Hey guys! It’s day 5 of our 21 Day Christmas Countdown. Today we are reading John chapter 5.
I’m so so encouraged by the feedback from you guys, and hearing that a single person is joining, makes my whole day. So don’t be shy!
The chapter I have written out comes from the New International Version of the Bible. Anything in blue is my commentary, and the red is Jesus’ words. I also recorded myself reading and explaining the chapter, and I’ve linked that at the bottom of this post.
Here we go!
John Chapter 5 (NIV)
The Healing at the Pool
5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
[b] Not integral to this story, but worth noting that in the word-for-word translation of the Bible, verse 4 reads “From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters.” Whoever entered the pool immediately after would be healed of anything that ailed them.
Also in the direct translation, verse 6 reads “Seeing him lying, and knowing that he had already spent much time.” Jesus can see right through us, remember? He knew.
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Only the first in the water, after it had been stirred would be healed.
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
The law that God had given to Moses to be followed by the Jewish people, commanded them not to do work on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders had expounded on this law in their own interpretation. Apparently to them, bed-carrying was not permissible. Jesus would disagree.
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
David Guzik on enduringword.com interprets this last part well. “Jesus found him because He was concerned for his spiritual health (sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you), not only his physical health. Living a life of sin is worse, and will bring a worse result, than being crippled for thirty-eight years.
The Authority of the Son
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Now they want to prevent healing on the Sabbath! Isn’t it concerning that these are the men leading the people? Ironically, it was the religious leaders of the day that were a constant frustration to Jesus. They studied his very law all their lives, and yet missed so much.
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
Did you catch that? Judgment will come. It has to come. But the Father gave judgment to Jesus. The man who invited a broken and active sinner into his kingdom (yesterday in chapter 4), will be the One making the final call on you. That is incredible news!
24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come 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 also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
“Whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged…”
Wow. So, not only is the judge of our souls an incredibly gracious one, but now he says that we may not have to be judged at all. If we simply believe in Christ, judgment is lifted from us altogether. Praise God!
Testimonies About Jesus
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Jesus just told the Jewish leaders that God’s word doesn’t dwell in them because they don’t believe him to be the Son of God. These men have studied the word more than just about anyone. And yet, it’s not enough. Our acts of goodness and devotion to religious practice cannot save us. We are still sinful in nature without Jesus, and we need His saving.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
They’re called out for seeking affirmation from others, and neglecting to seek approval from God. And aren’t we guilty of the same sin? It’s a tough one to kick, but God’s grace is more than enough.
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
Jesus is essentially saying, “You want to rely on the law for salvation? Then let it be your judge.” But even this will fail them because Moses prophesied about Jesus. The law was the vessel through which one could maintain a relationship with God until the Savior of the world arrived. If they really did believe the law, they would believe in Jesus as well. It’s not one without the other. These men condemn themselves by their unbelief in Jesus and their sole reliance on their ability to adhere to the law.
So religiosity for a long time, and for a great many people, has been a facade. It’s hypocrisy at its finest.
I am not religious. I was saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8). Not by a church or a religious denomination. Not by my own righteousness or good will either. Jesus plus nothing is my confidence of everlasting life. This is the worship, as we read yesterday, “the Father seeks”.
If you have been living reliant on religion as your savior, it’s never to late to turn to Jesus. His arms are open to you and He waits for your return.
Alternately, if you have been living reliant on anything else, and you continue coming up empty, Jesus awaits you as well. Run to the well that never runs dry. I promise that you will drink and thirst no more (John 4:14)
See you tomorrow for chapter 6!