John 05:1 ~ 12:50 (I) 约翰福音 第五章 第一节至第十二章 第五十节 之一

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN:

OPPOSITION TO CHRIST (Part I)

(5: 1-47)


I.    Jesus Heals an Invalid (5:1-5)


    A.    The Miracle Performed

1.    After an unspecified period of time, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem for a “feast of the Jews” (v. 1).  The name of the feast is not mentioned, but it was probably one of the three feasts that all Jewish males were expected to attend: Passover, Pentecost, or Tabernacles.

2.     Jesus passed by the Bethesda pool, where several invalids had placed themselves.  The waters, when stirred, supposedly had miraculous powers of healing.  Jesus asked a man who had been there for thirty-eight years an interesting question: “Do you want to get well?” (v. 6).  In Jesus’ day, many people depended on their unfortunate condition for financial support given by healthy individuals out of pity.

3.    Another possible reason for Jesus’ question relates to the man’s spirit.  Many who have experienced prolonged pain or misfortune have surrendered even the will to attempt to overcome their situation in life.  When the invalid shared with Jesus his difficulty of getting into the poll for healing, Jesus proclaimed: “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk”       (v. 8).  The man was healed instantly.


    B.    Response to the Miracle

1.    Starting with this section of John’s Gospel, we see an increasing reaction to Jesus’ ministry.  Each incident of controversy is set within the context of a Jewish festival, which serves to heighten the dramatic effect of the religious leaders’ opposition to Jesus.  Also, John uses the third sign to develop the theme of unbelief.

2.    The healing of this invalid took place on the Sabbath.  The Jewish leaders’ response was not joy over the man’s healing, but concern that he was violating the Sabbath by carrying his mat.

3.    The Law of Moses did not forbid such a practice; only the Jewish interpretation of the Law of Moses forbade it.  Throughout the many years since God had given the Law to Moses, the Jewish leaders had developed multiple volumes of written interpretations of how each of God’s commandments were to be carried out.  They expanded the Law to involve multitudes of minute details restricting people’s activity based on their interpretations of the Law.  Obviously, these interpretations went far beyond God’s original intent, as Jesus’ ministry brought out.  Jesus was constantly in conflict with the Jewish leaders over their interpretations of the Law, while He Himself was the ultimate fulfillment of the Law.  As Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

4.    The Jews had twisted the Law of God into a severe form of legalism.  Legalism is a dreadful distortion of God’s will for those whom He created to live in fellowship with Him.  The attitudes of the heart, not just outer deeds, matter to God.  When we allow God to have first place within our hearts, our outer lives will exhibit holiness – a holiness seen in the life and ministry of Jesus.


C.    Characteristic of Jesus’ Power

1.    Each of the miracles, or signs, that Jesus performed revealed certain characteristics about who Jesus is.  The healing of the invalid showed His mastery over time.  His work is not limited by time in any way, especially by time restrictions people may impose on when or how He is to minister.

2.    With the healing, Jesus emphasized that the consequences of sin are far more serious than any form of physical illness we might have.

3.    Jesus found the healed man, as well as the Samaritan woman at the well, addressed the deeper condition of the man’s relationship with God.  Jesus’ words are interesting: “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (v. 14).


II.    The Son of God (5:16-30)


    A.    Jesus’ Claim to Deity

1.    John now informs his readers that because of this healing on the Sabbath, the Jews began to persecute Jesus.  This is the first recorded hostility toward Jesus in John’s Gospel.  Jesus’ view of God was very different than that of the religious leaders.

2.    Jesus then rebuked the leaders for their response.  This rebuke outraged the Jews because “He also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (v. 18).  The Jews did not object to the idea of God as Father; they were concerned that Jesus somehow was in a special relationship to God as His Father, thus implying that Jesus was equal with God.


    B.    Jesus’ Relationship With God

1.    Jesus then gave a clearly defined, seven-point response about the relationship between the Father (God) and the Son (Himself).

    a.    The Son can do nothing without the Father (vv. 19, 30).

    b.    The Father loves the Son and reveals everything to Him (v. 20).

c.    The power to bestow life itself is shared by the Father and the Son (v. 21).

d.    God has given all judgment over to the Son (v. 22).

e.    The Father and the Son share equal honor (v. 23).

f.    Belief in the words of the Son result in eternal life (v. 24).

g.    The very consummation of the age will be by and through the Son (vv. 25-30).

2.    The Jews objected to Jesus’ answer because of their staunch monotheism (belief in one God).  Christians are monotheists as well yet maintain that the nature of the one true God is that He is Triune – three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), one God.

3.    To the Jewish mind, Jesus’ claim to be God was blasphemous because it suggested the idea of two Gods.  Of course, nothing of the sort was in mind with Jesus’ self-declaration as the Son of God.  Rather, Jesus proclaimed that He was God in human form, the second person of the Trinity.

4.    Jesus’ most common way of referring to Himself was as “The Son of Man” (v. 27).  The Jews of the day recognized that as a reference to the Messiah.  It was first used by Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14).  However, Jesus also made several references to being “The Son of God” (i.e., v. 26; Matt. 11:27; Matt. 27:11; Mark 14:61-62; John 8:58).


III.    Testimony to Jesus (5:31-47)


    A.    Witness and Belief

1.    Witness and belief are two key themes that John links in his Gospel.  

2.    In His defense statement to the Jews, Jesus included five witnesses that give testimony to His claim to be the Son of God.

a.    The witness of John the Baptist (vv. 31-35) – It was John the Baptist who first declared that Jesus was “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (1:29).

b.    The witness of works of Jesus (v. 36) – These were the powerful acts of Jesus done on earth in cooperation with the Father (cp. 5:20; 9:4; 10:25, 32, 37-38; 14:10-11; 15:25).

c.    The witness of the Father (v. 37) – Three times the Father’s witness came verbally during Jesus’ ministry (Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 12:28-30).

d.    The witness of the Scriptures (vv. 39-44) – The Scriptures were the foundation of His opponents’ tradition.  These Scriptures were what we know as the Old Testament.  What they sought in their studies of the Scriptures could only be found in Jesus.  But the leaders would not accept His witness or His claims based on the Scriptures.  

e.    The witness of Moses - Included in the Old Testament Scriptures was the witness of Moses (vv. 45-47).



REVIEW QUESTIONS


1.    What was important about Jesus’ third sign of healing the invalid?

2.    Why did Jesus’ healing of the invalid cause the religious leaders to be upset?

3.    What claim that Jesus made about Himself also caused the religious leaders to be upset?

4.    What witnesses gave testimony to Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God?

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