1After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.2Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.3In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.4For an angel went down at certain times 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.5Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.6When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been there a long time, He said to him, Do you want to be made well?7The sick man answered Him, Sir, I have no man to throw me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another goes down before me.8Jesus said to him, Rise up, take up your bed and walk.9And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.10The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.11He answered them, He who made me well said to me, Take up your bed and walk.12Then they asked him, Who is the man who said to you, Take up your bed and walk?13But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, Behold, you have been made well. Sin no more, that a worse thing not come upon you.15The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.16For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.17But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now, and I work.18Therefore 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.19Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son is not able to do anything from Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does likewise.20For 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.21For as the Father raises the dead and gives life, even so the Son gives life to whom He wills.22For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who has sent Him. 24Truly, 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 from death unto life.25Truly, truly, 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.26For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,27and has also given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.28Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice29and come forth; those who have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.30I am able to do nothing from Myself. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.31If I bear witness concerning Myself, My testimony is not true.32There is another who bears witness concerning Me, and I know that the testimony which He witnesses concerning Me is true.33You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth.34Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.35He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.36But I have a greater testimony 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.37And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.38And you do not have His Word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.39You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me.40But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.41I do not receive honor from men.42But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.43I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, him you will receive.44How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from God only?45Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you; Moses, in whom you have hoped.46For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.47But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?
Matthew Henry - Concise Commentary 1
We are all by nature impotent folk in spiritual things, blind, halt, and withered; but full provision is made for our cure, if we attend to it. An angel went down, and troubled the water; and what disease soever it was, this water cured it, but only he that first stepped in had benefit. This teaches us to be careful, that we let not a season slip which may never return. The man had lost the use of his limbs thirty-eight years. Shall we, who perhaps for many years have scarcely known what it has been to be a day sick, complain of one wearisome night, when many others, better than we, have scarcely known what it has been to be a day well? Christ singled this one out from the rest. Those long in affliction, may comfort themselves that God keeps account how long. Observe, this man speaks of the unkindness of those about him, without any peevish reflections. As we should be thankful, so we should be patient. Our Lord Jesus cures him, though he neither asked nor thought of it. Arise, and walk. God's command, Turn and live; Make ye a new heart; no more supposes power in us without the grace of God, his distinguishing grace, than this command supposed such power in the impotent man: it was by the power of Christ, and he must have all the glory. What a joyful surprise to the poor cripple, to find himself of a sudden so easy, so strong, so able to help himself! The proof of spiritual cure, is our rising and walking. Has Christ healed our spiritual diseases, let us go wherever he sends us, and take up whatever he lays upon us; and walk before him. 10
Those eased of the punishment of sin, are in danger of returning to sin, when the terror and restraint are over, unless Divine grace dries up the fountain. The misery believers are made whole from, warns us to sin no more, having felt the smart of sin. This is the voice of every providence, Go, and sin no more. Christ saw it necessary to give this caution; for it is common for people, when sick, to promise much; when newly recovered, to perform only something; but after awhile to forget all. Christ spoke of the wrath to come, which is beyond compare worse than the many hours, nay, weeks and years of pain, some wicked men have to suffer in consequence of their unlawful indulgences. And if such afflictions are severe, how dreadful will be the everlasting punishment of the wicked! 17
The Divine power of the miracle proved Jesus to be the Son of God, and he declared that he worked with, and like unto his Father, as he saw good. These ancient enemies of Christ understood him, and became more violent, charging him not only with sabbath-breaking, but blasphemy, in calling God his own Father, and making himself equal with God. But all things now, and at the final judgment, are committed to the Son, purposely that all men might honour the Son, as they honour the Father; and every one who does not thus honour the Son, whatever he may think or pretend, does not honour the Father who sent him. 24
Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day. 30
Our Lord returns to his declaration of the entire agreement between the Father and the Son, and declared himself the Son of God. He had higher testimony than that of John; his works bore witness to all he had said. But the Divine word had no abiding-place in their hearts, as they refused to believe in Him whom the Father had sent, according to his ancient promises. The voice of God, accompanied by the power of the Holy Ghost, thus made effectual to the conversion of sinners, still proclaims that this is the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. But when the hearts of men are full of pride, ambition, and the love of the world, there is no room for the word of God to abide in them. 39
The Jews considered that eternal life was revealed to them in their Scriptures, and that they had it, because they had the word of God in their hands. Jesus urged them to search those Scriptures with more diligence and attention. Ye do search the Scriptures, and ye do well to do so. They did indeed search the Scriptures, but it was with a view to their own glory. It is possible for men to be very studious in the letter of the Scriptures, yet to be strangers to its power. Or, Search the Scriptures, and so it was spoken to them in the nature of an appeal. Ye profess to receive and believe the Scripture, let that be the judge. It is spoken to us as advising or commanding all Christians to search the Scriptures. Not only read them, and hear them, but search them; which denotes diligence in examining and studying them. We must search the Scriptures for heaven as our great end; For in them ye think ye have eternal life. We must search the Scriptures for Christ, as the new and living Way, that leads to this end. To this testimony Christ adds reproofs of their unbelief and wickedness; their neglect of him and his doctrine. Also he reproves their want of the love of God. But there is life with Jesus Christ for poor souls. Many who make a great profession of religion, yet show they want the love of God, by their neglect of Christ and contempt of his commandments. It is the love of God in us, the love that is a living, active principle in the heart, which God will accept. They slighted and undervalued Christ, because they admired and overvalued themselves. How can those believe, who make the praise and applause of men their idol! When Christ and his followers are men wondered at, how can those believe, the utmost of whose ambition is to make a fair show in the flesh! 45
Many trust in some form of doctrines or some parties, who no more enter into the real meaning of those doctrines, or the views of the persons whose names they bear, than the Jews did into those of Moses. Let us search and pray over the Scriptures, as intent on finding eternal life; let us observe how Christ is the great subject of them, and daily apply to him for the life he bestows.