John – Lesson 8  -    John Chapter 5:1-24



In Chapter 4, we saw Jesus coming to the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well where Jesus explained to her how to be saved and to partake of the Living Water that only Jesus can give. We talked of how this will satisfy our spiritual thirst forever. As we closed in the chapter, we saw Jesus coming back to Cana in Galilee where the nobleman came to Christ with the son that was about to die. Just by speaking to Jesus and showing his faith in Christ, Christ healed the boy without ever going to the home. Jesus is the Great Physician. He can heal our physical maladies, but even more, He can bring us back into a perfect relation with God. This week we see Jesus continuing his miracles as he heals the man at the pool of Bethesda.


  1. Christ at the Pool of Bethesda

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

    We see Jesus going up to Jerusalem to take part in the feast of the Jews. This feast may have been the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost was one of the three great annual feasts which the law required for every male Israelite to observe in Jerusalem. We see Jesus honoring the Divine Law by going up to Jerusalem at the season of its celebration. It is important to recognize that Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but by observing it and fulfilling it, he glorified God with His life.

    Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

    Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    The requirements for the feasts are found in Deuteronomy chapter 16.

    Deu 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

    Deu 16:2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.


    Deu 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:

    Deu 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

    John 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

    John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

    John 5:4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

    It says that there was sheep market that contained a pool. John Calvin in his commentary believed this to be the place near the temple where the animal were brought to be offered for sacrifice at the temple. He said the word Bethesda meant a "house of the flock" while it may have meant "a place for pouring out." He believed the water flowed in for the priests to use via conduits making sense that it would be the sheep gate where the animals used in sacrifice may have been taken.

    Perhaps this is the same as the "sheep gate" mentioned in Nehemiah chapter 3.

    Neh 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.

    This sheep gate points us to Jesus Christ and typifies his death on the cross. The pool which was called Bethesda was a place of mercy, and it is in Christ where the lost sinner finds mercy from the Lord. We see the condition of the people near the pool. They were impotent folk made up of the blind, the halt, and the withered. While many sinners don’t see their condition before God, anyone who is lost is truly in a blinded condition due to Satan.

    2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    We see those that were at the pool suffered from different maladies. The blind could not see, those with crippled feet could not walk, while those that had paralyzed hands were unable to work. It says they were waiting for the moving of the water in the pool. This was their hope, that they might be the first into the water after the angel moved the waters. In this case, that faith might have healed them. But today, we have many people placing their faith in the baptismal waters, or in their works, or in fulfilling of the law, or their church membership. And all of these are faith in vain. There is one and only one that can save, and He saves us to the uttermost.

    Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

    Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

    Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    Heb 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

    Heb 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

    Heb 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

    Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.


  3. The Healing of the impotent man

John 5:5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

John 5:7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

We see Jesus coming to this certain man that had been sick with his infirmity 38 years. It is hard to imagine being sick with one problem that long, but this man had been. Note that Jesus comes and selects out this man out of the crowd. Jesus’ question is "Wilt thou be made whole?" The question had to do with this man’s physical condition, but that same question goes forth to a lost and dying world concerning salvation today. If you have not accepted Jesus as your Personal Savior, Jesus calls to you today with the question "Wilt thou be made whole?" If you’ve been drawn to God by the Holy Spirit, will repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Savior, you too will be made whole.

In verse 7, we see the man saying that he has no one to help him to dip into the pool. And he was being honest from the standpoint of the world. Unless he had help, he would not be the first one to dip into the pool and he would not be healed. But Jesus tells the man to do three things.

    1. Rise
    2. Take up thy bed
    3. And walk.

Note the results of the man responding by faith in verse 9. It says that immediately, the man was made whole. We need to note a couple of things about this. One is that it was a complete and total healing, not a gradual process. When we are saved, it is total and complete. We do not need to wait 10 or 50 years to find out if we shall enter heaven, but we can know right now.


1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Notice these are not future tense verbs, but present tense. That means right now.


The second thing we note is that this was the miracle that was a turning point in Christ’s ministry. Not that it was greater than the others, but because it was done on the sabbath, it began a process that the Jews sought to kill Christ. Look down at verse 16 of this chapter.


John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

This action really clashed with the following of the law in the Jew’s mind. They didn’t care that the man was healed after 38 years of suffering, their precious rules (in their mind) had been violated. J. Vernon McGee said this: "They never forgave Jesus for what He did on the Sabbath. They hated Him because He said "… The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. (Mark 2:27) The miracle that our Lord performed here really put murder into their hearts. They hated Him because of the Sabbath and because He made Himself equal with God. Making himself equal with God is a clear-cut claim to deity. I have heard the liberals say that the Bible does not teach the deity of Christ. I don’t know what those men are talking about. I feel they are either woefully ignorant or they are absolutely dishonest. You may disagree with the Lord Jesus, and you may disagree with the Bible, but how can you put any other construction on these plain words, "making himself equal with God"? If that isn’t claiming deity, then I do not know how a person would be able to claim deity."

John 5:10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

John 5:11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

John 5:12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?

John 5:13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

John 5:15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

If we surrender our life to the Lord, you can be sure that you will encounter criticism and opposition by man. The world never has understood Christianity and the ways of Jesus.

I find it abhorring when someone who claims to be close to God finds fault in others doing a work for the honor and glory of God. Like these self-righteous Jews, many find reasons to never be involved with others, but it is not God’s Will for us to try to be an island among so many who are in need. Can any of us meet all the needs of others around us? Absolutely not. But if we will but help the few that God sets in our path, a great deal of suffering and despair could be minimized. Sometimes just a kind word spoken at the right time can make all the difference in the world to those that are hurting. We see the Jews saying it is not lawful for the man to be carrying his bed. That was so narrow and uncaring. They asked the man who was it that told you to take up your bed and walk. The man healed truly did not know, since Jesus had moved away from him. But Jesus did not try to hide from the man, but comes up to him in the temple and told him to sin no more. If he did sin, the Lord warns that a worse thing might come upon him. When we are saved, it is God’s Will that we do all that we can to walk a pure and righteous life before Him. That is not to say that we will not sin, but our desire should be to be more like Christ. The Bible says that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. But we should walk a separated life that will honor God.. We see that in verse 15, the man acknowledges that it was Jesus who made him whole. If you are saved today, you too must acknowledge that it was not of you, but all due to Jesus Christ.


III. The Deity of Jesus Christ

John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

These verses leave little to misunderstand about the equality of Jesus and God. Jesus and the Father are as one, as well as the Holy Spirit. The three part Godhead is difficult to comprehend, and I think it is wise just to accept God and not attempt to totally in our human mind understand it. How can three separate entities be one? I don’t know, but I believe God.


1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

1 John 5:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

1 John 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.


Peter warns us to not be moved away from the truth due to some hard things that we may not understand.


2 Pet 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

2 Pet 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

2 Pet 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

2 Pet 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Titus warns to not strive over foolish questions that we may never know.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

John 5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

Jesus is simply saying that He is God and that He can do what God does. They are in harmony one with the other. The Son does not contradict the Father, and we know God never contradicts Christ. Jesus does what God would have Him to do. And we know that Jesus was the one who gave His life that our sins might be forgiven. Jesus tells them that the Father loveth the Son, and that even greater works than these would be shown. What greater could there ever be than for Jesus to come out of the tomb after dying there on the cross. The resurrection is the stamp of final proof and authenticity that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Remember how that Jesus was with God in the very beginning, and was responsible for all things that were created. That was spoken clearly in Chapter one of our study.


John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Before Adam was formed, God said "Let US make man in OUR image." Who was the "us" unless He was speaking of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.


John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

We see that God gave many sovereign rights to Jesus. One of those rights is that he has committed all judgment to Christ. Today, Jesus is the Savior of the World. But soon, there will come a day when Jesus returns as the Righteous Judge. Here today we may see many sentences in our courts that are unfair. The minor offenses may receive a maximum sentence while murderers may walk away with a minimal judgment. But Jesus will bring impartial and perfect righteous judgment when He comes again.

Paul told young Timothy that at the end of his life that he had fought a good fight and would receive a crown from the "righteous judge."


2 Tim 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.


John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Jesus makes it clear that if we hear His word and believe He is the Savior, we will be saved and have eternal life. What a promise… we will be passed from death unto life. 

1 Cor 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

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