John 5:10-23

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 13, 2009


Play “James and the Professor” promo.

Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Last week we saw Jesus make another trip to Jerusalem where He healed a man at the pool of Bethesda.

Play video.

:10-16 Sabbath Trouble

:10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."

:10 who was curedtherapeuo – to heal, cure, restore to health; perfect tense – he was healed in the past and was still healed.

:10 Sabbath 

In the Ten Commandments, the fifth commandment was to remember honor the Sabbath and not do any work on it (Ex. 20:8-11)

(Exo 20:10 NKJV)  but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
God commanded His people to take one day a week, stop working, and rest.
These Jewish folks thought that this man carrying his bedroll was breaking the Sabbath law.


Spoiling the fun

Don’t get me wrong, there are some kinds of “fun” that just aren’t good for you.
But the person who goes down the road of living life by a strict list of rules isn’t going to ever have any fun at all.
This guy has been sick for 38 years!!!
Shouldn’t there be a party or something?
Instead, some people are always looking for what’s wrong.
There’s the guy who came down to breakfast one morning and told his wife he wanted two eggs—one fried, one scrambled.  With no comment, the long-suffering woman cooked each egg to his specifications and then quietly put the plate in front of him.  “Oh no!” he groaned, pushing it away.  “You’ve fried the wrong egg.”
Sometimes we can get so negative and so critical of one another, that when something incredible or miraculous happens, all we can do look for what's wrong.
(Prov 15:15 NKJV)  All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

It’s not that all the days of the “afflicted” are actually bad, but that to them they sure seem to be bad.

Lighten up a little and learn to say “Thank You” to the Lord.

:11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"

He was only doing what he was told.

:12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?"

They want to know who is responsible for encouraging this man to break their Sabbath traditions.

To them, not only had Jesus encouraged this man to break the Sabbath by carrying his bed, but Jesus broke the Sabbath by healing the man.

:13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

:13 had withdrawnekneuo – to bend to one side; to take one’s self away; to escape, slip away secretly

Somehow Jesus had forgotten to give this guy His card.

Jesus didn’t hand the guy His card.  He didn’t make sure the man knew how to spell His name for the reporters.  He didn’t stick around to get any credit for what He had done.

Jesus practiced what He preached:

(Mat 6:1-4 NKJV)  "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. {2} "Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. {3} "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, {4} "that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

: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."

:14 Jesus found him in the temple

This tells us a couple of things:

1.  This fellow has his priorities right … for now
Jesus didn’t find him in the bar celebrating with his friends.  He found him in the Temple.
2.  Jesus was looking for him.
Jesus wasn’t finished with him yet.  His ministry in the fellow’s life went beyond physical healing.

:14 sin no more – literally, “no longer continue sinning”

Jesus is not telling this man to stop sinning altogether.  No one can do that. Jesus is pointing to a specific sin this fellow had been guilty of.

Instead, Jesus is pointing to a specific sin this fellow was guilty of, probably the thing that led to his illness in the first place.

:14 worsecheiron – worse; comparative of kakos, not “bad”, but “badder”

Jesus isn’t warning him that a “bad” thing will happen because of sin, but something “worse” will happen if he continues in this particular sin.


Sin and Trouble

Not all trouble is a result of sin – John 9
The disciples asked Jesus about a blind man – why was he blind?  The disciples assumed that someone had sinned, but Jesus clarified that it wasn’t because of sin.  In fact God wanted to be glorified in the blind man.  (John 9)
Apparently this man’s trouble was related to sin.
If he doesn’t get serious about his sin, things will get worse.
Sometimes God will allow difficulty as a way of turning us around.

This is not God’s only way of getting us to turn around.  Sometimes God uses kindness:

(Rom 2:4 NASB)  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

Sometimes God is just too kind to us and it makes us want to honor Him with our lives.

This happened once in Peter’s life when Jesus blessed Peter with a whole boatload of fish.

(Luke 5:8 NKJV)  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"

Peter was convicted by Jesus’ kindness to him.

Sometimes God uses trouble.

It’s not meant as punishment, but as a warning, as a way of getting your attention.

When we ignore God’s warnings, things may go from bad to worse.

We saw this on Thursday night at the end of Leviticus (Lev. 26) where God warns His children about the consequences of not doing things the right way.  Difficult times would come to encourage them to turn around.  Yet if they ignored God’s warnings, God promised that things would get worse and worse until they would turn around. When we ignore God’s warnings, why are we angry with God when things get more difficult? 

 (Lev 26:18 NKJV)  'And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

Four times in the chapter God warns them that if they would not pay attention to the trouble they were in, that it would get even worse.

Are you in some sort of trouble? Have you done something stupid?
Is that trouble clearly linked to some sort of rebellion in your life?
Pay attention to God’s lovingly sent warnings.
Turn around.

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

toldanaggello – to announce; to report

The word “told” makes it sound a bit too nonchalant.  There is a sense of purpose and intent with this.  The man hunted down the people who had asked the question and reported back to them the answer to their question.

It could be that he just wanted to get off the hook with the Sabbath patrol.

It could be this fellow didn’t appreciate what Jesus just told him about not sinning.

:16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.

This will be one of the things that will cause trouble between Jesus and the Jews, the issue of the Sabbath.

For years I struggled with this because it sounds as if Jesus was breaking the Law of Moses when He did certain things on the Sabbath.

Jesus did not break the Law of Moses.

Jesus never sinned.  He never broke the Law of Moses.

What Jesus broke was the Jewish interpretation of the Law of Moses.

Specifically, He broke what was called the “traditions”.
You will see this word (“tradition”) brought up by Jesus, and if you aren’t aware of it, you may miss some of the significance of this.
(Mark 7:9 NKJV)  He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.


Dangerous Traditions

Many Jews don’t believe that the first five books of the Bible were all that Moses received from God.  They also believe that God told him a lot more things, things that were passed down orally from rabbi to rabbi until they were finally written down 200 years after Jesus.  These teachings (6 volumes) are called the Mishna.
We don’t believe these were actual things given to Moses, but instead were simply how the various rabbis came to interpret some of the more vague laws.
The Mishna has an entire book dedicated to the finer points of the Sabbath Law (the entire section has 24 chapters)
One example – it was against the law to tie a rope to your bucket at the well on the Sabbath, but it wasn’t against the law to tie a knot in your wife’s girdle on the Sabbath.  What do you do if you need water on the Sabbath?  Use your wife’s girdle to tie the bucket to the rope!
Chapter 1: Regulations Regarding Transfer

…A tailor shall not go out with his needle when it is nearly dark on Friday, lest he forget and go out (carrying it about with him) after dark …nor shall one search for vermin in his garments …

Chapter 3: Regulations Concerning stones, hearths, and ovens.

MISHNA II.: (Victuals) shall not be put either inside or on top of an oven that was heated with straw or with stubble; a firing-pot that was heated with straw or with stubble is (considered by the law) as a stone, but if it was heated with pressed poppy seed or with wood it is considered as an oven.

MISHNA III.: An egg shall not be put close to a boiler to get it settled, nor must it be wrapped in a hot cloth. R. Jose permits it; also it must not be put into hot sand or in the (hot) dust of the road that it be roasted (by the heat of the sun). It once happened that the inhabitants of Tiberias had laid a pipe of cold water through the arm of their hot springs. But the sages explained to them that on the Sabbath this water is considered like any other warmed on the Sabbath, and must not be used either for washing or drinking; and should this be done on a feast day, it is like water heated by fire, which may be used for drinking only, but not for washing.

MISHNA V.: Into a kettle, the hot water of which has been spilt out and which has been removed from the fire, cold water is not permitted to be poured, for the purpose of heating; but it is permitted to pour water into the kettle, or into a cup, for the purpose of making such water lukewarm.

Chapter 5: Regulations concerning what may and may not be worn by animals on the Sabbath

MISHNA I.: What gear may we let animals go about in and what not? The male camel in a bridle; the female cannel with a nose-ring; Lybian asses in a halter, and a horse in a collar.

Chapter 15:  Regulations concerning the tying and untying of knots

A woman may tie the slit of her tunic, the bands of her hood, the bands of her girdle, the straps of her shoes and sandals…R. Eliezer, the son of Jacob, says: “One may tie a rope in front of cattle, in order that they may not escape.” One may tie a bucket (over the well) with his girdle, but not with a rope.

Today in Israel life between Friday evening and Saturday evening is affected by the Sabbath laws.
It is considered against the Sabbath laws to turn on a light (considered to be “lighting a fire”) or press an elevator button.  Not to worry – lights are put on special Sabbath timers that turn them on and off.  Hotels have special “Sabbath Elevators” that will stop on every floor without you having to press a button.
Yesterday, Saturday, the Senate was going to vote to cut off debate on a huge spending bill, but they had to wait for Senator Joseph Lieberman to show up first.  He was a little late because he is an orthodox Jew, and had to walk to the Senate from home, five miles in near zero weather.  It is against Sabbath law to start or drive a car.  It is kind of ironic that he walked to “work”… he didn’t drive his car but he still showed up at work.
Here’s what Jesus had to say about these “traditions”:
(Mark 7:6-9 NKJV)  He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. {7} And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' {8} "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men; the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do." {9} He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

Jesus saw these traditions straying from the heart and intent of God.

Jesus has healed this man, and they are worried about him carrying his bed.  Amazing.

The heart of legalism loses sight of God’s purposes in the world.
The legalist is always trying for perfection and ends up cutting ties with everyone who isn’t perfect.
(Mat 9:10-13 NKJV)  Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. {11} And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" {12} When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. {13} "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Be careful where your ideas about religion are leading you.

God has a heart to reach out and rescue sinners.  God loves sinners.

:17-23 Honoring the Son

:17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."

:17 working – in both places, the verb used here is present tense:

“My Father is continually working until now, and I am continually working”

When Jesus walked on this earth, He learned complete dependence upon the Father.

Jesus is indeed God and could do anything by Himself.

Yet in His earthly body, Jesus limited Himself, veiling His own glory and power, and learned to allow the Father to do the work in Him.

(John 5:30 NKJV)  "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.
(John 8:28 NKJV)  Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

What Jesus does in answering the Jewish accusations is to point to the fact that God the Father doesn’t stop working on the Sabbath, so neither does He.

Could you imagine what would happen if God didn’t work on Saturdays?

If the Father didn’t work on the Sabbath, how could Jesus have healed this fellow?
Genesis records that God “rested” from His creation activity, but not from all His work.  The principle of the Sabbath was given to us for man’s own needs, not because God actually rests.  Man needs a day of rest, not God.  This is what Jesus meant when He said,
(Mark 2:27 NKJV)  And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

Because of Jesus’ dependence on God, He is saying that it wasn’t Jesus that did the actual work; it was the Father that did the work of healing this man.  The Father didn’t seem to think it inappropriate to heal on the Sabbath.

: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.

brokeluo – to loose any person (or thing) tied or fastened; of a husband and wife joined together by the bond of matrimony; undo, dissolve; to declare unlawful

This is the same word Jesus used when He healed a woman on the Sabbath:

(Luke 13:15-16 NKJV)  The Lord then answered him and said, "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? {16} "So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?"

Jesus was “loosing” Himself from their Sabbath traditions.

:18 equalisos – equal, in quantity or quality (isosceles triangle)

We get our term “isosceles” (like isosceles triangle) from this word, a triangle with two equal sides.

The Jews would not accept this current New Age (Shirley MacLaine) philosophy that “God is within all of us” or that we are all like “God”.

It was a horrendous heresy for a human to consider himself equal with God.

(Isa 44:8 NKJV)  Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.'"
(Isa 45:22 NKJV)  "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

There are some people who claim that Jesus never claimed to be God.

Though Jesus Himself does not claim to be God in this verse, it’s very clear that the Jews thought that He was making Himself out to be God.
That was a very serious accusation, and Jesus knew it.
So why doesn’t Jesus clarify things?  Why doesn’t He say, “Well I didn’t mean to say that I was God”?
Instead, He expands on His idea of God being at work in Him.

: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.

In healing this man on the Sabbath, Jesus was simply walking in His Father’s footsteps.  He watched what God was doing and He did the same thing.  Like Father … like Son.

: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.

lovesphileo – to love; to like; to treat affectionately or kindly

All Jesus has done is watch how the Father works, and then done the same thing.

If you think healing this man was something, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

:21 "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

gives lifezoopoieo – to produce alive; make alive, give life

God the Father can bring the dead back to life:

(Deu 32:39 NKJV)  'Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

Jesus will also bring the dead back to life.

We’ll see this in John 11 when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

(John 11:25-26 NKJV)  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. {26} "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

We like to do our best to ignore death in our culture.  But the truth is that unless Jesus comes back first, we will all one day die.

On Friday we had a memorial service for one of the “kids” in my youth group 30 years ago.  Christy was only 45 years old, she died after a long battle with cancer.

I don’t know what I’d do if it weren’t for this truth –Jesus raises the dead.

Some people get quite confused about Christianity – some people think it’s all about becoming a Republican and learning to picket abortion clinics.

Some of us get sidetracked about all the things that Jesus does for us.

Jesus can do a lot of things for us – He forgives us, He helps us turn from sin, He gives us love, joy, and peace.  He gives us a new family.
But don’t forget the most important thing – He gives us life after we die.

:22 "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

: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.

honortimao – to estimate, fix the value; to honor, to revere

Jesus is saying that He ought to be given the same honor that is given to God.

Doesn’t that sound like someone who claims to be equal with God?

What would you think of someone today who would say this?

What would you think of me if I stood here and said to you, “God judges no one, but has committed all judgment to ME, that all should honor ME just as they honor God.  He who does not honor ME does not honor God who sent ME.”

How does that sound?  Does it sound just a little bit crazy?


Who is He?

Some people like to say that Jesus was just a good guy, a good teacher, and that is all.  He lived a good life and He said some nice things.
But look again at what He is saying here.
Jesus is claiming equal honor with God, making Himself equal with God.
He leaves you only three options:

He is not God, He knows He is not God, but He’s going to tell you that He is God because He wants you to be an idiot and follow Him.

Is this something that a nice person who say or do?


He is not God, but He thinks He is God.

Is this somebody you want to call a “nice guy”?  Should we pay attention to ANYTHING this person would say?


He is exactly what He says He is.  He is God.  He deserves to be honored as God. 

You take Him VERY seriously.  You will one day be judged by Him.

C. S. Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool; you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or, you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Who do you say He is?  Your eternity depends on how you answer that question.