John 5

* The cure at the pool of Bethesda. (1-9) The Jews' displeasure.

(10-16) Christ reproves the Jews. (17-23) Christ's discourse.


1-9 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

10-16 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!
17-23 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.
24-29 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.
30-38 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.
39-44 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!
45-47 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.

Copyright information for MHCC