As I have been reading through the chapters of John, I have found it difficult to pick a single topic in each chapter on which to focus my thoughts. Chapter five is packed full of theological teachings…miracles and healings, application of Old Testament law, Jesus as the Son of God (the deity of Christ), and eternal life.
When I read through the story of the cripple man, I sometimes have more questions than answers. I wonder what the other people at the pool thought about Jesus healing that single man and not healing them. Why did Jesus in His grace and mercy choose that man to heal? As I read about Jesus slipping away into the crowd, I wonder why Jesus waited until later to find the man to warn him of the dangers of living a life of sin. Again, I really would like to know if the man turned from His sins and became a follower of Jesus…John doesn’t tell us…booo…
The miracles Jesus performed while He was here on earth were testimonies that pointed to His sonship (John 5:36). Jesus’s miracles were divisive. Some, like Nicodemus, were drawn to Jesus because of the miracles, while others religious leaders were threatened by them.
As I read the response of the religious leaders to the healing of the crippled man, I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 8:1b (NIV): Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. These educated men (the Pharisees) were puffed up with knowledge. A man had been healed after having been crippled for 38 years and instead of rejoicing in the miracle with the man, they were quick to condemn the man for breaking their man-made laws for the Sabbath.
Unfortunately, it is very easy for believers today to be puffed up in their knowledge of the Scriptures. There have been times when I have found myself so caught up in Bible studies and church activities that I was unaware of the miracles taking place in the lives of those outside the church walls.
If I had to pick a key verse in this chapter, I think I would pick verse 24. John 5:24 (NIV) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Eternal life. I often find myself thinking of this as something I will possess in the future. However, this verse makes it clear that eternal life begins here on earth when we choose to become a follower of Christ. When we are ‘born again’, God lives in us and we are infused with His vitality and moral character.
Eternal life includes a fellowship with God and other believers while we live on earth. In the past 12 years I have lived in 4 different states. In every place I have lived, I have been blessed with amazing fellowship with others believers. Even though I have moved away from many dear friends, I find great joy in knowing that one day we will all live together in heaven!
I think that the fifth chapter of John is one of the best chapters in the Bible to turn to when you are seeking a defense for the deity of Christ. Many religions will claim that Jesus was a good man or that he was a prophet, but deny that he was God’s Son. Even some liberal theologians will say that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. These religions and theologians have a difficult time getting around some of the verses in this chapter, John 5:19 (NIV) Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
My friends, Jesus WAS the Son of God and He came to give us eternal life. If you have not found life in Him, I urge you to get on your knees right now and repent of your sins and ask Him to grant you eternal life and then pray for Him to show you what it means to live in eternal life here on earth.
If you possess eternal life, live in a way that is honoring of the One who laid down his life to give you that eternal life. He is worthy .
Grab your journal and answer these questions (or head over to our Facebook group and discuss them)
1. Like the Pharisees added rules to God’s Law for the Sabbath, do you ever find yourself adding ‘rules’ to God’s Word? What is the danger in adding rules that are not backed up by Scripture?
2. In this chapter, Jesus gives a list of witnesses that point to His being the Messiah, the Son of God sent to save the world from sin. Discuss the importance of the witnesses that Jesus presents.