John 5:1-13 Sometime after the events of Chapter 4, there was another feast (not mentioned) or Jewish celebration, so Jesus returns to Jerusalem for the celebration. This pool by the Sheep Gate was believed by many to have healing powers. People who needed healing hung around the pool. When the waters in the pool stirred, the first one in was said to receive a healing. As one invalid sat and waited (38 years “Most people in Jesus time live no more than 50 years), Jesus simply said to him, “You are healed, get up, pick up the bedroll you are lying on, and go home.” Problem? Jesus commanded the man to ‘work’ on the Sabbath day (A day of rest when one does no work, a law given to the Jews by Moses). The Jewish leaders had so muddled up the original rules about the Sabbath day, that even carrying your bedroll home was considered a violation and a sin. The Jewish leaders questioned the man, and the man said, “The man who healed me told me to do this”. He did not remember who the man was.
John 5:14-18 Later on, Jesus and the man he healed bumped into each other. Jesus told the man to sin no more so that nothing worse would happen to him. Apparently, Jesus knew that the man’s crippled condition was a direct result from some sin in the man’s life. Seeing Jesus again, the man returned to the Jewish leaders and told them that it was Jesus who healed him and told him to pick up his bedroll and go home. The Jewish leaders persecuted Jesus for doing these things on the Sabbath. Instead of getting into a heated debate on what is and what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath, Jesus simply said, “My father works, so I work.” Among other reasons, these violations about the Sabbath and Jesus making Himself to be equal with God (Calling God His own Father), caused the Jewish leaders to want to kill him.
John 5:19-29 Jesus says He does nothing on His own, but does whatever the Father tells Him to do or whatever He sees the Father doing. The Father raises the dead, so shall the Son raise the dead. The Father hands over all judgment to Jesus so that Jesus may be honored. If you do not honor Jesus, then you do not honor the Father. All who believe that Jesus is the Son and that the Father has granted Jesus this position of honor will have Eternal Life. Even at that very moment Jesus was speaking, the current spiritually dead person, if he hears Jesus’ voice and obeys, is resurrected spiritually and set free. At the end time, Jesus will call all those who are dead to come forth to a physical resurrection, some to Eternal Life and some to Eternal damnation, for the Father has given Jesus the authority over Life and Death.
Notes: All these statements show that Jesus is God and if God, He is to be honored and worshipped.
John 5:30-43 Jesus always does His Father’s will not His own will. The Father bears witness to Jesus. John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus is the Son of Man or Son of God. Jesus’ testimony about the Father is greater than that which John the Baptist witnessed to, for the Father has given Jesus greater works and signs to perform to authenticate Himself to the world that the Father has sent Him, the promised Messiah. If you do not believe that Jesus is sent from the Father as His Son and Messiah, no matter how much you believe in God or do good things, it amounts to nothing. The Jews came up with their own system of what they thought gave them Eternal Life by searching and interpreting the scriptures their own way. Jesus said that the very scriptures point to Himself as the One who gives Eternal Life, and if they refuse to believe in Him, they will never receive Life. So, why won’t they come to Jesus? Because deep down inside they do not love God, but their sin.
Notes: People who (like Jesus’ Jewish opponents) read the OT without seeing that it all points to Jesus, fail to understand its message. The study of Scripture does not by itself impart life. The Scriptures rather bear witness to the One who gives life, namely, Jesus. Consequently, the study of the Bible ought to result in genuine faith in Jesus, followed by obedient action and transformed lives, not merely acquisition of Bible knowledge.
John 5:43-44 One reason people fail to believe is that they long for the approval and favor of others instead of seeking the approval and favor of God.
John 5:45-47 Jesus said that He does not even have to accuse them of their unbelief to His father, for Moses has already done so. Moses talked about the coming of the Messiah as the source of Eternal Life. If they believed EVERYTHING Moses said, then they would believe Jesus is who He says He is. The bottom line is if the Jews will not believe in the Old Testament scriptures that talk about the coming of the Messiah and how they are to respond to Him, they certainly will not believe when the Messiah actually comes and speaks the very words spoken of by Moses.
Summary: Herein Jesus makes five claims to equality with God: 1) he is equal with God in his person (vv. 17–18); 2) he is equal with God in his works (vv. 19–20); 3) he is equal with God in his power and sovereignty (v. 21); 4) he is equal with God in his judgment (v. 22); and 5) he is equal with God in his honor (v. 23).