John Chapters 5 to 8, Part 1 of 10 Parts
by Karl Kemp
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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
These articles were taken from my paper on John chapters 5-8, which was published in March 2007. I was able to use different fonts, footnotes, bold, italics, underlining, small caps, etc. in the original paper, including the paper on my internet site. I am modifying the original paper here in December 2012 to break it up into ten articles and put them in the proper format to put on several Christian article sites. Unless otherwise noted all quotations from the Bible were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition. Sometimes I make comments in the middle of quotations using brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious.
I'll include the Contents and the page numbers of the original paper for your information:
John Chapter 5...... 1
John Chapter 6...... 13
John Chapter 7...... 31
John Chapter 8...... 41
Other Verses and Topics that Are Discussed in this Paper:
1 John 3:8, 10, 12...... 53-55
Son of Man...... 7-8
JOHN CHAPTER 5.
"After these things [[Greek "meta tauta." I'll quote part of what A. T. Robertson says here ("Word Pictures in the New Testament," Vol. 5 [Broadman Press, 1932], page 78), "John is fond of this vague phrase (3:22; 6:1). He does not mean that this incident follows immediately. He is supplementing the Synoptic Gospels [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] and does not attempt a full story of the work of Jesus." Several months could have passed between the time of the events spoken of at the end of chapter 4 and the feast of the Jews spoken of here in John 5:1. This same Greek prepositional phrase is used at the beginning of verse 14, where the period of time that passed was relatively brief; it could have been a few hours, and it surely wasn't more than a few days.]] there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up [from Galilee] to Jerusalem. [[John often mentions the occurrence of Jewish feasts in his Gospel. He mentions a Passover in 2:13 (and 2:23); 6:4; and in 11:55 (and 12:1; 13:1; 18:28, 39; and 19:14), the Passover on which Jesus was crucified. ((I had a footnote: These three Passovers give us some perspective regarding the length of Jesus' ministry. His ministry lasted at least two years if we start counting from the time He publicly manifested Himself in Jerusalem near the time of Passover, as reported in John 2:13-25. (There is widespread agreement we should add approximately six months for the time that passed between the time that Jesus was anointed to be the Messiah and the time He went to Jerusalem for Passover [John 2:13]. That six months includes the forty-day temptation, which wasn't mentioned by John, and the events recorded in John 1:19-2:13.) It is quite possible that there was another Passover that John didn't specifically mention, and that Jesus' ministry lasted three years (if we start counting at the Passover mentioned in John 2:13, 23), or three and one-half years if we start counting when He was anointed to be the Messiah. Some assume that the unnamed feast of the Jews here in John 5:1 was another Passover, but that seems unlikely; I suspect John would have mentioned that this feast was a Passover if it was.)) He also mentions a Feast of Tabernacles/Booths in 7:2 and a Feast of Dedication in 10:22.]] (2) Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate [Compare Neh. 3:1, 32; 12:39. Apparently this gate passed through the wall of Jerusalem just north of the temple. The pool would have been outside (north of) the wall.] a pool, which is called in Hebrew ["Jewish Aramaic" (margin of NASB); cf. John 19:13, 17, 20; 20:16] Bethesda [or Bethsaida, or Bethzatha], having five porticoes ["five covered colonnades" NIV; "five porches" NKJV. Each portico/porch included columns supporting a roof.] (3) In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; (4) for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] [[The NASB included the words of verses 3b, 4 in brackets, which means, from their point of view, that these words were "probably not in the original writings." The United Bible Societies' "Greek New Testament" (fourth revised edition) omits these words with an A rating, which means, from their point of view, that "the [omission of these words] is certain." The NIV doesn't include these words in the text; the editors give these words in a marginal note after mentioning that they are found in "some less important manuscripts." The KJV; NKJV include these words.
Most commentators opt for the viewpoint that these disputed words were not part of John's original writing. I'll quote a sentence from what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John" [Eerdmans, 1991], page 242), "Probably the lines of vv. 3b-4 were first introduced as marginal glosses [notes added in the margin of Bible manuscripts] (not every clause was introduced at the same time), reflecting popular belief about the cause of the water's disturbance." Raymond E. Brown thinks that the disputed words in verse 3 "may be original," but he agrees that the words of verse 4 were not original. I'll quote part of what he says regarding verse 4 ("Gospel According to John I-XII" [Doubleday, 1966], page 207), "Codex Alexandrinus and the later Greek manuscripts have a verse omitted by all the early witnesses, including those that have the additional clause in vs. 3. ... In the west Tertullian (ca. A.D. 200) gives evidence of having known this verse; Chrysostom (ca. 400) is the first of the Greek writers to do so. That it is a gloss is indicated not only by the poor textual attestation, but also by the presence of seven non-Johannine words in one sentence. This ancient gloss, however, may well reflect with accuracy a popular tradition about the pool. ...."
I assume that the disputed words (and especially the words of verse 4) were not included in John's original Gospel, but I also assume that the added words do reflect popular opinion regarding what was taking place at the pool of Bethesda and that that popular opinion probably reflects reality. I don't believe it is very important for us to know for sure whether the disputed words were original, or not. Based on what John goes on to say in verse 7 (and essentially everyone agrees that the words of verse 7 are original), it is clear that the man who was healed believed at least most of what the disputed words of verses 3b, 4 say.
Many commentators (including many evangelical commentators) try to avoid a supernatural explanation for the healing miracles that seemingly were taking place at the pool; they speak of things like a possible spring that stirred up the water and of mineral waters with healing properties. But those things (even if they did exist at the pool of Bethesda) do not suffice (it seems to me) to explain what John says in verse 7.
That sick man believed (and it seems that the other needy people gathered at that pool also believed) that it was only the first one who stepped into the pool after the moving of the waters that would be healed. That viewpoint seems to require a supernatural explanation. (I had a footnote: It seems that John expected us to believe that God was the ultimate source for the healings at this pool in Jerusalem, not some demonic counterfeit, or something that was purely psychosomatic. Neither Jesus nor John specifically stated that God was actually healing people at the pool of Bethesda, but since they didn't state otherwise, I believe we are to assume that God was behind the miracles.) This was a large pool, and if the healings came from waters with medicinal properties many people (at least more than one person) could have benefited at the same time. Furthermore, there is a very definite limit to how much can be accomplished through medicinal waters, and verse 3 informs us that those gathered there were "sick, BLIND, LAME, and WITHERED." It would be hard to explain the multitude gathering there (at the pool in Jerusalem) if no healings were taking place.
There can be no doubting the fact that John's purpose in writing this account was to focus on Jesus, the Savior, on who He was and on what He said and did, not to discuss an occasional healing miracle that may have taken place at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus was the only One who could save that sick man with full salvation, which would include the much-more-important healing and salvation of his soul along with his physical healing. From the time of the Lord Jesus Christ and the new covenant, God's work in the earth centered in Him and the gospel of the new covenant.]] (5) A man was there who had been ill ["Lit. in his sickness" (margin of NASB)] for thirty-eight years. (6) When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition [[The Bible doesn't state that the Father led Jesus to heal this man, but He probably did. Many verses in the Gospel of John demonstrate that Jesus was led by the Father in what He said and what He did. (Especially see John 5:17-20; what Jesus said in those verses was related to this particular healing.) Jesus undoubtedly knew that it would be very controversial for Him to work this miracle of healing on the Sabbath and for Him to tell the man who was healed to pick up his pallet and walk.
Jesus took the initiative in healing this man; this man didn't come to Jesus; he didn't know who He was, for one thing. This man wasn't singled out because of his faith or godliness (see below). It could be that he was singled out (in compassion) just because "he had already been a long time (thirty-eight years) in that condition" and had failed to be healed at the pool, with little hope for the future. The Bible doesn't tell us how long this man had been coming to the pool of Bethesda seeking to be healed, but he could have been coming for a long time.]] He said to him, 'Do you wish to get well?' [This man wanted to get well all right. He was disappointed that, since he had no one to help him, he had missed being healed at the pool so far; and he probably didn't have much hope that he would be healed in the future either.] (7) The sick man answered Him, 'Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.' [[As I mentioned under verses 3, 4 (see the footnote under verse 4), it seems that Jesus (and John too) accepted the idea that God was behind the water's being stirred up. At least neither Jesus nor John (the writer of this Gospel) said anything to indicate that the gathered "multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered" were deceived, or that they were into something demonic. It was, however, time for the Jews to begin to look to the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Savior, but this was rather early in His ministry.]] (8) Jesus said to him, 'Get up, pick up your pallet [I had a footnote: "The bed, as it is called in the older English versions, was a mat or pallet of straw, easily rolled up and carried on the shoulder (Greek 'krabattos,' as in Mark 2:9, 11, 12)" (F. F. Bruce, "Gospel of John" [Eerdmans, 1983], page 124).] and walk [cf. Matt. 9:6; Mark 2:11; and Luke 5:24].' (9) Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. [[This healing miracle is different than most other healing miracles that took place through Jesus' ministry. For one thing, this man didn't come to Jesus; John 5:13 shows that he didn't know who had healed him. Based on John's brief account, this man didn't respond to Jesus words to get up, pick up his pallet and walk, until after he had been miraculously healed. (It is possible that the man did respond with faith to the extent he started/tried to get up before he was healed because Jesus told him to.)
The faith of this man has to be suspect because he immediately went and told "the Jews" that it was Jesus who had healed him and told him to take up his pallet and walk ON THE SABBATH once he learned that it was Jesus, undoubtedly knowing that the Jews would go after Jesus, which they did (see John 5:10-16). By informing the Jews that it was Jesus, the man undoubtedly got them off his back. Furthermore, the words that Jesus spoke to this man about going and sinning no more lest a worst thing happen to him (John 5:14) may further suggest that this man needed to stir himself up to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Many people that Jesus healed did not press on to become His disciples and then born-again Christians. I have to assume that this man was in that category, but, hopefully (for his sake), I am wrong. For one thing, people can repent.]] Now it was the Sabbath on that day. [[The fact that this healing miracle took place ON THE SABBATH was a really big deal as far as "the Jews" were concerned. They weren't excited about the miracle, but they were very excited about the fact that Jesus had healed this man ON THE SABBATH and that he had carried his pallet ON THE SABBATH. (There were other occasions that the Jews were very concerned because Jesus had healed ON THE SABBATH [cf. Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11; 13:10-17; 14:1-6; and John 9:1-41].)
John 7:19-24 show that Jesus was still dealing with repercussions from this particular healing miracle ON THE SABBATH when He came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths at a later time. On that later occasion (as in John 5:17-20) Jesus made it quite clear that He had done something good, not something wrong or sinful, by healing this man at the pool of Bethesda ON THE SABBATH (obviously including His having told the man to pick up his pallet and walk). Jesus frequently got in trouble with "the Jews" for doing things they considered sinful for Him (or His disciples) to do on the Sabbath (cf., e.g., John 9:1-41; Matt. 12:1-14; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 6:1-11; 13:10-17; and 14:1-6). Religious people can be blind to reality, and they can be quick to pass judgment with "righteous" indignation. There is a true righteous indignation (cf., e.g., John 2:14-17), but there are many counterfeits too, as people wage war for God (they think) in the flesh.]] (10) So the Jews [cf. John 1:19; 2:18, 20; 5:15, 16, 18; 6:41, 52; 7:1, 11, 13, 15, 35; 8:22, 48, 52, 57; 9:18, 22; and 10:24, 31, 33] were saying to the man who was cured, 'It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.' [Compare Jer. 17:21. I'll quote a sentence from what J. H. Bernard says here ("Gospel According to John" [T&T Clark, 1999 reprint], pages 232, 233), "The Rabbinical law was, 'If anyone carries anything from a public place to a private house on the Sabbath...intentionally, he is punished by cutting off (i.e. death) and stoning' ("Shabb." 6a, as quoted by Lightfoot, "Hor. Hebr.")." I'll also quote a few sentences from what F. F. Bruce says here ("Gospel of John," page 125), "The 'tradition of the elders' distinguished thirty-nine categories of work which might not be undertaken on the sabbath; the thirty-ninth of these was the carrying of a load from one dwelling to another. By this standard the man's action in carrying his pallet home was a violation of the sabbath law (Mishnah, tractate Shabbath 7.2)."] (11) But he answered them, 'He who made me well was the one who said to me, "Pick up your pallet and walk." ' (12) They asked him, 'Who is the man who said to you, "Pick up your pallet and walk"?' (13) But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. (14) Afterward [Greek "meta tauta"] Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, 'Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore [cf. John 8:11], so that nothing worse happens to you.' [[Throughout the Bible God makes it clear that sin has penalties/consequences. (This doesn't mean, however, that all sickness comes as a direct result of a person's sin.) See the first four chapters of my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin" on this important topic.]] (15) The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (16) For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. (17) But He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.' [[For one thing, God the Father was working in and through Jesus, and Jesus was doing the very works His Father wanted Him to do (cf., e.g., John 5:19), very much including His having healed this man on the Sabbath (including His having told him to take up his pallet and walk). As verse 18 shows, "the Jews" understood that Jesus was claiming that He, by virtue of who He was and His special relationship with God (His Father), had the right to work on the Sabbath since God (His Father) works on the Sabbath. Instead of condemning Jesus, the Jewish leaders needed to carefully investigate and verify that He was who He claimed to be and that He truly was doing the works the Father sent Him to do (and which the Old Testament had prophesied that He would do).
I'll quote a sentence from what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John," page 247), "The consensus amongst the rabbis...was that God works on the Sabbath, for otherwise providence itself would weekly go into abeyance." God keeps the universe functioning, and He deals with men (including His calling them to repent, and His healing, saving souls, and judging) on the Sabbath.]] (18) For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him [cf., e.g., John 7:1, 19; 8:37, 40, 59; and 11:53], because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. [[Jesus continues with this all-important theme of His Person and His relationship with His Father (God the Father) throughout the rest of chapter 5. Jesus didn't say that He was "equal with God [the Father]" in verse 17, but He clearly put Himself in a class with God the Father, far above what any man could rightly say. (Jesus was/is the God-man.) As John discussed in the prologue to his Gospel (John 1:1-18), God the Son, who became the God-man, was fully deity with God the Father (and God the Holy Spirit). In that sense, He was/is "equal with God [the Father]." In my discussion of John 1:1-18 (in my paper on that passage and in the discussion of Col. 1:15-18 in that same paper), I discussed the full deity of God the Son in some detail, and also the fact that He is in some ways subordinate to God the Father in His role. See my subsequent papers, "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?"; "More on the Trinity"; and "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son." Those papers are available on this Christian article site.
Jesus' Jewish opponents were sure that He was not the Messiah/Christ. Furthermore, they didn't have room in their thinking for God the Son (or the Trinity). For one thing, the Jews didn't realize that the Christ/Messiah would be deity. God's revelation is progressive. From our Christian perspective, we can clearly see the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, but His deity wasn't clearly revealed in Old Testament days.]] (19) Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself [cf. John 5:30; 6:38; 7:17; 8:28; 9:3, 4; 10:32; 12:49; and 14:10], unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. [This very much includes the Son's healing, etc. on the Sabbath.] (20) For the Father loves the Son [[Compare, for example Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 3:35; 15:9, 10; 17:23, 24; and 2 Pet. 1:17. I'll quote two sentences from what D. A. Carson says here ("Gospel According to John," page 251), "That the Father loves the Son has already been articulated in 3:35, there with the verb "agapao," here with the verb "phileo." There is no difference in meaning: cf. the shifts in 11:3, 5, 36, and the notes on 3:16, 35; 21:15-17. ...."]], and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing [see verse 19]; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. [The idea here, as the following verses show, is that the Son will do these greater works, and the following verses specify what those greater works will be.] (21) For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. [[The Son will do the greater works (of verse 20), of giving spiritual/eternal life (by the Spirit; starting with the new birth), to all who submit to Him and the gospel in faith throughout this present age (see verses 24-26), and of resurrecting the righteous (the believers) into the fullness of eternal life (with glorified bodies) at the end of this age (see verses 28, 29). See John 6:37-40, 44, 45, 65. On the greater works also see verse 22.]] (22) For not even the Father judges [Greek verb "krino"] anyone ["For the Father judges no one" NKJV; "Moreover, the Father judges no one" NIV.], but He has given all judgment [Greek noun "krisis" (derived from the verb "krino")] to the Son [[The Son's judging all people that is spoken of here in verse 22 goes with the greater works mentioned in verse 20. It would be possible to understand the Son's judging that is spoken of here in verse 22 (and in verse 27) in a strictly negative sense (of His condemning the unbelievers/unrighteous). ((I had a footnote: Some commentators take that viewpoint. It seems clear that the word "judgment" is used in a negative sense (of condemning) in verses 24 and 29, and the judging of John 3:17-21 is a negative judging (a condemning). The Greek verb used for judge/condemn in John 3:17, 18 is "krino" and the noun for judgment/condemnation in 3:19 is "krisis" (the same Greek words used here in John 5:19-30).)) But apparently the judging spoken of here in verse 22 (and in verse 27) refers to the Son's being given the authority to judge all people, the righteous and the unrighteous. (The use of the words "judge" and "judgment" in verse 30 lends support to this viewpoint.) That includes His judging (His judging in a positive sense and in a negative sense) throughout this age and at the end of this age.
The Gospel of John shows that those who submit to Christ and the gospel in faith throughout this age have their final judgment at that time, and they are given eternal life at that time; it also shows that those who reject Christ have their final judgment and are condemned to eternal death at that time (see John 5:24, 25; 3:16-21). ((I had a footnote: If believers renounce Christ and the gospel at a later time, they undo that final judgment and forfeit the eternal life of God. (Believers receive eternal life in a preliminary stage when they are born again. Eternal life in a full sense is not given to believers until the end of this age, when we are glorified.) So too, some of the people who reject Christ when they are first confronted with Him and the gospel later repent and receive eternal life.))
I'll quote Acts 10:42; 17:31: "...this is the One [Christ Jesus] who has been appointed by God [the Father] as judge [Greek noun "krites" (derived from "krino")] of the living and the dead [those physically alive and those physically dead at the end of this age]." "He [God the Father] has fixed a day in which He will judge [krino] the world in righteousness through a Man [Christ Jesus] whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." And John 5:27 says, "and He [God the Father] gave Him [God the Son/the Lord Jesus Christ] authority to execute judgment [to execute (or, "to do") "krisis" (Greek noun derived from krino)] because He is the Son of Man."
The verses I just quoted from Acts speak of the Lord Jesus Christ judging all the people who have ever lived (the righteous and the unrighteous) at the end of this age. After that judgment is complete (at the end of the millennium) all people will either be in God's eternal kingdom or separated from Him forever in the lake of fire. The judging of John 5:22, 27 includes the fact that Jesus is judging now too, throughout this age, not just at the end of this age.
As we seek God for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches, we should not think of God the Father being uninvolved or passive when judgments are taking place (positive and negative judgments). Compare, for example, Rom. 3:6; 14:11, 12; Heb. 12:23; 13:4; Rev. 14:7; 16:7; 18:8, 20; 19:1-6; and 20:11. God the Father is on the great-white throne in 20:11 (cf., e.g., Rev. 4:2; 5:1, 6, 7, 13).]], (23) so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. [These words would be blasphemous if Jesus wasn't deity with God the Father (and God the Spirit). He is!] He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. [Compare Matt. 10:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; 10:16; John 8:19; 12:44; 13:20; 16:3; 17:3; and 1 John 2:23. Jesus made it clear that it wasn't possible for the Jews (or the Gentiles) to honor the Father while rejecting (instead of honoring) the Son, who was sent by the Father.]
We will continue this verse-by-verse of John chapters 5-8 in Part 2, starting with John 5:24.
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