John 5 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

<< John 4 | John 5 | John 6 >>
(Read all of John 5)
5:2 1 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep [market] a a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue b Bethesda, having five porches.

(1) There is no disease so old which Christ cannot heal.
(a) Of which cattle drank, and used to be plunged in, since there was a great abundance of water at Jerusalem.
(b) That is to say, the house of pouring out, because a great abundance of water was poured out into that place.

5:10 2 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry [thy] bed.

(2) True religion is assaulted most cruelly by the pretence of religion itself.

5:17 3 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

(3) The work of God was never the breach of the sabbath, and the works of Christ are the works of the Father, both because they are one God, and also because the Father does not work except in the Son.

5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was c his Father, making himself equal with God.

(c) That is, his alone and no one else's, which they gather from his saying, "And I work", applying this word "work" to himself which properly belongs to God, and therefore makes himself equal to God.

5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing d of himself, but what he e seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son f likewise.

(d) Not only without his Father's authority, but also without his mighty working and power.
(e) This must be understood of the person of Christ, which consists of two natures, and not simply of his Godhead: so then he says that his Father moves and governs him in all things, but yet nonetheless, when he says he works with his Father, he confirms his Godhead.
(f) In like sort, jointly and together. Not because the Father does some things, and then the Son works after him and does the same, but because the might and power of the Father and the Son work equally and jointly together.

5:21 4 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth [them]; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

(4) The Father makes no man partaker of everlasting life except in Christ, in whom alone also he is truly worshipped.

5:22 For the Father g judgeth h no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

(g) This word "judgeth" is taken by the figure of speech synecdoche to represent all governing.
(h) These words are not to be taken as though they simply denied that God governed the world, but rather they deny that he governed as the Jews imagined it, who separate the Father from the Son, whereas indeed, the Father does not govern the world, but only in the person of his Son, being made manifest in the flesh: so he says below in (John 5:30), that he came not to do his own will: that his doctrine is not his own, that the blind man and his parents did not sin (John 7:16; John 9:3), etc.

5:24 5 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

(5) The Father is not worshipped except by his Son's word apprehended by faith, which is the only way that leads to eternal life.

5:25 6 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

(6) We are all dead in sin and cannot be made alive by any other means, except by the word of Christ apprehended by faith.

5:27 And hath given him i authority to execute judgment also, because he is k the Son of man.

(i) That is, high and sovereign power to rule and govern all things, in so much that he has power over life and death.
(k) That is, he will not only judge the world as he is God, but also as he is man, he received this from his Father, to be judge of the world.

5:28 7 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

(7) All will eventually appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged.

5:29 8 And shall come l forth; they that have done good, unto the m resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

(8) Faith and infidelity will be judged by their fruits.
(l) From their graves.
(m) To that resurrection which has everlasting life following it: against which is set the resurrection of condemnation, that is, which is followed by condemnation.

5:30 9 I can n of mine own self do nothing: o as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

(9) The Father is the author and approver of all things which Christ does.
(n) See above in (John 5:22).
(o) As my Father directs me, who dwells in me.

5:31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not p true.

(p) Faithful, that is, worthy to be credited; see (John 8:14).

5:33 10 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

(10) Christ is declared to be the only Saviour by John's voice, and infinite miracles, and by the testimonies of all the prophets. But the world, being addicted to false prophets, and desirous to seem religious, does not see any of these things.

5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for q a season to rejoice in his light.

(q) A little while.

5:42 But I know you, that ye have not the r love of God in you.

(r) Love toward God.

5:45 s Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust.

(s) This denial does not set aside that which is said here, but corrects it, as if Christ said, the most severe accuser the Jews will have is Moses, not him.