The Gospel of John
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
The Gospel of John – Text Based Studies
5:1 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Aramaic Bethesda [Bethsaida, Bethzatha], having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered,
[The following is not found in the earliest documents and manuscripts] waiting for the moving of the waters; 4 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.]
5 A man was there who had been in his sickness for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He says to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 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.” 8 Jesus says to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9 Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” 11 But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” 13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus finds him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
Key Verses To Understanding The Section [5:1-17]:
5:8 Jesus demonstrates is power as God in the healing of a man with a long term paralyzing illness.
Each of Jesus’ miracles in the New Testament were performed in order to fulfill specific prophecies in the Old Testament.
5:10 The cured man violates the Mosaic Law by carrying his bed on the Sabbath.
In Exodus 31:12-17 The Sabbath is affirmed as a perpetual sign and Covenant of God and the Israelites. Sabbath breakers are officially to be “cut off from the assembly” or potentially killed. 35:2-3 forbids even the lighting of a fire on the Sabbath.
5:14 It is Jesus who seeks out the cured man and finds him in the Sanctuary of the Temple. Jesus’ interest is in the spiritual welfare of the man.
5:16 The “Jews” seek to persecute and kill (Stone) Jesus for commanding the cured man to carry his bed on the Sabbath.
The Jews seek to kill Jesus but the offense was committed by the cured man.
5:17 An identification of Jesus as God’s Son (specific).
After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Jesus’ journey has taken us from Bethany and John the Baptist [1:28], then to Cana and the wedding wine miracle [2:1], on to Capernaum [2:12], and then Jerusalem for the cleansing of the Temple [2:13]. While in Jerusalem Jesus encounters Nicodemus [3:1]. Jesus continues His journey into the plains of Judea where John the Baptist sets down the framework for the principle of Jesus as God.
He then travels through Samaria to meet with the Samaritan Woman at the Well of Jacob, and the salvations of the men and women of Sychar, and the establishment of the principle that, “This one is indeed the Savior of the world” [4:42]. He leaves Samaria and on to Galilee, and back to Cana to heal the royal official’s son from a distance.
Many commentaries set this time as the Passover, however, the time limits between this last event and arriving at Jerusalem for a feast place us at the Feast of Purim which is kept on the 14th day of March and is the commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews from the plots of Haman [The book of Esther].
Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Aramaic Bethesda [Bethsaida, Bethzatha], having five porticoes. 3 In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered.
In John 10:7 Jesus identifies Himself as “The gate of the sheep.” He often refers to Himself as the “Good Shepherd,” and the “Shepherd of the Flock.”
Nehemiah wrote [Nehemiah 3:1] that the Sheep Gate was the first gate to be built, and it was built by the High Priest [Eliashib] and the priesthood. The Lord and Messiah (Christ) Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant, who it the Lamb of God, whose death, blood, and resurrection bring us forgiveness of sin, sins, and redemption. The high priest was setting up the doors of the Sheep Gate, which means that He is the Door of the sheep. Through the Lord Jesus a man will be saved from the power of death, sin, and an eternal damnation – instead to eternal life.
The miracle at the Sheep Gate is therefore used by Jesus to identify with this message from the Old Testament. Those who had “spiritual ears” would hear that message. He came to the Sheep Gate to bring healing to His people.
Archeologists identify the pool of Bethsaida as a mikveh or ritual bath site. This sheds some clarity as to why so many lame and infirm men and (perhaps) women were there, and the number of sides to the pool with roofs (separating men from women, etc.).
verses are not included in the earliest and most verifiable texts and
lectionaries including the Sinaitic and the Vatican. It seem to have been added
sometime in the second century and can be found in the Alexandrian of that time.
The biggest argument for the exclusion of these verses is the otherwise absence
in the bible as a whole of non-moral miracles. This does not dismiss the
movement of the waters (waving, bubbles, etc.) as recorded in Verse 7, nor that
many may have believed that the healing waters did so because of an Angel. The
point being that the Angel text was later added to explain the movement of the
waters according to a developed myth over the next 100 years.
A man was there who had been in his sickness for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He says to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 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.” 8 Jesus says to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9a Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
There is no indication of how often, or how long, this man was at this pool. It does state that his infirmity had lasted 38 years (see footnote #3). Verse 6 reminds us of the mind of God in Jesus as he “Already” knew these facts.
Jesus asks him if he is willing to be made well [Gk]. It would be a strange question indeed if He was not “The Healer,” but that inference is lost on the sick man.
We should not miss the sadness of the man’s reply – “I have no man.” He finds himself sick and alone—desperate for healing. Others who are able can “step down” into the pool before he is able to get up.
Jesus, without hesitation, commands the man to get up and pick up his bed—and the man is “instantly [Gk]” healed, got up, and “walked around [Gk],” as Jesus commanded.
9b Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10 So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” 11 But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” 13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place.
John’s story telling ability is shown as he uses the next word, “Yet.” “Yet, it was the Sabbath Day.” If you were Jewish you would immediately get the reference – the cured man was “walking around, carrying his bed, on the Sabbath.”
In Exodus 31:12-17, Sabbath is affirmed as a perpetual sign and covenant, and Sabbath-breakers are officially to be cut off from the assembly or potentially killed. Summarized again in 35:2-3, verse 3 also forbids lighting a fire on the Sabbath. Not keeping the Sabbath laws was [and still is in fundamentalist Jewish circles] a serious offense and was punishable by stoning.
The cured man tells those questioning him that the One who cured him is the one who commanded him to take up his bed and walk around but he was ignorant as to just who this man who healed him was. Apparently this healed man was not taken to task for his “walking around.” For Jesus had “slid to the side, avoided, escaped away secretly [Gk]” through the crowd that had gathered upon seeing the miracle.
14 Afterward Jesus finds him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
Afterwards, later, Jesus has found the healed man. Jesus, the Shepherd, seeks out the lost and finds them. John’s words lead us to understand that this heal man has gone into the temple – into the Sanctuary of God. We don’t know why but we can easily expect that he’s there to bring thanks and praise to God for this healing by a stranger.
In order for Jesus to find him in the Temple He had to enter through the “Sheep Gate.” As we said earlier, the Sheep Gate was erected during Nehemiah’s time by the High Priest who led the priesthood in doing so. There it says that the High Priest erected the doors of the gate Himself. This was a foreshadowing of the arrival of Messiah – at the Sheep Gate, where He Himself would be the Door whereby His sheep would enter into the Holy City. Here now is Jesus, the Messiah, entering the holy city of Jerusalem through that very door on His journey to find one lost sheep who has been healed, and He finds Him in The Sanctuary of God.
Jesus calls to him… “Do you understand that you have been healed?” (Who heals? God heals—then Who Am I?). “Sin no more – so that nothing worse happens to you now.” God comes and heals. Your response should be a sinless life. There are consequences to a life of sin after His miraculous work in your life.
John’s narrative tells us that the healed man left the Sanctuary and at some time sought out the “Jews” and told them that it was Jesus who had healed him. I wonder how often we have hurt the reputation of others with good intentions.
The Jewish leadership now has the evidence they need against Jesus. They’re not interested in persecuting the healed man who picked up his bed and walked around on the Sabbath. They are focused upon this one who has been acting like a messiah.
Jesus encounters them and they persecute Him for His Godly deeds. But He counters them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am now working.”In the next section we will find out that this phrase indicated to the Jewish leaders that Jesus was identifying himself as “One with God.” And they would not seek to kill Him because of it.
 Bethsaida [House of fishing] – Located in Galilee, Israel, along the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee. A new community at the time of Jesus visit. The city was abandoned approx.. 65 AD. This means that this community had dissolved, or moved, by the time of John’s writing [85-90 AD]. It is currently marked on maps as the “et-Tell,” a mound left behind from the city’s eventual destruction.
 Portico – a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building.
 The text does not indicate the condition or disease, but John does not state that it was from birth. We can surmise that the man suffered from a disease such as Polio which is an acquired disease and, left uncured, deprived him of the ability to get up and walk quickly.