Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 5:2-18
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 5:2-4
vs2-4: On a visit to Jerusalem Jesus passed by the pool of Bethesda (“House of Mercy”) which was, and still is today, located near the north side of the temple complex. The water in that pool was filled by a small seasonal stream which was thought to have healing properties, so people with various illnesses would wait by the side of the pool. Five large roofs held up by stone columns had been erected to shelter those waiting beside the water. An explanation is given as to why people came there for healing: “for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first stepped in was made well” (v4). This does not mean that an angel actually came into the pool; it merely tells us that this is what people believed and why they were there.

Monday: John 5:5-8
vs5-8: As He looked over the crowd, Jesus was drawn to one man who had some sort of illness that left him so weak he could not move quickly. John tells us the man had been in that condition for 38 years, and Jesus felt led to heal him. He asked the man if he wanted to become whole, to which he replied that he did but for that to happen he would need someone to wait with him until the waters were stirred and then “throw me into the swimming pool” (literal). He did not know who Jesus was, nor did he give any evidence that he had faith that a miracle was about to happen. Jesus did not challenge him to believe as He had the royal official in Cana (Jn 4:48-50). He simply commanded him, “Rise, pick up your mat and walk.”

Tuesday: John 5:9-11
vs9-11: Immediately the man became whole. He didn’t pick up his mat by faith and then become whole; he became whole and then picked up his mat. And as was so often the case with Jesus, this healing took place on the Sabbath, a day on which the Law of Moses said people should rest, not work (Lev 23:1-3). After his strength returned, the man did what he was told to do: He picked up his mat and started walking. While he was on his way some religious leaders spotted him and confronted him for working on the Sabbath. It was a serious offense if they wanted to press charges. The man’s defense was basically, “Look, I’m healed, and the person who healed me told me to do this. It’s not my fault; I’m just following orders.”

Wednesday: John 5:12-13
vs12-13: They then wanted a name, not that there were lots of people running around Jerusalem performing such miracles. Surely they had already guessed who it was, but they would need specifics if they were going to convict Him in a religious trial. To their frustration the man didn’t know a name. There had been no time to ask. Jesus had lowered His head and slipped away through the crowd before the man could ask Him the question. So the religious leaders let the man go, at least for the moment, undoubtedly with a threat of some kind.

Thursday: John 5:14-15
vs14-15: Later on Jesus found him in the temple. The man probably went there to offer a sacrifice for his sin of “working on the Sabbath,” and Jesus issued to him a warning of His own. He said, “Behold, you have become whole; do not keep on sinning anymore so that something worse does not happen to you” (literal). In other words He gave him a severe warning that he was not yet right with God. He must stop doing something he was doing and obey God. There is no mention of what that was. Actually it doesn’t matter. What matters is the man’s response. He asked Jesus for His name and then went directly to the religious authorities and reported Him. He gave them the information they needed, so they could build a list of accusations with which they could charge Jesus for blasphemy. And I don’t believe it’s possible to assume that this man didn’t realize that he would get the person who healed him into trouble by reporting Him. I think he knew it would. I think he was glad it did. I think he was furious that Jesus dared to try to correct him (Jn 3:20).

Friday: John 5:16-17
vs16-17: When these religious leaders accused Jesus of violating the Sabbath He defended Himself. He told them that their accusation of violating the Sabbath was actually against God Himself. He, Jesus, had healed the man because God had told Him to do so (v19). Apart from God, who could have done such a work? So clearly God must work on the Sabbath. Jesus would soon explain (vs19-20) that everything He did was in response to the leading of the Father. That was what initiated the healing of this man. God had showed Him what He wanted Him to do, and He did it. Notice: Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working.” So that healing actually proves that God does good works for people on the Sabbath. Jesus’ defense of Himself was to reveal how completely the Son is submitted to the Father.

Saturday: John 5:18
v18: The religious leaders focused on the fact that Jesus spoke of God as “My Father.” In that religious environment such a title was not taken lightly. They understood that He was not using the title in merely a warm, affectionate way. Nor was He using it in a broad, general way, since God can be thought of as the “Father” of all creation. In that sense He can be considered to be everyone’s father (Ac 17:28-29). Very few times is the term “father” applied to God in the Old Testament. It was used on occasion to describe the relationship between God and the nation of Israel (Isa 63:16; 64:8; Jer 3:4, 19; 31:9), and in a very special promise made to David, God said that He would draw one of his descendant’s into a father/son type relationship with Him (2Sa 7:12-17; Ps 2:7; 89:26-27). But that passage appears to describe what is largely an adoptive relationship between God and one of David’s descendants. But John says the religious leaders heard Jesus intend to say something much deeper. They heard Him call “God His own Father, making Himself to be equal to God” (literal).  

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