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.(24-47)1-9 We are all by nature impotent folk in spiritual things,blind, halt, and withered; but full provision is made for ourcure, if we attend to it. An angel went down, and troubled thewater; and what disease soever it was, this water cured it, butonly he that first stepped in had benefit. This teaches us to becareful, that we let not a season slip which may never return.The man had lost the use of his limbs thirty-eight years. Shallwe, who perhaps for many years have scarcely known what it hasbeen to be a day sick, complain of one wearisome night, whenmany others, better than we, have scarcely known what it hasbeen to be a day well? Christ singled this one out from therest. Those long in affliction, may comfort themselves that Godkeeps account how long. Observe, this man speaks of theunkindness of those about him, without any peevish reflections.As we should be thankful, so we should be patient. Our LordJesus cures him, though he neither asked nor thought of it.Arise, and walk. God's command, Turn and live; Make ye a newheart; no more supposes power in us without the grace of God,his distinguishing grace, than this command supposed such powerin the impotent man: it was by the power of Christ, and he musthave all the glory. What a joyful surprise to the poor cripple,to find himself of a sudden so easy, so strong, so able to helphimself! The proof of spiritual cure, is our rising and walking.Has Christ healed our spiritual diseases, let us go wherever hesends us, and take up whatever he lays upon us; and walk beforehim. 10-16 Those eased of the punishment of sin, are in danger ofreturning to sin, when the terror and restraint are over, unlessDivine grace dries up the fountain. The misery believers aremade whole from, warns us to sin no more, having felt the smartof sin. This is the voice of every providence, Go, and sin nomore. Christ saw it necessary to give this caution; for it iscommon for people, when sick, to promise much; when newlyrecovered, to perform only something; but after awhile to forgetall. Christ spoke of the wrath to come, which is beyond compareworse than the many hours, nay, weeks and years of pain, somewicked men have to suffer in consequence of their unlawfulindulgences. And if such afflictions are severe, how dreadfulwill be the everlasting punishment of the wicked! 17-23 The Divine power of the miracle proved Jesus to be theSon of God, and he declared that he worked with, and like untohis Father, as he saw good. These ancient enemies of Christunderstood him, and became more violent, charging him not onlywith sabbath-breaking, but blasphemy, in calling God his ownFather, and making himself equal with God. But all things now,and at the final judgment, are committed to the Son, purposelythat all men might honour the Son, as they honour the Father;and every one who does not thus honour the Son, whatever he maythink or pretend, does not honour the Father who sent him. 24-29 Our Lord declared his authority and character, as theMessiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice,as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to hisraising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by thepower of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in theirgraves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised byone who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believeHis testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and weshall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach thehearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet forrepentance, and prepare for the solemn day. 30-38 Our Lord returns to his declaration of the entireagreement between the Father and the Son, and declared himselfthe Son of God. He had higher testimony than that of John; hisworks bore witness to all he had said. But the Divine word hadno abiding-place in their hearts, as they refused to believe inHim 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, stillproclaims that this is the beloved Son, in whom the Father iswell pleased. But when the hearts of men are full of pride,ambition, and the love of the world, there is no room for theword of God to abide in them. 39-44 The Jews considered that eternal life was revealed tothem in their Scriptures, and that they had it, because they hadthe word of God in their hands. Jesus urged them to search thoseScriptures with more diligence and attention. "Ye do search theScriptures," and ye do well to do so. They did indeed search theScriptures, but it was with a view to their own glory. It ispossible for men to be very studious in the letter of theScriptures, yet to be strangers to its power. Or, "Search theScriptures," and so it was spoken to them in the nature of anappeal. Ye profess to receive and believe the Scripture, letthat be the judge. It is spoken to us as advising or commandingall Christians to search the Scriptures. Not only read them, andhear them, but search them; which denotes diligence in examiningand studying them. We must search the Scriptures for heaven asour great end; For in them ye think ye have eternal life. Wemust search the Scriptures for Christ, as the new and livingWay, that leads to this end. To this testimony Christ addsreproofs of their unbelief and wickedness; their neglect of himand his doctrine. Also he reproves their want of the love ofGod. But there is life with Jesus Christ for poor souls. Manywho make a great profession of religion, yet show they want thelove of God, by their neglect of Christ and contempt of hiscommandments. It is the love of God in us, the love that is aliving, active principle in the heart, which God will accept.They slighted and undervalued Christ, because they admired andovervalued themselves. How can those believe, who make thepraise and applause of men their idol! When Christ and hisfollowers are men wondered at, how can those believe, the utmostof whose ambition is to make a fair show in the flesh! 45-47 Many trust in some form of doctrines or some parties, whono more enter into the real meaning of those doctrines, or theviews of the persons whose names they bear, than the Jews didinto those of Moses. Let us search and pray over the Scriptures,as intent on finding eternal life; let us observe how Christ isthe great subject of them, and daily apply to him for the lifehe bestows.
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