BIBLE: John Chapter 5

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

A Man Healed at the Pool of Bethesda

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Which feast?

There are three holidays that include the obligation to go up to Jerusalem:

Passover, Weeks and Tabernacles. Other holidays such as the New Year (Rosh HaShanah), Atonement (Yom Kipur) and Dedication (Hanukah) do not include this obligation. See Deut 16:16:

Deut 16:16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles;

Speculation: The next reference to a seasons is John 6:4, “…near Passover time”. Assuming that events narrated are sequential and in the same year, this would suggest that the previous festival with an obligation to go up to Jerusalem mentioned in John 5:1 was Tabernacles (feast of Booths).

►Note: about Tabernacles: If Mary was impregnated on Kislev 24 (The day before Hanukah) when the foundation stone was laid (since Jesus is called the foundation stone in scripture), then Jesus’ birth would be during the Feast of Tabernacles, when God dwells among men.

Ephesians 2:20 Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Isaiah 28:16 [A Cornerstone in Zion] Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.

1 Kings 5:17 And the king commanded them to quarry large stones, costly stones, and hewn stones, to lay the foundation of the temple.

Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

1 Peter 2:7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,”

John 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.

● Bethesda is also called Bethzatha.

● Archaeology has identified a pool at Bethesda in Jerusalem as the scene of one of Jesus’ miracles. This was the healing of the paralyzed man who had waited 38 years for someone to help him into the pool “when the water is stirred” — an event believed to have curative powers.

● Five Porches

In his Gospel account, John describes the pool as having five porticoes, in which lay many invalids — blind, lame and paralyzed.

Because no such pool had been discovered, the historicity of the site was long called into question. Some claimed that John had invented the detail of the five porticoes to represent the five books of Moses, which Jesus had come to fulfill.

In the 1900s, however, archaeologists at Bethesda unearthed two large water reservoirs separated by a broad rock dike. They were rectangular in shape, with four colonnaded porticos around the sides and one across the central dike.

John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.

Note: Paralyzed can also be translated withered.

John 5:4 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.
John 5:5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.

The number thirty eight has an ominous overtone.

Two years after leaving Egypt the Israelites send spies from Kadesh, where they were located, into the Promised Land. Their task was to report on all they saw, including the number and strength of cities they viewed and the quality of the farmland (Num. 13:17 – 20). Upon their return, their faithless report brings God’s wrath on the people and causes them to wander the wilderness an additional 38 years (Num. 32:8 – 13).

John 5:6 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?”

Such a strange question, “Do you want to be made well?”

Is there a reason not to be made well? Is there something in the heart of man that has the twisted vision that being taken care of by someone else makes a person feel more loved and nurtured? Perhaps in being maimed one is not to be held responsible for working and tilling and earning one’s own way.

Both reasons are a sign of disease in and of itself, a spiritual disease.

Jesus was going to heal the man of both the spiritual disease and the physical disease.

As is the pattern of men so is the pattern of nations. A government that promotes a lack of self sufficiency also promotes a debilitating spiritual disease of relying on the government for their provisions. They give up their freedom and become helpless.

John 5:7 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.”
John 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
John 5:9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

And that day was the Sabbath.

John 5:10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
John 5:11 He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
John 5:12 Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
John 5:13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.
John 5:14 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.”

Note: Jesus has made a connection between sin and sickness.

John 5:15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Honor the Father and the Son

John 5:16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
John 5:18 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.
John 5:19 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.
John 5:20 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.
John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.
John 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
John 5:23 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.

Life and Judgment Are Through the Son

John 5:24 “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.

● Passed from death into life:

                                To pass from one place to another is “crossing over”.

Deut 27:2 And it shall be, on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime.

This was the time when the Hebrews entered the Promised Land.

The name “Hebrew” means “one who crosses over”.  The name is derived from Deut. 27:2.

Before this, they were called Israelites, or Jews (short for Judah).

Believers also “cross over” from death to life to enter into a Promised Land. 

Furthermore the feast of Passover, when Jesus died on the cross as the sacrificial lamb of God, was a celebration in remembrance of the angel of death in Egypt passing over the houses of the Israelites who had the blood of a spotless lamb over their doorpost.

Believers have the blood of the lamb of God over their doorpost, being covered by the blood of Jesus.

Believers, being graphed into the vine, are also Hebrews, in the sense of being those whom have crossed over.

John 5:25 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.
John 5:26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,
John 5:27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.
John 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

Everyone in the grave will hear His voice! How does this compare with Paul’s statement:

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

John 5:29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
John 5:30 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.

The Fourfold Witness

ScriptureNotesWitness 1Witness 2Witness 3Witness 4
John 5The Fourfold WitnessJesus bears witness of HimselfJohn the baptizer bears witnesses of JesusThe works Jesus does bears witness of HimThe Father bears witness of Jesus
I John 5:7These Three ARE OneThe Word (the Son) bears witness in heavenThe Holy Spirit bears witness in heavenThe Father bears witness in heaven
I John 5:8These Three Agree as OneThe Blood bears witness on earthThe Spirit bears witness on earthThe Water bears witness on earth
John 5:31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. (Or: My witness is not valid as testimony.)
John 5:32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.
John 5:33 You have sent to John (the baptizer), and he has borne witness to the truth.
John 5:34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.
John 5:35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
John 5:36 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.
John 5:37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
John 5:38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.

Jesus is “God’s Word”.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
John 5:40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
John 5:41 “I do not receive honor from men.

Since Jesus does not seek honor from men, His mission is not as a “people pleaser” but a Witness of absolute Truth. Unfortunately for sinners, absolute Truth is toxic without the blood of Jesus to cover those sins.

John 5:42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
John 5:43 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.

This verse describes the coming “Antichrist” who will rule during a severe seven tribulation. The Jews had a habit of picking the wrong Messiah and not seeing the Messiah who was in their face.

John 5:44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
John 5:45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust.
John 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

                NOTE: Jesus is telling them that Moses wrote about him!

John 5:47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: