jairus, then Lazarus; first the Sermon on the Mount, then the prophecies of the closing days; first the Mountain of Transfiguration, then of Ascension. So would I be led forward, from Cana to Calvary; from Bethlehem to Bethany; from Jerusalem to the uttermost part of the world. Ever greater things, because with profounder humility and deeper insight into the meaning of thy death. Deeper and therefore higher; nearer thy cross, and therefore reaching further. —Our Daily Homily
John 5:30-38 – Jesus’ Works His Sufficient Witness
The one desire and purpose of our Lord was to do God’s will. We cannot penetrate the mystery of His ineffable being, but clearly, so far as His human nature was concerned, he had a will which could be denied and subordinated to the Father’s. See John 5:30; 6:38; Luke 22:42. It meant shame, a breaking heart, a soul exceeding sorrowful, the cry of the forsaken, but he never swerved. He clung to it as to a hand rail down the steep dark staircase that led to Calvary. Let us live according to God’s will. It feeds the spirit, John 4:34. It clears the judgment, John 5:30. It gives rest and tranquility to the heart, Matthew 11:29. It is the key of certain and assured knowledge, John 7:17. It introduces us into a great circle of others, who in the past and present, in heaven and on earth, are living with the same purpose. Our Lord cites as allies John the Baptist, John 5:6; the Scriptures, John 5:39; and Moses, John 5:45. Choose this life policy! There is no other way! Remember that God’s will is goodwill, and that His love is endless and changeless. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 5:39-47 – Willful Rejection of Truth Condemned
Our Lord was accused by the Jews of Sabbath breaking. There were many grounds on which He might have claimed exoneration, but He forbore to use them. He dwelt on these things very lightly, lest He should direct men’s attention to Himself, His one aim being to bring glory to His Father. In utter self-oblivion; in distinct refusal to act on His own authority—that is, to come in His own name; with the one desire to reveal the inner source of His life, Jesus said, I am come in my Father’s name, John 5:43. Let us learn not to be too careful of our own reputation, standing, or honor; but to live at first-hand, taking our orders and the power to fulfill them direct from Christ. Too often we consult this man’s opinion and that person’s whim, and our course becomes tortuous and uncertain. What new interest we should take in the Pentateuch, if we really believed! John 5:46. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 5:39 – The truths of the Bible are like gold in the soil. Whole generations walk over it, and know not what treasures are hidden beneath. So centuries of men pass over the Scriptures, and know not what riches lie under the feet of their interpretation. Sometimes, when they discover them, they call them new truths. One might as well call gold newly dug, new gold. (Beecher)