John 6:22-35 – How’d He Do That?



The Lord told the apostles to get into the only boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee, while He went into a mountain to pray. When they ran into a storm, He walked across the waves to help them, and they made it safely across (6:15-21). The people left behind knew the apostles left without Him, so when they couldn’t find Him, wondered: “How’d He do that?” (v.22). Since some other boats arrived mean-time (v.23), they took these boats across the sea looking for the Lord (v.24), and asked Him when He had arrived (v.25)

The people didn’t seek Him when they saw “the miracles” (plural), i.e., the miracles of healing (v.1,2). You can live with a lame leg. But you can’t live without food, so when He made bread, they sought to make Him king (6:15).

Since “meat” is food of any kind, the Lord was telling them not to labor for the kind of meat He’d just made (6:27). The meat that endures to everlasting life is a reference to He Himself (cf. 6:55). Normally when you see the word “endureth” (v.27), it is referring to how Trib saints will have to endure to the end of the Tribulation to be saved (Mt.24:13). That’s true, but that’s not what saves them. His endurance saves them (cf.Heb.12:1-3). It’s like how today we have to believe, but our believing doesn’t save us.

If the meat that endureth represents Christ, what’s the meat that perishes represent? Religion! Speaking of the “meat” of Colossians 2:16 (the meat of religion) Paul says it will “perish” with the using (v.22). Buying the stuff that religious hucksters sell is paying for that which is not bread (Isa.55:1,2). You can’t pay for eternal life!

Did you notice they have to “labour” for the “meat” of Christ? (John 6:27). Hebrews get the same rest in Christ we get (Heb.4:1), but they have to “labour” to enter that rest (v.16). But notice Christ says He’ll “give” this meat (John 6:27). Hebrews had to work to be saved, but their works didn’t save them. Salvation was still a gift.

God “sealed” Christ (6:27) at His baptism, when the Spirit

descended on Him, similar to how we are sealed with the Spirit (Eph. 1:13). The difference is, today the believer is sealed. Under the kingdom program, Christ was sealed, and the Hebrews had to abide in Him to be saved (John 15).

Since the Lord had just told them they had to “labour,” they asked what “work” (6:28) they had to do (same Greek word). Notice the Lord doesn’t reply that all they had to do was believe (v.29). If you had asked Him, He would have told you that you still had to be circumcised, baptized, and keep the feasts and bring sacrifices to be saved.

If just anyone asked for a sign (6:30), it wouldn’t be too bad, since Jews require a sign (ICor.1:22). But these peop-le just ate the loaves He multiplied! And they lived in Cap-ernaum, where the Lord did many works (Mt.11:20-24).

They know the Lord is thinking He doesn’t have to show them a sign since He just fed the multitudes with bread, so they start talking about how Moses also fed multitudes with bread (John 6:31). They were saying, “We expect our Messiah to be greater than Moses, and he fed millions of people for forty years. You’ll have to give a better sign!”

The Lord pointed out that Moses didn’t feed them, God did (v.32). Then He called Himself “the true bread.” The earthly tabernacle was a figure or symbol of the true (Heb. 8:1,2), and the manna was a figure of the true bread, Christ.

Just as the manna gave the Jews physical life, Christ gives believers eternal life (John 6:33). And not just to Jews! John has a “world” outlook. Matthew, Mark and Luke focus on the Jews, for the Jews were to be saved first. But then they were to reach the Gentiles, which is why John follows Matthew, Mark and Luke, to symbolize this.

When they asked for this eternal life bread “evermore” (v.34), it shows they missed the symbolism. They thought He was saying the bread He multiplied would give eternal life, so they asked for more. Once you convince religious people salvation is a gift, they then think it is a gift God has to keep giving, and they have to keep on receiving. Not so!

John 6:15-21 – The Man Who Would Not Be King



Some say the Lord didn’t let them make Him king (6:15) because He never meant to be the king of an earthly kingdom. But after a 40-day seminar about the kingdom (Acts 1:1-3), the apostles thought He meant to be the king of a kingdom (v.6), and the Lord didn’t correct them (v.7).

No, the real reason the Lord didn’t let them make him king was because He knew their motive wasn’t right. They wanted to make Him king because He could feed them (cf. 6:1-14)! He also knew the timing wasn’t right. He told a parable (Luke 19:11ff) to indicate He would have to die and go to heaven before He could be king. Of course! God would not admit anyone into the kingdom of heaven unless their sins were paid for!

Had they known their Bible, they would have known their Messiah must be a prophet and a priest before He could be their king. They already knew He was a prophet (6:14), and they wanted to make Him king. But they were forget-ting an office, that of priest! Priests offered sacrifices, and while the Lord was not of the tribe of Levi and so couldn’t offer up animal sacrifices (Heb.7:13:14), He offered up Himself (Heb.7:27), something He had to do if He wanted to fulfill all three offices of prophet, priest and king.

Now in Luke 19, the Lord explained in a parable what had to happen before He could be king. Here in John 6, He acts out what had to happen. A “mountain” (v.15) is a type of a kingdom (cf. Isa.65:25). So when they want to make Him king and He goes into a mountain instead, that’s a picture of how He had to die and go to the mountain of the king-dom of heaven, Mount Zion, before He could be king. Next, He went into the mountain to pray (Mark 6:45,46), and that’s what the Lord will be doing for Israel during the Tribulation (Heb.7:25). He entered the mountain “alone” (John 6:15), just as the Lord as High Priest entered the Heavenly Tabernacle alone. “When even was now come” (6:16), this brought a new day (Gen. 1:5,8,etc.), symbolic of how the day of the Lord would have started had the dispensation of grace not interrupted prophecy. During that time, the apos-tles were to go to “all nations” (Mt.28:19), symbolized here when the disciples went “unto the sea” (Mark 6:45,46), since “the sea” is a symbol for the Gentiles (Isa.60:5).

Since the Lord was the light of the world (John 1:9), when He left, it got “dark” (John 6:17), a type of the Tribulation that was supposed to follow His departure (Amos 5:18-20). During those dark days they will wonder, as did the apostles in John 6, why “Jesus was not come to them” (v.17). More symbolism is seen in the name Capernaum (v.17), which means village of comfort. The apostles were heading for this village in John 6, and Trib saints will be heading for the comfort of the kingdom in the Tribulation.

The source of the “great wind” (v.18) would be “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), who tosses believers around with every wind of doctrine now (Eph. 4:14), and will oppose believers in the Trib as well. When the Lord walked on the water (v.19), they should have known He was God (Job 9:8).

The apostles were “afraid” when they saw the Lord (John 6:19), but they needn’t have been. If they had known Isaiah 43:1,2, as the three Hebrews in Daniel obviously did, they would have been as fearless as they. Both the fire and the water are types of the Tribulation. Just as it takes many different types to fully symbolize the Lord Jesus in all his multi-faceted Person, so it takes more than one type to symbolize the Tribulation.

The apostles couldn’t get to their destination by rowing (John 6:19), it took a miracle on the Lord’s part to get them there (6:21). Similarly, Tribulation saints will not be able to get to the kingdom by their own works, but only by Him.

Finally, the Greek word for “take Him by force” (John 6:15) is used only one other place (IThes.4:17), where it is translated “caught up.” No matter how deeply you may sink your roots in this world, the Lord is going to take you by force to heaven, whether you are ready or not! Let’s be ready!

John 5:39-47 – Searching For Jesus



If the unbelieving Jews who wanted to kill the Lord (5:18) would search the Scriptures for Jesus (5:39) they would find that the Scriptures testified of Him (5:39 cf. Lu. 24:27)

Of course, the things of the mystery are “unsearchable” in Old Testament Scripture (Eph.3:9). The Old Testament Scriptures testified of Christ as Israel’s king, but said nothing of Christ as Head of the Body of Christ.

The reason these unbelieving Jews thought they had eternal life in the Scriptures (5:39) was because they rested in the Law (Rom. 2:17). And the reason they rested in the Law was because they thought they could keep the Law good enough to be saved (Cf. Luke 18:9-14).

Our Calvinist friends believe sinners cannot come to the Lord, but John 5:40 doesn’t say that, it says they would not. But if they would have come, they would have had “life,” i.e., eternal life. And so will you, if you’ll come to Him.

The Lord received not honor from men (v.41) because He didn’t need honor from men, having already received it from His Father at His baptism (Mt.3:17) and later on the holy mount (II Peter 1:16,17). But why not receive honor from men anyway? After all, it couldn’t hurt! Or could it? You wouldn’t want to be honored by the Mafia, and the Lord didn’t want to be honored by sinful men. Had they come, they would have honored Him, but they would not.

When John 5:42 says “ye have not the love of God in you,” this doesn’t mean God didn’t love them, it means they didn’t love God! The Greek word “of” is in the genitive of relation. The only other time in the New Testament we find this is in Luke 11:42, where it says that the unbelieving Jews here passed on the love of God. Well, you know they wouldn’t pass on God’s love for them! They were passing on the idea of loving God! For them to love God would mean giving up their sins and their covetousness. So John 5:42 means they didn’t love God. Too many Scriptures have to be twisted to believe that God doesn’t love them.

What did the Lord mean when He said He came in His Father’s name (John 5:43)? While many things are involved in this, it all boils down to the fact that He came to do the Father’s will (6:38). It wasn’t His will to be born in a stable or die on a cross, but aren’t you glad He said, “Not My will, but Thine be done”?

Of course, there were consequences to doing the Father’s will. Men received Him not because of it (5:43). Why not? He wasn’t the kind of Messiah they were looking for. In looking for a Messiah, men look for a man who gives orders, not takes them! A man like the Antichrist!

Antichrist will come in his own name (5:43). If coming in His Father’s name meant the Lord did His Father’s will, then when Antichrist comes in his own name, it means he will do his own will (cf. Daniel 11:36). Antichrist will be like Satan in this respect. Satan did according to his will, saying “I will” five times (Isa. 14:13,14).

Now how ‘bout you? Do you do your own will, or your Father’s? Are you like the Lord, or more like Satan and the Antichrist? Like Antichrist, you may “prosper” if you do your own will (Dan. 11:36), for the world loves self-willed men. But it will only last until God puts a stop to it at the Rapture. Why not instead learn to sing Have Thine Own Way, Lord and mean it!

Since the Jews honored the kind of man who did his own will, the Lord asked them how they could believe (John 5:44). They trusted in Moses (5:45) when they should have trusted in Christ (cf. Eph. 1:13).

Your whole world is built on trust. You trust the alarm clock to wake you up on time, and your car to get you to work on time. You trust the boss won’t fire you even though you are doing a good job. You trust the police to protect your family, and the military to protect your nation. Now imagine what would happen if all the ones in whom you trust let you down? As chaotic as your life would be, it is nothing compared to the eternal loss you’ll suffer if you continue to trust in the Law instead of Christ to be saved.

John 5:31-38 – Did The Lord Break the Ninth Commandment?



No, He did not bear false witness! His witness was “not true” (v.31) if He was the only witness of Himself (Deut. 19:15). But He had another witness (v.32), and this witness cannot be a mere man, for His witness “is true” all by itself. John speaks here of the Father, who bore witness of Him at His baptism (Mt. 3:17).

After His Father, the Lord next called John the Baptist to the witness stand (John 5:33). The Jews “sent” to John in John 1:19, and he bore witness to the Lord (v.20-29). So now the Lord’s witness count is up to three, fulfilling the fullest extent of the Law (Deut. 19:15).

Before calling His next witness, the Lord adds a puzzling comment about John’s testimony (John 5:34). Why would He not receive testimony from man? Because “all men are liars” (Ps.116:11). But if John was the greatest man ever born (Mt.11:11), why wouldn’t the Lord receive his testimony? Because the best of men are only men at best, and so the testimony of the best of men is the testimony of men at best. Even the best of men had his doubts (Mt.11:2,3), so how much was his testimony really worth?

If the Lord didn’t receive John’s testimony, why did He bring it up? He knew they received the testimony of men, so He brought it up, as He told them, “that ye might be saved” (John 5:34). The Lord wanted even these enemies who wanted to kill Him to be saved (5:18 cf. Rom. 5:18).

Now why would the Lord call John “a shining light” (5:35)? A man’s good works are his light (Mt.5:16), and being the best of men he did more good works than any man. Notice Matthew 5:16 doesn’t say to let your light shine so men see your light. It says let your light shine so men see your good works, defining light as good works. Of course, John’s light was not a burning light like the sun but rather a reflective light like the moon, reflecting the light of the Lord (John 1:9). So why does the Lord call him a “burning” light (Jo.5:35)? You’ve never had a moonburn, but John’s good works burned that hot! Do yours?

The Lord’s enemies (John 5:18) “were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” (v.35). The fact that they came initially to his baptism proves this (Mt.3:1-7). John preached repentance, and men know by nature they need to repent. Of course, the Pharisees didn’t think they had that much of which to repent, and so stopped rejoicing in John when he called them a generation of vipers!

When the Lord announced that His next witness would be “greater” (John 5:36), what witness could be greater than that of the greatest man ever born of women? “The works” or miracles He did, especially the kind of miracles He did. When He said “Peace, be still” to the storm (Mark 4:35-41), for instance. Also, after the Lord walked on water (Jo.6:15-21), “immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” Compare this to how the God of the Old Testament could still storms and bring ships safely to land (Ps.107:23-29)! When the Lord did these things, men should’ve known He was the God of the Old Testament!

But how could the Lord say that the Jews had not heard the Father’s voice “nor seen His shape” (John 5:37)? Hadn’t they heard the Father at His baptism, and seen the Spirit descend on Him “in a bodily shape” (Luke 3:21,22)? Well, there is more than one way to hear God’s voice. In Psalm 95:6-8, the psalmist says “To day, if ye will hear His voice…”, but God hadn’t spoken to Israel since they begged Him not to (Ex.20:19). The psalmist was begging them to hear His voice in the Scriptures.

And so the Lord is saying that while the Jews had studied the Scriptures, they had never heard His voice in the Scriptures, nor seen the shape of Himself that He was trying to portray to them in the Scriptures. That’s why they didn’t recognize the Lord’s voice nor His shape when He appeared to them. Since the Lord had already talked about how the Father had borne witness to Him at His baptism (John 5:32), in Verse 37 He is referring to the witness the Father bore to Him in Scripture! That’s the context. They couldn’t hear the Father’s voice or see His shape in Scripture because, as the Lord told them, “ye have not His word abiding in you” (v.38).

John 5:28-31 – Waking The Dead



Unbelievers “marvel” that the dead will someday rise (5:28 cf. Acts 26:8). The eardrums of the dead may be dead, and even dissolved back to dust, but they will “hear His voice.” Now if the words of God can raise the dead, imagine what they could do if you apply them to the details of your life?

If salvation is “not of works” (Eph. 2:8,9), why does the Lord say “they that have done good” will rise in “the resur-rection of life” (John 5:29)? It is because while we are saved by faith without works, the Jews were saved by faith plus works. Under the Law, the members of the Lord’s family are they that “do the will of God” (Mark 3:35). They had to do things like getting circumcised, keeping the Sabbath and the feasts, and bringing sacrifices. When the kingdom program was added to the Law, they still had to keep the Father’s commandments to be saved (Mt.19:16-19) but they also had to do, as the Lord said, “these sayings of Mine” (Mt.7:24). That included selling all you had (Mt.19:20-23), and forgiving others (Mark 11:25,26 notice the “do”). See the dispensational difference? (Tit. 3:5).

The Lord predicted that Israel would experience two resurrections (John 5:29), something He learned from studying Daniel 12:2. Notice they both mention the resurrection of life first, because it will come first chronologically. But in Revelation 20:1-6, we learn that there will be 1,000 years between them. We know the resurrection of Old Testament saints will come after the Tribulation, for it will include those martyred in the Trib. The resurrection of all the unsaved of all time will come after the millennium (20:11-15).

These resurrections are not to determine who goes to heaven or hell; that must be decided in this life. That’s why the resurrection of life is also called “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14), for they are just or justified before they died, something true of us as well.

Next, when the Lord said, “as I hear, I judge,” He wasn’t talking about hearing what sinners have to say before condemning them on Judgment Day. Isaiah predicted He would not judge after the hearing of the ears (Isa. 11:1-3), but with righteousness (v.4,5). One of the books that will be open at the Great White Throne judgment will be the Bible, containing the Law, God’s perfect standard of righteousness. All will be found guilty at that judgment.

Judges in our courts allow defendants to speak because they don’t know the truth, but God will know the truth from the other books that will be opened, the books of men’s deeds. And He will judge “according to truth” (Rom.2: 1,2), and every mouth will be stopped (Ro. 3:19).

So why does the Lord say He will judge by what He hears (John 5:30)? He meant that He will judge according to what He heard His Father say (cf. 5:19). Before earthly judges hear defendants, they go to law school and hear the law. Before the Lord hears sinners, He’ll hear the Law, and with the books of their deeds opened, He won’t need to hear the lies of sinners.

The Lord knows men will claim His judgment is not fair, so He adds, “and My judgment is just” (5:30). His judgment was just, He says, “because I seek not Mine own will.” It was His Father’s will that He live a perfect life, and He did, so why would it be unjust for Him to judge men? The child of smoking parents might claim his parents are “unjust” if they punish him for smoking, but sinners can’t claim the Lord is unjust when He punishes them for sinning. It was also the Father’s will that the Lord die for our sins, and He replied, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” If you went to court and the judge said, “I served your time, but because you didn’t believe me when I told you I served your time, now you have to serve your time”—would that be unjust? The Lord did more than time for us, He died for us, so it is not unjust for Him to condemn men to eternal death.

This is what is meant when Paul says that the Lord will judge men, as he says, “by my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). Paul’s gospel was “Christ died for our sins” (ICor.15:1-4), and men of all ages will be judged by the fact that provision was made for their sins, and they could have been saved.

John 5:19-27 – Like Father, Like Son



Like any son, the Lord could do whatever He wanted, but because He loved His Father, He said the Son “can do noth-ing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do” (5:19). He’d seen His Father heal on the Sabbath. We know this because the people in John 5:1-4 would not have hung around the pool on the Sabbath if the water never moved on the Sabbath. (The angel didn’t heal by His own power, any more than men do [Acts 3:12]). But having seen the Father heal on the Sabbath, the Son healed too (v.19 cf. 5:17).

A father who loves his son shows him what to do (John 5:20). But how did the Father show the Son “all” things He’d done? He used the Book that chronicles all things He’d done! The Lord wasn’t born knowing the Book, the Father had to show Him all things He’d done in the Book.

The Father had already shown the Son how to do some amazing things, but He was about to show Him “greater works” (v.20). What could be greater than healing a man who was impotent for 38 years? How about raising the dead? We know this is what He was hinting at, because He mentions it in the next verse (v.21). In the OT, God healed people through Elijah and Elisha, and the Son also quickened “whom He will.” Why not raise everyone from the dead? Well, remember how He chose to heal just one of the multitude at the pool, because his 38 years was symbolic of Israel, and so the miracle had teaching value? Similarly, the ones He raised from the dead had teaching value, so He “quickeneth whom he will.” But don’t worry about all He didn’t raise, He has a plan to raise all men!

While raising everyone from the dead sounds like a good thing, it must be remembered why He plans to raise them—to judge them (v.22). Why did the Father commit all judgment to the Son? So all men would honor the Son as they honored the Father (v.23). What has honor to do with judgment? When Pharaoh refused to honor God, God determined to get honor on him (Ex.14:1,17,18). Ever wonder why a judge is called “Your Honor”? When a country dishonors another nation’s ambassador, they dishonor the nation that sent him, and when men dishonor the Son, they dishonor the Father who sent Him (John 5:23). The way to honor the Lord now, before honoring him unwillingly on Judgment Day, is to believe on Him (v.24). Since He and the Father were “one” (John 10:30), people who “heareth My word,” He said, “believeth on Him that sent me.”

He that believeth doesn’t just hope he can get everlasting life someday when he dies, he “hath” it right now (5:24), as a present possession, even these kingdom saints. And the believer “shall not come into condemnation.” Those words “shall not come into” are used in Numbers 14:30, when God told that sinful generation they would not come into the Promised Land, and they didn’t. Those words are also used in II Kings 19:32-34, where God vows that Sennecherib would not come into Jerusalem, and he didn’t (v.35-37). So when God says the believer “shall not come into condemnation,” you can take it to the bank!

The same can be said for when it says we’ve already “passed” from death to life (5:24). Hebrews 4:14 says the Lord “passed” into heaven. If you accept that, you must al-so accept you have passed from death to life upon believing

“The hour is coming” when the dead will hear the Lord’s voice (John 5:25 cf. 28,29), but the Lord said the hour also “now is” (5:25). He was referring to how the spiritually dead (Eph.2:1,5) can hear His voice and believe. Some say unbelievers are too dead to hear the gospel, but Adam was able to hear and understand God’s words just fine after he sinned and died in the day he ate the fruit (Gen.2:17).

“As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26 cf. I Cor. 15:45).

Another reason why God committed all judgment to the Son is “because He is the Son of man.” Men could complain to the Father, “You don’t know what it was like being tempted [James 1:13], it was pretty hard!” They could say that to the Father, but not to the Son.

John 5:9-18 – The Sabbath Police



Carrying your bed on the Sabbath (John 5:10) seems to be an infraction of the 4th commandment, but Jeremiah 17:22 says you couldn’t leave home carrying a burden, and Verse 21 says you couldn’t carry a burden to the gates of the city. Burdens were carried to the gates for business and commerce (Neh.13:15-19). So the man carrying his bed wasn’t guilty of breaking the Sabbath, and the Lord wasn’t guilty of telling a man to break the Law of Moses.

Of course, there was nothing wrong with being a member of the Sabbath Police, for Nehemiah himself was a member (Neh.13:20,21). As long as you were enforcing the Sab-bath and not man-made rules about the Sabbath!

The impotent man didn’t explain who he was, so the Sabbath Police must have known that he’d been healed after 38 years as an invalid. Thus they should have asked who healed him, instead of giving him grief for carrying his bed. But Sabbath Police then as now are only interested in religion, their distorted perception of the Sabbath.

Before the impotent man could get His name, the Lord disappeared in a crowd (John 5:13), and the first place the man went after being healed was to church (5:14)! The Lord told him that he’d been “made whole,” but we know this doesn’t mean he was saved, because the daughter in Matthew 15:28 was also “made whole” because of the faith of her mother. You can get healed by the faith of another, but you can’t get saved! When Acts 16:31 ends with “and thy house,” it means if they believe too!

Last week we saw that this man’s 38 years of impotence was a type of Israel’s 38 year test in the wilderness (Deut.2:14). And since a 41 year old is healed in Acts 4:22, the three years between these miracles was a type of the testing Israel was enduring during the Lord’s 3 year ministry. So when the Lord told the man to “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14), this was a picture of Israel. If they failed the test of the Lord’s 3 year ministry, a worse thing would come on them.

Once the impotent man told the Sabbath Police that the Lord had healed him (John 5:15), they had a new target (v.16). But was it a sin to heal on the Sabbath?

In Matthew 12:1-4, the Lord was accused of breaking the Sabbath, but pointed out from the example of David that it is not breaking the Sabbath if you are breaking it to show mercy to yourself and eat. Of course, if David had been on the throne where he belonged, he wouldn’t be eating shew-bread, and if the Lord were on the throne where He be-longed, he wouldn’t be eating field corn! The Lord then pointed out that priests work on the Sabbath (v.5,6), and argued from the prophet Hosea (v.7) that not only are peo-ple more important than the sabbath, they are more impor-tant than sacrifices. He closes his case by arguing He hadn’t broken the Sabbath, but could have if he wanted (v.8), and then pointed out that they themselves believed animals were more important than the Sabbath (v.9-14).

It is interesting that He advances these arguments from a king, a priest and a prophet, for Matthew presents Christ as a king who was all three. Since Mark presents Christ as a servant, he adds the detail that the Sabbath was meant to serve man, not the other way around (2:27). Luke adds the detail that even the Sabbath Police water their animals on the Sabbath (13:14-17) because Luke presents Christ as a man, and when men were given dominion over animals, an obligation to care for them came with this dominion.

But John presents Christ as God, and so in John 5:17, the Lord answers “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Since God the Father never takes a day off from saving souls when they believe, the Lord says He too could work on the Sabbath if He cared to.

When did the Lord claim to be “equal with God” (5:18)? When He called God “My” Father instead of “our” Father. Many today say that He never claimed to be God, that His disciples simply misunderstood Him. But even His enemies understood exactly what He was saying, and wanted to kill Him for it (5:17).

John 5:1-9 – Jesus Is The Bridge Over Troubled Waters



Before being accused of being a law breaker (5:16) Jesus established He was a law keeper by keeping the feast (5:1).

People go “up” to Jerusalem because it was a city on a hill (Mt.5:14), but also because it was where God lived, and when you approach God you are going up, symbolically, and when you run from Him you are going down(Jon.1:3-5)

Since the context has the Lord going to Jerusalem for a feast, we know the “sheep market” (5:2) is part of the tem-ple, a place to buy sheep for sacrifices, the place the Lord cleansed when He evicted the moneychangers. “Bethesda” means house of mercy, a fit name for the temple. The “porches” are described as part of the temple (I Kings 7).

Notice John says the pool “is” at Jerusalem, meaning these areas of the temple had not yet been destroyed, so John wrote this before 70 AD, not 90 AD as everyone thinks. Why is that significant? When John’s writings contradict Paul’s, some might think that since John’s writings were written last we should follow them, much as the latest word from a commander in the military are the most significant, especially when they contradict earlier instructions.

We know John wrote his gospel after he wrote Revelation, for the angel told John he would have to prophesy again after writing Revelation before many peoples, nations, tongues and kings (Rev.10:11). Since Revelation is a book of “prophesy” (1:3), John is being told he would have to prophesy again by writing another book of the Bible, his gospel, a gospel that has a world outlook. The word “world” appears 80 times in John (only 33 times in the other gospels put together). God intended to reach the world through Israel, a world full of peoples, nations, tongues and kings. So Revelation was written before John

In I Corinthians 15:8, Paul says he was the last to see the Lord after His resurrection, meaning the vision John had of Him in Revelation 1 came after the revelations given to Paul. So if you are going to go by who saw the Lord last, you need to follow Paul. But as a Gentile, you should follow Paul because he is your apostle (Rom.11:13).

The “impotent” folk in John 5:3 were a type of the nation of Israel, “blind” and powerless to enter the kingdom. They were “withered” because they threatened God’s prophets, like when Jeroboam threatened a prophet and God withered his hand (IKi.13:4). These folks should have been “waiting” for the Messiah to come and heal them, but instead they were waiting for the angel to stir the water (v.4). New versions omit this verse, but it is part of the Received Text. This verse is similar to II Samuel 5:22-25.

You can see yourself in a “pool” (John 5:4), so it is a type of the Law (Jas.1:22-25), a law given by angels (Acts 7:53) Men getting healed singly by the law was a type of how under the Law men were saved one at a time, but in the kingdom “all Israel” shall be saved all at once (Rom.11: 26). That’s what they should have been looking to for healing, not the pool that symbolized the Law! Nothing changed over the previous 700 years (cf. Isaiah 22:9-11).

The Lord chose “a certain man” to be healed—not because of sovereign election, but because he was afflicted 38 years (Jo.5:5). 38 years was part of Israel’s wilderness wander-ings (De.2:14), and the full forty years was a period of testing, for forty is the number of testing. Moses was on Sinai forty days, and the spies went out 40 days. All failed. Nineveh was also tested 40 days and passed (Jonah 3:4), as did the Lord (Mark 1:13). The impotent man was healed at the beginning of the Lord’s ministry, and the lame man in Acts 3 was healed at the end of it. This lame man was “above forty years old” (Acts 4:22), or 41. The difference between 38 and 41 is symbolic of the Lord’s three years ministry, a period of testing for Israel. A test they failed.

You wouldn’t think the Lord would have to ask if the man wanted to be made whole (John 5:6), but beggars who didn’t want to work preferred the bigger alms crippled men received. The Lord didn’t just enable him to get in the water first, but healed him, a type of Israel someday being saved apart from the Law, rather than through it.

John 4:43-54 – What Was He Thinking?



The Lord decided to leave a place where “many” and “many more” were believing on Him to go to Galilee, a place where they didn’t honor Him, and probably wouldn’t believe on Him (John 4:40-44). What was He thinking?

Well, in Matthew 4:12-16 we learn that it was predicted that His light would shine in Galilee, and the Lord was a man of the Book. How about you? Philippians 2:15 says that your light should shine in the world. Are you a man or woman of the Book?

The Lord did many miracles at Jerusalem (John 2:23), causing the Jews from Galilee who were there to see them to believe (4:45). Of course, the Samaritans believed without seeing any miracles (4:42), because only “the Jews require a sign” (ICor.1:22).

The “nobleman” (John 4:46) was symbolic of Christ (Luke 19:11-13), and so the healing of the nobleman was a type of the healing of the Lord’s son, Israel (cf. Ex. 4:22). If you want to know when Israel will be healed, we are given a clue when we learn that just like the turning of water to wine, this was a third day miracle (John 2:1; 4:43). Since the Lord rose from the dead on the third day, it is symbolic of resurrection. When Israel is raised from the dead as a nation, there will be joy (symbolized by the wine) and healing. Just as at the Rapture the dead will rise and the living will be healed, so it will be when Israel is raised to go into the kingdom.

Capernaum (John 4:46) was 15-25 miles from the Lord, but the nobleman made the trip to seek the Lord. This is one reason why the Lord allows children to be sick, so that they and others will seek the Lord. You may not agree with the policy that eternal life is more important than physical life, but you will a thousand years from now, when we can see things from an eternal perspective, as God does.

The nobleman thought the Lord had to “come down” (4:47,49) to heal his son. What a commentary on our prayer life! The Lord tells us to make our “requests” known to Him, not our instructions (Phil.4:6). We must not presume to tell Him how to help us, as did this nobleman.

If the Jews require a sign, why did the Lord give the nobleman grief for seeking one (John 4:48)? After all, God taught the nation to look for signs like healing and the ability to take up serpents (Ex.4:1-9). But the Lord should not have had to give Israel these signs. He had told Israel they would get out of bondage in 400 years (Gen.15:13,14). Even back then, signs are for people who won’t believe God’s Word (ICor.14:22). Likewise the nobleman had a prediction from Daniel 9 that Messiah was due in his lifetime, and so shouldn’t have needed a sign to prove that this miracle-worker was Christ. That’s why the Lord was giving him grief for seeking a sign.

As it was, the nobleman believed the Lord could heal a sick child, but didn’t believe He could raise a dead child (4:49).

Healing this Jewish man’s son from afar (4:50) was unusual, since that is usually how the Lord healed Gentiles (Mt. 8:5-13; 15:21-28). This is symbolic of how when God was dealing with Israel, the Gentiles were “afar off” (Eph.2:17). But the healing of the nobleman’s son was a type of the healing that Israel will receive at the beginning of the kingdom. The Lord will do this all at once from afar, as at the Rapture.

When the nobleman learned from his servants that his son had been healed the previous day at 1 p.m. (4:51-53), it tells us he has now come to believe and trust the Lord. A man can walk 3 miles per hour, so it was only an 8 hour trip home at most. He could have been home by 9 p.m., but the next day his servants met him halfway, showing he was in no hurry to get home, as he would have been had he not believed the Lord had healed his son.

If you are looking for a sign before you believe, the Lord has already given enough signs in the Bible, and no sign will be given you (Mt. 12:39). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Berean Searchlight – December 2015

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