John 5 Bible Study

Bible Study of John Chapter 5

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John 5 Bible Study


JOHN 5:1-9  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, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 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.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

Any guess as to why the "Sheep Gate" (John 5:2) might have been named that?
This was the gate in Jerusalem through which the sheep were brought in to be sacrificed. It was on the eastern wall just north of the temple and is still there, although it has been renamed, "Stephen's Gate" in honor of the first Christian martyr whose death is described in Acts chapter 7.

How about "Bethesda" (John 5:2)?
"Bethesda" literally meant "House ('Beth') of mercy". The pool of Bethesda actually comprised of 2 adjoining pools surrounded by 4 of the 5 porches mentioned above, with the fifth porch being in between the 2 pools.

What was the man's ailment?
It isn't specified, but whatever it was, we can infer from John 5:8-9 that it made him unable to walk.

What do you think of the sick man’s answer?
Instead of answering Jesus' question, "Do you want to be made well?" (John 5:6), he tries to explain why he can't get healed and blames others.

What lesson can be drawn from John 5:8?
Don’t tell God “how” He should help you. Just ask him to help you, and then to answer you only if it is in His will.

JOHN 5:10-15  10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” 11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” 12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Who are the "Jews" in John 5:10?
The reference isn't to the Jewish people in general but to the Jewish leaders.

What is peculiar about their reaction to the cured man?
Instead of expressing wonder and perhaps even joy that a man who had been sick for so long has been cured, they criticize him for carrying whatever he had been lying on. 

What was wrong with the man carrying his bed on the Sabbath?
Let's start with a bit of history. Ever since God led the Hebrews out of Egypt, He spoke to them through judges, kings and prophets until about 400 BC, when His voice fell silent. The Jews panicked and tried to fill the void by fleshing out the Ten Commandments to cover every aspect of their lives. By the time Jesus arrived, these man-made laws had taken on a life of their own and veered far away from the letter and the intent of the original Ten Commandments. For example, the sixth Commandments was: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11). By the time Jesus came, there were no fewer than 39 different categories of "work" and a dizzying array of do's and don'ts, especially on the Sabbath. For example, you could carry olive oil but not enough to have a meal with it. If you were cut on the Sabbath, you could bandage the wound closed but had to wait until the next day to put ointment in the wound. One of those rules apparently prohibited the removal of one's bed.

What does John 7:14-15 tell you about this man who had been healed?
A. There is no record of him thanking Jesus.
B. The first thing he did was to become an informant for the Jews.
C. Given Jesus' warning to him in John 7:14, his sickness may have been due to a sin.

What is an example of a sickness that can be caused by sin?
Syphilis from a prostitute?

What could be a “worse thing” (John 5:14)?
Going to hell.

JOHN 5:16-23  16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

What kind of hearts did the Jews have?
Hard enough to want "to kill" (John 5:16) someone for showing compassion to another and healing him.

What angered them all the more?
Jesus' expression of His deity.

Does Jesus let up?
No.

Is Jesus saying that He is another God to rival the Father?
No, He is describing the traits of the Trinity, including their complete unity (“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.") (John 5:19), as well as their distinct roles: "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son." (John 5:22)

What are “these” in John 5:20?
The healing by the pool. Notice the man at the pool did nothing to earn the healing. God’s healing is a gift to the unworthy, who may remain unsaved.

What about those who are saved - what did they do to deserve it?
Nothing. "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will." (John 5:21) Once again, it's a free gift to the unworthy based on the "will" of the Son.

What has God the Father been doing since Creation?
"Working" (John 5:16)

How about God the Son?
"I have been working." (John 5:17)

What has God been "working" on?
"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."  (Matthew 10:29-30). So He makes the birds fly, grows our hair, keeps in place every atom of every planet in the universe, and that's probably just the tip of the iceberg. We won't find out the full extent of what He does until we get to heaven, where we'll fall on our faces shouting, "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

JOHN 5:24-30  24 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

So when do we cross into "everlasting life" (John 5:24)?
When we listen to Jesus' words and believe in God as per John 5:24 (not only when we go to heaven) or upon the second coming of Jesus. One Christian tribe in Africa holds a funeral when a person accepts Jesus as Savior, and throws a party when that person dies physically. Their customs reflect John 5:24 better than ours do.

Who are the "dead" in John 5:25?
Jesus is referring to the spiritually dead, which is everyone before they "hear the voice of the Son of God" and "live".

Why does Jesus refer to Himself as theSon of Man in John 5:27?
"Son of Man" is how the prophet Daniel referred to God the Son at the throne of God the Father, whom he called, "Ancient of Days", in heaven: "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14) The Jews were well versed in the Old Testament and would have recognized right away Jesus' declaration of being the one that Daniel had described.

What does it mean to "have done good” (John 5:29)?
"Then they said to Him, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.'" (John 6:28-29)

JOHN 5:31-35  31 If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

What is Jesus saying in John 5:31?
He’s citing a Jewish legal principle, that uncorroborated testimony doesn’t count.

Who is "the truth" in John 5:33?
It's Jesus Himself as per John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

So what is Jesus saying in John 5:32-35?
John the Baptist’s testimony already satisfies the above legal principle. They listened to John for a while. He "bore witness" (John 5:33) of Jesus but they missed it, so they should go back to John's words and start over. And Jesus isn't saying this because He needs a testimony from a man, but for their sake, "that you may be saved." (John 5:34)

JOHN 5:36-47  36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish - the very works that I do - bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you - Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

How does Jesus continue in John 5:36-38?
The "greater witness" is what He is doing, which proves that the "Father has sent Me." In fact, the Father Himself "testified of" Jesus but they missed it because they "do not believe" in Him.

What's does Jesus mean by "Scriptures" in John 5:39?
When we use the term, "Scriptures", we're referring to the whole Bible. When Jesus spoke these words, the New Testament had not yet been written; He is referring to just the Old Testament.

Isn't the Old Testament sufficient to lead to "eternal life" (John 5:39)?
No it isn't. In brief, the Old Testament is an account of how God created out of love and for love, but was betrayed by, mankind. He then chose, led and immensely blessed a people to demonstrate His continuing love for mankind, yet they betrayed Him over and over again. Instead of wiping us out as we deserve, God foretold throughout the Old Testament that eventually, He will prove His unfailing love for us by personally paying the penalty for our betrayal and reconciling us to Himself. The Old Testament is like a map to an invaluable treasure. Just as the value of the map is not in itself, but what it points to, the value of the Old Testament was not in itself but what it pointed to: salvation in Jesus, to whom they "are not willing to come." (John 5:40)

Do they believe even the Old Testament?
The Jews were so wrapped up in their man-made laws and with each other that they had even lost sight of the real laws of God that were given through Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament: "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?" (John 5:46-47)

Will knowledge of the New Testament save us?
Although it's important to know exactly what and whom to believe in, knowledge of the Bible by itself will not save us. There are many "scholars" who know the Bible far better than most Christians, yet do not believe in Jesus and instead make a living by attacking Him, not unlike the Jews above.

How about believing that Jesus is God whose sacrificial death on the cross paid for sins?
The Bible declares with biting sarcasm, "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble!" (James 2:19) Demons believe with 100% certainty that Jesus is God whose sacrificial death on the cross paid for our sins, and even tremble - react strongly and emotionally - to that truth, which is more than what most "Christians" today believe and feel about Jesus. Yet we know that demons are not saved.

Then what do we need to do that goes beyond what the demons do?
We need to be in an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. We need to make Him our personal Lord and Master. We need to believe that Jesus loved US so much that He sacrificed Himself  for OUR sins, and for that be in love with Jesus.

Are you?


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