Study Guide

Gospel of John Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

Jesus Heals a Sick Man at the Pool

  • Next up, Jesus and his disciples head back to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals.
  • Jesus visits the Pool of Bethesda while he's there.
  • Helpful historical note: This was just one of several pools around Jerusalem where sick people would gather hoping to be healed. They were kind of like day spas specializing in miracles.
  • One of the people there has been sick for a very long time; thirty-eight years to be exact.
  • Jesus sees him lying next to the pool and asks if he wants to be well again. Um… yes?
  • But the man doesn't have anyone to help him get into the pool to take advantage of the healing waters. Whenever he tries to get down there, other people just push him out of the way. Not cool.
  • Jesus tells him all he needs to do is stand up, grab the mat he's been lying on, and walk away.
  • And this is exactly what the man does. 
  • Touchdown. Another miracle.

The Legal Eagles Try to Trip Up Jesus

  • The religious authorities are not amused. It's the Sabbath, a day of rest during the Jewish week, and people aren't supposed to be doing any work at all. That includes carrying mats. Call the authorities! A mat!
  • The man tells them that he was just healed by a really nice guy who told him it was okay to pick up his mat and start walking. So it's cool, right?
  • Nope. The religious authorities are horrified and demand to know who exactly this healer is who instructs people to disobey the Sabbath.
    This is not looking good for Jesus.
  • But the man can't identify Jesus because he has disappeared into the crowd of people. Lucky break.
  • Later, Jesus runs into the formerly sick man, who rats him out to the religious authorities. A simple "thank you" would have sufficed.
  • The religious authorities start to verbally attack Jesus, asking why he would be doing work on the Sabbath. This is turning into Law & Order: CE.
  • But Jesus replies that, since God is working on the Sabbath, he will, too. He calls God his "Father." Take that, legal eagles.
  • These words make the religious authorities even more outraged. First he works on the Sabbath and now he's calling God "Father"? This guy is cruisin' for a bruisin'. Enough is enough. 
  • Now they want Jesus dead.

Jesus Lays the Smack Down

  • Now the gloves are off, and Jesus begins to tell it like it is.
  • He explains to the religious authorities that he can't do anything that hasn't been okayed by God. More info from Jesus: God loves his son and tells him everything he knows so that the son can astonish people with all his good works.
  • God isn't going to be pleased with the people who don't accept Jesus; if you don't accept Jesus, you aren't being faithful to God. We're looking at you, religious authorities.
  • He criticizes the religious authorities for searching through the Bible to try to find the secret to eternal life, but still refusing to believe in Jesus who is standing right in front of them. Oh, snap.
  • Then Jesus tells them that they don't really love God at all. Them's fightin' words.

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