John 5: This chapter brings us to the incident of Yeshua healing the man at Bethesda. This is the point in the ministry of Yeshua that the Pharisees and religious leaders went after Yeshua and did not let up until He was killed.
(John 5:1 NASB) After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 5:1: We do not know what feast this was. It could have been the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Pentecost, or it could have been the Feast of Passover again.
(John 5:2 NASB) Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes.
John 5:2: There is a place that claims to have been the pool of Bethesda. It is located on the east side of Jerusalem. It does not have any water in it, but it is a long pool and about 8 feet deep.
(John 5:3 NASB) In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, <waiting for the moving of the waters;
(John 5:4 NASB) 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.>
John 5:4: Some manuscripts omit the last part of verse 3 as well as verse 4. None of the original Greek manuscripts before 400 AD have this passage in them. It is likely that on the basis of some tradition that a scribe added this passage later.
There is no other Scriptural reference to this pool except this later added passage, so this matter is far from established as being true.
(John 5:5 NASB) And a certain man was there, who had been thirty-eight years in his sickness.
John 5:5: Now this man had an illness for 38 years. This does not mean that he was at the pool for 38 years, although he might have been. He was probably the worst case there and his ailment was well know.
If this was not some miraculous pool, why was the man there? It is possible that some local tradition or fable taught that the waters had healing powers at certain times. This man was obviously losing all hope..
(John 5:6 NASB) When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said^ to him, “Do you wish to get well?”
John 5:6: This might seem like a silly question, but there was a reason behind it. The man was relying on some old-wives-tale for his healing. Yeshua is asking him, “Do you really wish to get well?” This man needs to look to the Father for healing, and not some local tradition.
(John 5:7 NASB) 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.”
John 5:7: It is on the basis of this verse that the passage in verses 3-4 was probably inserted. There were apparently times that the water was stirred up by gas or some other phenomenon and it was likely the reason many thought the water had powers of some kind.
The fact is, there are no Scriptural or historical record of anyone being healed by that pool. This man probably just thought this folklore was his only chance at healing. He blames his lack of healing to not being the first one in the pool.
(John 5:8 NASB) Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.”
(John 5:9 NASB) And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.
(John 5:10 NASB) Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.”
John 5:10: This seems to be a difficult passage to explain since we know that Yeshua kept the Sabbath. Keep mind the Jewish mindset of the day and also today. They added many rules and requirements to honor the Sabbath Day.
“The rules about the Sabbath, Festal offering and sacrilege are like mountains hanging by a hair, for there is scant teaching about them in Scripture while the rules are many” (Mishnah Hagigah 1:8).
“The principal categories of work [which are forbidden on the Sabbath] are forty less one [39 categories]: sowing, plowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, cleansing crops, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing, washing, beating or dyeing wool, spinning, weaving, making two loops, weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying a knot, loosening a knot, sewing two stitches, ripping in order to sow two stitches, hunting a gazelle [or similar beast], slaughtering or flaying or salting it or curing its hide, scraping it or cutting it up, writing two letters [that is, two letters of the alphabet in a row!], erasing in order to write two letters, building, pulling down, putting out a fire, lighting a fire, striking with a hammer and taking anything from one domain to another [e.g. from private domain to public domain or vice versa]. These are the principal categories of work: forty less one” (Mishnah Shabbat 7:2).
“If the Jewish people would observe the Sabbath properly even once, the son of David [the Messiah] would come. Why? Because observing the Sabbath is equal to all the other commandments in importance” (Exodus Rabbah 25:12).
Yeshua taught us that it is ok to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:11-12). He also told us that the son of man of Master of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:3-8).
The fact of the matter is that this man was severely crippled for 38 years. What better way to glorify the Father on the Sabbath than to prove that a man that had been healed that had been hopelessly crippled for such a long time? Should he wait until the next day for the Father to be glorified in this way? Absolutely not!
The Jews that were criticizing him were not glorifying the Father for this miracle. They were complaining that this was breaking their oral tradition.
(John 5:11 NASB) But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Take up your pallet and walk.’”
(John 5:12 NASB) They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your pallet, and walk’?”
(John 5:13 NASB) But he who was healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.
John 5:13: The Pharisees were going to make a big issue out of this man moving his bed on the Sabbath day. The fact is that this was proof the man was healed. The Priests work on the Sabbath, but that work is to glorify the Father. A baby boy may be circumcised on the Sabbath, but that is work to glorify the Father. The work that this man did glorified the Father in an even greater way.
Yeshua had to withdraw because of the crowds. The crowds followed Him throughout His ministry. He had to get up at 4:00 AM and go to a mountaintop in order to be alone with His Father. The crowds wouldn’t leave Him alone because of the great things He has done.
(John 5:14 NASB) Afterward Jesus found^ him in the temple, and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you.”
John 5:14: This man’s ailment was apparently a result of his sin. We don’t know what his sin was, but it caused his affliction.
(John 5:15 NASB) The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
(John 5:16 NASB) And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.
(John 5:17 NASB) But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
John 5:17: The Jews were persecuting Yeshua because He broke their traditions by bringing great glory to the Father on the Sabbath day. Their priorities were way, way off.
(John 5:18 NASB) For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
John 5:18: The Jews were seeking to kill Him because He glorified the Father in a way that broke their traditions. They considered healing the sick and helping a neighbor in severe need to be an inferior work to honoring their tradition.
Yeshua equated His work with the work His Father is doing. They considered this and the fact that Yeshua called Elohim His own Father to be blasphemy. They worded their accusation as if Yeshua were making Himself equal with Elohim, or another Elohim, instead of seeing Him as a manifestation of the Father Himself.
(John 5:19 NASB) Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
John 5:19: Yeshua is making the claim that He can do the things the Father does. This is another verse to be used to demonstrate that Yeshua is Elohim in the flesh.
(John 5:20 NASB) “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.
(John 5:21 NASB) “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.
John 5:21: Yeshua said that He can raise the dead just as His Father does. This is likely speaking of the resurrection of life within His chosen people.
(John 5:22 NASB) “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
(John 5:23 NASB) in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
John 5:23: When the Jews accused Him of making Himself out to be equal with Elohim, Yeshua responded to them. He claimed that He can raise the dead, and that He Himself, not the Father, will judge all mankind. He says that He should get the same honor that His Father gets.
The Father has given all judgment to the Son. This means that the Father cannot be honored unless they honor the Son also. If the Son is not honored, the Father is not honored.
(John 5:24 NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
John 5:24: He who hears the Words of Yeshua and entrusts (believes) the Father who sent Him, has eternal life. They have passed out of death into life. This is the first resurrection.
(John 5:25 NASB) “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.
John 5:25: This verse can easily be misinterpreted if we don’t pay attention. It is picking up on the theme of the previous verse and is speaking of spiritual death. This verse is not talking about a physical resurrection. It is talking about how a lost and hopeless mankind that is dead in trespasses and sin can have everlasting life. Note that it is saying “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Elohim; and those who hear will live.”
This is a statement of the New Covenant. Hearing the voice of the Son of Elohim and living it is first stated in Torah concerning the Prophet (Deut 18:15-19).
(John 5:26 NASB) “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;
(John 5:27 NASB) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
John 5:27: Elohim made this as fair as He possibly could. He sent His Son down to live among us and truly be one of us. Yeshua lived in the lowest of low conditions. He came down as a Jew which was the most despised and rejected of people in that day and He was even rejected by them. He lived in poverty with the most humble of beginnings. Apparently His earthly father died when Yeshua was just a young boy. He was scorned by His hometown and by His own family. He was rejected by His people, the religious leaders, and by the governing nation in that day. He was tempted as we are and even met with Satan personally in the wilderness when He was under the weakest of physical conditions. He died an excruciatingly painful death and He died a criminals death even though He was totally innocent.
There is nothing in our life that we can experience that would approach the torment that Messiah suffered on this earth for us. He’s “been there, done that.” He persevered totally without sin and with uncompromising love. This alone qualifies Him as our judge, much less the fact that He is a manifestation of the Father. He will be the judge and jury for all of mankind and will know what we all have been through since He suffered through much more than that Himself. Man will not be able to stand before the Son and say “You just don’t understand…” Because he has been there… in the worst of conditions.
(John 5:28 NASB) “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
(John 5:29 NASB) and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
John 5:29: There will be one resurrection for both those where good and evil. Yeshua just described the first resurrection being when His Spirit comes in to one of His people and they live (John 5:24-25). Now Yeshua is describing the resurrection from the grave as described in Daniel (Dan. 12:1-3). Yeshua also describes the second resurrection in parable form (Matt. 25:31-46).
(John 5:30 NASB) “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 5:30: We are told that Elohim will return and judge mankind (Psalm 96:10-13, 9:7-8).
Here in John we are told that Yeshua will judge the world. If Yeshua is not a manifestation of Elohim, then His Word is not true. The fact is, Yeshua is His Father’s Word made flesh and He will judge according to the will of the Father. We are told in Isaiah that the stem from the root of Jesse will judge the world (Isaiah 11:1-5). This equates the Father with the stem from the root of Jesse, which is Elohim.
(John 5:31 NASB) “If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true.
John 5:31: Torah says that out of the mouths of two or three witnesses is a matter established (Deut. 19:15). Yeshua had other witnesses to testify as to who He was.
(John 5:32 NASB) “There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the testimony which He bears of Me is true.
(John 5:33 NASB) “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.
John 5:33: Yeshua says that they knew of John and what He testified to was true. The testimony of John is one of the main purposes behind the baptism of Yeshua.
But there is still another witness.
(John 5:34 NASB) “But the witness which I receive is not from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
(John 5:35 NASB) “He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
John 5:35: Yeshua is the light of the world and John the Baptist was the lamp that held that light. John was never the light, just the witness to the light (Luke 1:15-17).
(John 5:36 NASB) “But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
John 5:36: The testimony of Yeshua were the miracles He performed. They showed the people that the message He had was from Elohim. That was the whole purpose behind them.
This is the testimony that was sought by John the Witness himself. When John was in prison, he told his disciples to ask Yeshua if He was the One they were to look for, or if there was another. Yeshua didn’t answer them directly, but told them to tell John of the miracles they see Him doing (Matt. 11:1-6). This is what John knew to look for, not the testimony of men.
(John 5:37 NASB) “And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
(John 5:38 NASB) “And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.
John 5:38: Yeshua says that if one does not have His Word (Torah) abiding in him, then they do not believe in the Father (Ezek. 36:25-27). Having His Spirit within us to cause us to walk according to His Torah is the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34).
(John 5:39 NASB) “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;
John 5:39: Yeshua is referring here to the Tanakh, which is the only Scripture around in that day. He says that they keep searching the Scriptures because they think they will find eternal life there. Yeshua later says that Moses and the prophets and the Psalms speak of Him (Luke 24:27,44).
(John 5:40 NASB) and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.
(John 5:41 NASB) “I do not receive glory from men;
(John 5:42 NASB) but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.
(John 5:43 NASB) “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him.
John 5:43: They refused to come to Him. Yeshua said they do not have the love of Elohim in themselves. They will not receive Him because He comes in the name of the Father and they do not have the Spirit of the Father within them. If one comes in his own name, they receive him. This has been true of Judaism and also of Christianity. If a man comes in with a name that is honored by other men, they will accept his theology, doctrines, along with his additions and contradictions to Scripture.
(John 5:44 NASB) “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
John 5:44: They look for the applause of each other through the teaching of their traditions. They do not seek the glory that comes from only Elohim through His Torah.
(John 5:45 NASB) “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.
John 5:45: Yeshua says that He is not the one, per se, that accuses them. The one who accuses them is Moses. Torah is what condemns them because they reject Torah. Their traditions make the Torah of Elohim, given through His prophet Moses, of no effect (Mark 7:6-9).
It is their disobedience to Torah that condemns them. Man will be judged by the books of Torah (Rev. 20:11-12).
(John 5:46 NASB) “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me.
(John 5:47 NASB) “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
John 5:47: Yeshua said that one must believe the writings of Moses in order to believe His Words. That is because His Words are the same as the Words of Moses. If someone will not listen to Moses and the prophets, it will not matter if someone gives them some miraculous proof like raising someone from the dead (Luke 16:29-31).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas