9.10.17 ~ John 5:1-18, “The Healer is Hated.”
Read John 5:1-9a... Notice it says “sometime later” [NASB, after these things], meaning after Christ’s ministry in Galilee was finished, He headed for Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Five other times in his gospel John refers to a feast of the Jews, but each time except for this one, he says which feast it is (cf. 2:13; 6:4; 7:2; 10:22; 11:55), three times - Passover, one time - Tabernacles, and one time - Dedication [Hanukkah].
John doesn’t tell us which feast it is , but seems to mention it as the reason Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Once there (verse 2) we find Him near the sheep gate (cf Nehemiah 3:1, 32; 12:39), by a pool called Bethesda (house of outpourings or mercies) that has five covered colonnades [NASB, porticoes] or porches.
There are many sick, blind, lame and otherwise disabled people laying around on the covered porches, waiting for the waters to be stirred (note: the pool was most likely fed by an intermittent spring; when the spring brought water into the pool it would appear to be stirred).
There was a man (verse 5) who had been an invalid for 38 years, (verse 6) Jesus noticed him and learned [lit. knew, supernaturally] that he had been this way for a long time, so Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well.
The man must have believed that when the water was stirred the first one into the water would be healed, but (verse 7) he had no one to help him get into the water, so someone else always got in first.
Perhaps Jesus would help him get into the water at the right moment, but Jesus then (verse 8) told him to "get up and pick up his mat,” at that moment (verse 9), the man was healed, so he picked up his mat and walked.
Interesting, this man had not professed any faith or belief in Jesus, in fact, he didn’t even know who the man was who healed him. God’s grace was often given to those who had not expressed faith in Him beforehand (cf. Matthew 8:14-15; 9:32-33; Mark 7:32-35; 8:22-25; Luke 14:1-4; 22:50-51; John 9:1-7). This is a good illustration of God’s unconditional love.
Read John 5:1-9b-14... We are told that this happened on a Sabbath, and some religious leaders (perhaps Pharisees of priests) notice the healing and confronted the man about carrying his mat on the Sabbath, totally unimpressed, evidently, with the healing that had taken place; more concerned with their man-made Sabbath rules and regulations (verse 10), “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
The man was fearful of the authorities and didn’t want to get in trouble with the religious leaders, so he said to them (verse 11), “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pickup up you mat and walk.’”
The Jews basically ask the man (verse 12), who is the one who told you to pick up your matt and walk. No doubt the Jews were thinking themselves, “who would dare to violate or challenge the traditions of the elders?”
The religious leaders’ legalistic obsession with their own man-made Sabbath laws was a constant point of contention between Jesus and Israel’s legalistic religious orthodoxy (cf. Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 2:23-3:6; Luke 6:1-11; John 7:21-23). The Teachers of the Law had become experts at substituting, even elevating, their own rituals, traditions and additional laws, in place of God’s commands.
The Old Testament prohibited working on the Sabbath, but what God clearly had in mind was that the Israelites would not engage in their normal business or occupations on the Sabbath, but would cease from that work.
But of course the rabbis and religious leaders had added to God’s law over time, in fact they had made a list of 39 different categories of work, and on that list was carrying any burden or load - which should not apply to the man at the pool anyway, as he was not carrying on his normal work.
Isn’t it interesting that instead of being happy for this man who had been an invalid for almost 40 years and was now walking around, they were upset because they considered that he had broken one of their regulations!
But you know (verse 13) the man who had been healed had no idea who the one was who had healed him, and clearly Jesus wasn’t their in view but had slipped away into the crowd. The truth was, Jesus had engaged the man at the pool, then had healed him and yet Jesus never told the man His name.
Jesus often did His stealth get away routine, i.e., “now you see Me, now you don’t,” “catch Me if you can, oh by the way, you can’t!”:
John 8:59, “they [the Jews] picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid Himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
John 10:39, “Again they tried to seize Him, but He escaped their grasp.”
John 12:36b, “When He had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid Himself from
Read John 5:14-15... But Jesus finding the man later, said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
And what does the man do, he goes to the Jews and snitches on Jesus as the one who had healed him and told him to carry his mat on the Sabbath.
God’s Word is clear that illness is not always the result of personal sin, but we also know that unrepentant sin can bring God’s discipline, resulting in illness, even death (see Deuteronomy 28:58-61; 1Corinthians 11:30).
It would seem (John 5:14) that the man’s illness was a result of his own personal sin.
Jesus’ warns him, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you,” suggesting that the man needs to deal with his sin problem, or it could lead to death - and that would be death apart from salvation, i.e., eternal hell - much worse than 38 years as an invalid!
John doesn’t tell us this man was born an invalid, but that he had been one for 38 years, and we don’t know how old he is.
This man has been healed and given another chance at life and what does he do? He goes to the Jews and gives the name of the man who healed him.
Read John 5:16-18... It is hard to decide who is worse here, the man who was healed and yet would not head Christ’s warning or the Jews who seem to care less about the good deed done by Jesus in healing this man after 38 years of pain and suffering, and instead are consumed with the fact that He was doing this on the Sabbath.
Jesus showed no reverence or fear for the pseudo religious authority of the Jews who considered Jesus not only guilty of violating the Sabbath, but even worse, He had incited another Israelite to do the same by carrying his matt on the Sabbath, considered to be work in their deranged and self consumed minds.
The Jews were concerned that Jesus would continue to incite the people to not respect their religious authority and their laws concerning Sabbath keeping.
The religious leaders were supposed present honor, praise and worship to God, and yet, here stands God the Son before them, disrupting the religious hold they have over the people through burdensome laws and rituals; and not only that, He is calling God His own Father. How do they respond? With a hatred that drives them to want to kill Him.
They just don’t get it (see John 5:39-40). Jesus had come to offer them a personal relationship with God, but they preferred their religious prestige and authority.
Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
Pastor Mike <‘(((><