The Ministry of the Messiah, 2:1-12:50

3. Jesus the giver of life, 5:1-47

i] A Sabbath sign - a lame man healed


Jesus has left Galilee to attend a festival in Jerusalem and while there he comes across a cripple laying beside a pool which the locals believe has healing powers; in Aramaic it is called Bethesda. After assessing the cripple's predicament, Jesus says to him "Get up, take up your bed and walk." The man is healed, but because it is the Sabbath he gets into trouble from the religious authorities for breaking the Sabbath law by carrying his bed-matting. When quizzed, he can't identify who told him to do it, but later, when Jesus reminds him to strive to sin no more, he is able to report that it was Jesus who told him what to do. Confronted by the religious authorities, Jesus defends himself, but this only fires up their anger.


The purpose of the Law is realized in the saving grace of Christ, which work is the Father's work.


i] Context: See 2:10-18. In Dodd's thematic arrangement of the gospel, the second sign, The Life-giving Word is introduced by two miracles, The Healing of the Official's Son, 4:43-54, and The Sabbath Healing of a Lame Man, 5:1-15. Dodd suggests that "both narratives tell how the word of Christ gave life to those who were as good as dead (Beasley-Murray argues that the first miracle is transitional, serving to introduce the rest of the section)." The second miracle develops into a discourse covering the rest of the chapter. Beasley-Murray maintains Dodd's division, but provides his own thematic title for the discourse, Jesus, the Mediator of Life and Judgment. Carson, who represents those commentators who give more weight to the movement of the narrative, see this Sabbath healing as the first example of a growing opposition to the ministry of Jesus recorded in 5:1-7:52 - "the shift from mere reservation and hesitation about Jesus to outright and sometimes official opposition." Klink suggests that the section extends to 8:11 and titles it The Confession of the Son of God. Thompson goes further and opts for 12:50 as the conclusion of this the second main section of the gospel, titling it The Life-Giving Son of God.

In the passage before us we enter a new phase in Jesus public ministry. In the first narrative cycle, Jesus Ministers from Cana to Cana, 2:1-4:54, Jesus is ministering in conjunction with John the Baptist, the one appointed to prepare the way of the coming messiah. Now in the second narrative cycle, Jesus Ministers from Jerusalem to Jerusalem, 5:1-10:42, Jesus presents his messianic credentials to God's people Israel - as it turns out, they are God's unbelieving people, Israel. This messianic ministry is reinforced by a number of significant signs, with particular weight given to the Exodus sign of manna in the wilderness.

In this third episode in Jesus public messianic ministry, Jesus the Giver of Life, 5:1-47, we are reminded that "the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it." Taking chapter 5 as a thematic unit in its own right, we probably can't go past Hoskyns analysis. He argues that John confronts us in this chapter with the truth that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish law and the Jewish scriptures. Chapter 5 serves as a classic example of the literary episodes in the first part of John's main argument, 2:1-12:50: illustration, dialogue and then discourse. Leaving aside the plethora of critical debating points (What parts of the gospel are editorial additions? Were the illustrative events / signs originally linked to the discourses / homilies, or were they drawn from a separate source and editorially attached? In the discourse, is John channeling the mind of Christ, or recording the actual words of Christ? ....), the chapter presents as follows:

Illustration / significant event / sign / miracle, v2-9a;

The grace offered by Christ supersedes / fulfills God's Law;

Dialogue, v9b-18 - the relationship of Jesus' actions with the will of God;

How can Jesus be the messiah if he ignores God's Law?

Discourse, v19-47:

Part I, v19-30:

Jesus has divine authority, v19-24:

to bless = the gift of grace / life;

to curse = the exercise of divine judgment.

The day is at hand when Jesus will exercise this authority, v25-30;

Part II, v31-47: The present realization of this authority is evident in Jesus' ministry.


ii] Background: Sabbath Law and the traditions of men. The Mosaic commandment prohibited work on the Sabbath, cf., Ex.20:10. This was later defined to include carrying things on holy days; "Bear no burden on the Sabbath day", Jer.17:21, cf., Neh.13:19. Jewish pietists, concluding that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians was a direct result of a failure to keep the Mosaic Law, applied themselves to documenting what was, and was not, permissible under the Law of God. By the first century the Pharisees had laid down a detailed minutia of regulations which supposedly allowed a Godly person to keep the Law in its entirety for the full appropriation of the blessings of the covenant. It was this thinking that allowed a young man to respond to Jesus summary of the Law by saying "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth", Mk.10:20. When it came to work on the Sabbath, Pharisaic minutia included regulations on such things as harvesting, an issue that got the disciples into hot water when they plucked grain on the Sabbath, Matt.12:1-7.

Addressing the charge leveled against his disciples, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, Mk.2:27. The Ioudaioi, "Jews" = religious authorities / Pharisees, should have applied a similar reasoning to the healing of the sick / disabled man by the "sheep pool", rejoicing with joy at his healing rather than picking on him for breaking one of their "human traditions", ie., their traditional interpretations of the Law, cf., Mk.7:8. (Note the Mishnah: Sabbath regulations 7:2 prohibits the taking of something from one domain into another on the Sabbath, although 10:5 allows transport on a couch for an invalid on an errand, ...... and so on.) "A person is justified by faith apart from works of the law", Rom.3:28.


iii] Structure: A Sabbath sign - a lame man healed:

Setting - Jesus returns to Jerusalem, v1;

The miracle, v2- 9a;

Setting - the sick at the pool called Bethesda, v2-5;

Healing - the lame man walks, v6-9a;

"Pick up your mat and walk."

The Sabbath controversy, v9b-18:

The healed man is challenged for breaking the law, v9b-13;

Jesus reminds the lame man to sin no more, 14-15;

Jesus is challenged for breaking the law, v16-18;

"My Father is always at his work to this day, and I too am working."


iv] Interpretation:

With another miracle story, v2-9a, this time the healing of a lame man on the Sabbath, John draws us into a dialogue concerning the relationship of Jesus with the Father, or more specifically, his actions in relation to the will of God, v9b-18.

In this episode we are again confronted with a miracle story which does not overtly fit with the associated discourse. This prompts a range of spiritualized interpretations which assume that in this miracle we have another example of Johannine irony (The water can't heal the lame man = the law can't save - but Jesus can; the five porticoes = the five books of Moses; .......), but again it is likely that the weight of this episode is not upon the miracle / sign, but on the discourse. The narrative simply sets the context from which the discourse evolves; the miracle is more an illustration for a homily than a foundational text. In the performance of the miracle Jesus applies his saving grace independent / apart from the Law.

The narrative is riddled with humor because it is not the performance of the miracle on the Sabbath that prompts a reaction from the religious authorities, but the fact that Jesus told the cripple to pick up his stretcher and go home. I mean really! How could the Messiah so blatantly disregard the Sabbath Law? The dialogue goes on to develop the absurdity of the charge made against Jesus. Jesus defends his messianic credentials by pointing out that the Father's saving grace is always operative and so he also works as his Father works (which work fulfills the purpose of the law - despite technical infringements). "Jesus defends his action not by discussing the law but by placing himself and his work on the same level as God", Barrett. Breaking Sabbath law is one thing, but claiming equal status with God ("my Father is working ... and I am working") is another. Only a rebellious son makes himself equal with his father. In the following discourse Jesus will argue that he is no rebel, but rather that he is an obedient son.


Note the affinity between the subject matter here and the material in 7:15-24. This has led to the argument that chapter 5 is misplaced. The suggested order is 4, 6, 5 and 7, so Bernard, contra Barrett, etc.


v] Synoptics:

Similarities with Mark's account of the healing of the paralyzed man have been noted, particularly in wording, cf., Mk.2:8-9, 11-12a, 14. It is very unlikely than an editor, in assembling John's homilies, uses his own geographical knowledge of Jerusalem and the synoptic account of the healing of the paralyzed man, to create a fabricated miracle story. It is more likely that he is drawing on his own particular source of gospel traditions. During oral transmission, there is evidence of conflation, particularly of the words of Jesus, such that similarities develop between the accounts of different miracle stories. Even so, it is not unreasonable to ascribe this miracle story to the Johannine tradition available to the author-editor of John's gospel. In fact, there is no reason why the miracle story wasn't always linked to this homily / discourse.

Note that the synoptic theme of The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath is not evident in this Johannine episode, even though some commentators read the theme into it, cf., Hunter, Richardson, ....

Text - 5:1

A Sabbath sign - a lame man healed, 5:1-18. i] The setting. Jesus leaves Galilee and again visits Jerusalem for one of the festivals. Some texts have the article, "The feast of the Jews", in which case it would be the Passover, or Pentecost, or possibly Tabernacles, so Barrett. A minor festival is implied without the article.

meta + acc. "Some time later" - after [these things]. Temporal use of the preposition, with the phrase "after these things" primarily serving a transitional function; "soon after / later."

anebh (anabainw) aor. "[Jesus] went up" - Geographically, Jerusalem is high up in the ranges and so a person goes up to Jerusalem (In Australia, when we go up to somewhere we go North - we do try to be difficult; its our convict genes. Aboriginal genes have helped, but not enough!)

twn Ioudaiwn adj. "one of the Jewish [festivals]" - [a feast] of the jews [was and jesus went up to jerusalem]. The articular adjective serves as a substantive, the genitive being adjectival, probably possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic, as NIV, if we read eJorth, "feast", as anarthrous (without an article).


ii] The miracle, v2-9a: John briefly describes the healing of the asqenwn, literally the "weak man." Some facts are provided but unlike the record of the healing of the lame man in Acts 3:1-10, John moves quickly to the issue at hand. In healing the man, Jesus tells him to take up his bed and get about walking - head off home. The instruction to pick up his bedroll lands the asqenwn in serious trouble, trouble which bounces back onto Jesus.

de "Now" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

estin (eimi) pres. "there is" - [a pool] is. Historic present tense used to signal narrative transition rather than to indicate that for the writer the gate is still there, or that he can remember the gate.

en + dat. "in [Jerusalem]" - Local, expressing space; "located in the precincts of the city of Jerusalem."

epi + dat. "near" - at, by, near.... Local, expressing space.

th/ probatikh/ dat. adj. "the Sheep Gate" - the pertaining to sheep. There is no noun, but given the reference to a "sheep gate" in Nehemiah 3:1, 32, 12:39, "gate" is usually supplied. Barrett, opting for the more difficult reading, thinks it best to read kolumbhqra, "pool", as a dative noun giving the sense "there is in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Pool, that which in Aramaic is called .......", so also Brown, Schnackenburg, Lindars, ....; "in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Pool, there is a place called Bethesda in Aramaic."

hJ epilegomenh (epilegw) pres. mid./pas. part. "which" - the one being called. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "pool", as NIV.

Ebraisti adv. "in Aramaic" - Modal adverb, "speaking in/with the Hebrew = Aramaic tongue."

Bhqzaqa (a) "Bethesda" - Nominative complement of the participle "the one being called." There are four variant readings, all probably just spelling issues. There is nothing significant in the name, no hidden meaning, it is just a geographical identifier. It possibly means "house of olives", or better "new house" = "new housing development", ie., the pool in the newly developed part of Jerusalem near the sheep gate.

ecousa (ecw) pres. part. "surrounded by" - having [five covered colonnades]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "pool". The gate is now possibly where St. Stephen's gate is today. During a 1930's excavation, some 100 meters North of the Temple mount, a pool 95 by 60 meters was discovered with foundations for five covered colonnades.


Verses 3b-4, recording the reason why the waters are "stirred" from time to time, namely by the visit of an angel, are not found in the more reliable manuscripts.

en + dat. "here" - in [these colonnades were laying]. Local, expressing space; "under these colonnades", Harris.

twn asqenountwn (asqenew) pres. part. "[a great number] of disabled people" - [a multitude] of the ones being sick [blind, lame, withered]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "multitude"; "a large number of people who were unwell / sick." The genitive adjectives "blind, lame, paralyzed", stand in apposition to "the ones being sick." The xhroV, "withered", is not necessarily "paralyzed." The synoptic story of the healing of the paralyzed man often intrudes into this miracle story, but we don't really know what this man's asqeneia, "weakness", amounts to.


A round number, say 40, would be expected, so 38 years has prompted the suggestion that it alludes to the 38 years of Israel's wandering in the desert, Deut.2:14 - an example of Johannine irony. It is, of course, easy to read symbolism into everything, but surely the most we can say is that this man's illness has lasted for years ("the intractability of the complaint", Morris) and yet he is instantly healed with a word from Jesus. Even so, the specific number may just indicate a knowledge of the details of this miracle, probably held within the Johannine tradition.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "had been" - [a certain = one man was there] having = being. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the "certain man"; "one man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years", ESV

en + dat. "an invalid" - in [the weakness = sickness of him]. Adverbial use of the preposition, modal, modifying the participle "being", "being in his sickness" = "being ill"; "one particular man had been there ill for thirty eight years", Phillips.

triakonta kai oktw eth "for thirty-eight years" - Accusative of measure - extent of time.


Jesus becomes aware of the condition of the asqenwn, "weak man", and asks an interesting question, "do you have the will to get well." Dodd makes much of this question, arguing that the man could have been healed long ago had he the will to step in the pool - he lacks the will to be healed. This is surely making too much of the verb qelw which is usually translated here as "Do you want to be healed?" The flaw with faith-healing is that it fails to rest on the revealed will of God. There is no evidence that God willed the healing of those who were first in the pool after it was "stirred up."

idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "When [Jesus] saw [him]" - [jesus] seeing [this person]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV, but also with a causal nuance .

katakeimenon (katakeimai) pres. mid. part. "lying" - The participle serves as the complement of the direct object "this" standing in a double accusative construction; "when Jesus saw him lying there in a debilitated condition."

gnouV (ginwskw) aor. part. "learned" - [and] having known. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal, "and because he knew that he had already been there a long time."

oJti "that" - that [much time already has passed while in this condition]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Jesus knew. It is often assumed that Jesus' knowledge of the extended time of the man's suffering is supernatural, but it is probably patently obvious.

autw/ dat. pro. "[he asked] him" - [he said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

genesqai (ginomai) aor. inf. "to get [well]" - [do you will, desire] to become [well, whole, healthy]? Usually treated as a complementary infinitive, completing the sense of he verb "to will", but it can also be taken to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what he desires: "do you desire that you become whole" = "do you want to get well again?", Phillips.


Apparently there is a local superstition that curative power is operative at the moment the spring water is disturbed - probably bubbles. The issue is that the asqenwn missed out due to his infirmity - someone got into the pool before him. Dodd suggests the man's answer is a lame excuse; "Yes, but experience has taught that it is helpless to try", Lindars. More likely, "by the time I get there someones else is already in", Peterson.

oJ asqenwn (asqenew) pres. part. "the invalid" - the one being weak. The participle serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb "to answer."

autw/ dat. pro. "[replied]" - [answered] him. Dative of indirect object.

iJna "-" - [sir, i do not have a man] that [may put me into the pool]. Introducing an epexegetic clause specifying "man"; "I haven't got anyone who will put me in the pool when the water is stirred up." Often expressed as an infinitive given that this construction stands in the place of an epexegetic infinitive; "I have no one to put me into the bathing pool."

oJtan + subj. "when [the water is stirred]" - when [the water is troubled, stirred up]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause.

en w|/ "while" - [but/and] in which time = while. Temporal construction expressing the same time in relation to the main verb, "during the time when" = "while"; "while I'm trying to get there", Phillips.

egw pro. "I [am trying to get in]" - i [am coming another goes down]. Emphatic by use. "Someone gets there first", TEV.

pro + gen. "ahead of [me]" - before [me]. Temporal use of the preposition.


The tense of Jesus' commands is interesting. The first, "arise, get up", is a present tense often used with this verb to express a definite action. The next, "take, pick up", is aorist, used to express punctiliar action. The third verb, "walk, walk around", a verb of motion, is present again, presumably used here to express durative action; "pick up your mat and off you go, walking", Harris.

autw/ dat. pro. "[Jesus said] to him" - Dative of indirect object.

krabatton (oV) "[pick up your] mat" - [arise, take the bed = bedroll of you and walk]. The word is used for an easily transported soldier's camp-mat, but in the gospels it usually refers to straw-filled mattress used by the poor and sick, ie., a pallet, a crude makeshift bed. A modern bedroll used for camping best conveys the image. "Pick up your bedroll and head off home."

euqewV adv. "at once [the man was cured]" - immediately, at once [the man became whole = healthy and took the mat of him and was walking around]. The temporal adverb, expressing immediacy, is often used for dramatic effect. "Immediately he recovered and off he went." The imperfect verb periepatei, "to walk about", is possibly inceptive; "he began to walk about."


iii] Jesus dialogues with the Jewish authorities, v9b-l8. a) The healed man is challenged by the Ioudaioi, lit. "Jews", for contravening Sabbath regulations, v9b-13. The healed man points out that he is only doing what he was told to do, but he is unable to say much about the person who told him to "take up your bed and walk." On Sabbath Law, see Background above.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

en + dat. "[the day] on [which this took place]" - [it was a sabbath] on [that day]. Temporal use of the preposition. John identifies the fly in the ointment; "this happened on a Sabbath day", Phillips.

ouv "and so" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion - "therefore", being the Sabbath, a man carrying his bed, in contravention to Pharisaic regulations covering Sabbath Law, was bound to cause a reaction.

oi Ioudaioi "the Jewish leaders" - the jews [were saying]. Nominative subject of the imperfect verb "to say" (the imperfect used for a parenthetical remark). We are best to understand the term "the Jews" to refer to the Jewish authorities, Pharisees and the like, unbelievers in general. Sabbath regulations would be part of the society's accepted moral-compass / shibboleths, and so quite a few busybodies / wowser may be lining up to have their say as well. The term probably reflects the later date of the compiling of the gospel, a time when Judaism, as a religious entity, was opposed to the emerging Christian church. It's an inclusive term, rather than antisemitic, similar to the way the term "the Jews" was once used to refer to the State of Israel

tw/ teqerapeumenw/ (qerapeuw) perf. mid./pas. part. "to the man who had been healed" - [were saying] to the one having been healed, tended, cured, treated. The participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object. The perfect tense indicates an ongoing state - his healing is not temporary.

kai "-" - [it is the sabbath] and. Here with a consecutive sense; "and so as a result / consequently.....", cf., BDF #442[2].

soi dat. pro. "[the law forbids] you" - [to carry the mat of you is not permissible] for you. Dative of interest; "the law does not allow you to carry your mat on the Sabbath."

arai (airw) aor. inf. "to carry" - The infinitive here serves to introduce a substantival phrase. subject of the impersonal verb existin, "it is not permitted, allowed, right"; "to carry your mat is not allowed." See 3:7 for a complementary classification. "It's the Sabbath. You can't carry your bedroll around. It's against the rules", Peterson.


It is not overly clear how we should read this response. The use of ekeinoV, "this one" = this very person", stresses where the responsibility lies for the action of the asqenwn, "the disabled person." He may be shifting blame, or he may be stating where the authority lies for his own actions. The asqenwn may not know the name of the person who healed him, but given that he healed him, he accepts his authority as to the movement of beds on the Sabbath, over that of the existing halakhic ruling on the matter; contra Carson. Ridderbos argues that the healed man is only concerned with transferring responsibility for his actions - a human trait!

oJ de "but [he replied]" - but/and the = he [answered, replied]. The de is transitional, and with the article oJ indicates a step in the dialogue, namely, the reply of the asqenwn; "But he answered them ...", ESV.

autoiV dat. pro. "-" - to them. Dative of indirect object.

oJ poihsaV (poiew) aor. part. "the man who made [me whole = well]" - the one having made [me whole]. The participle serves as a substantive, nominative subject of the verb "to say."

ekeinoV pro. "-" - that one. The demonstrative pronoun is backward referencing, resuming "the one having made me whole"; "this very person"; "The one who healed me, he himself said to me", Berkeley.

moi dat. pro. "[said] to me" - [said] to me [take up the mat = bed of you and walk]. Dative of indirect object.


hrwthsan (erwtaw) aor. "so they asked" - they asked, questioned [him]. The aorist is typically used as the default tense for a historic narrative, whereas a historic present usually indicates a step in narrative, a change of speaker, or the like.

tiV pro. "Who [is this fellow]" - who [is the man]? Predicate nominative interrogative pronoun. Harris suggests that the word "the man" is derogatory, but this is not necessarily so, If the Greek were actually "this man" it would be derogatory. The question is most likely a genuine one; "Who is it who told you this?"

oJ eipwn (legw) aor. part. "who told" - the one saying. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "man"; "who is the man who said to you", ESV.

soi dat. pro. "you" - [saying, take up and walk] to you. Dative of indirect object.


de "-" - but/and. Transitional; indicating a step in narrative, although rather than a paragraph marker Harris suggests it is emphatic here, "In fact, the man who had been restored to health did not know who it was who had said to him 'Pick up your mat and walk.'"

oJ ... iaqeiV (iaomai) aor. pas. part. "the man who was healed" - the one having been healed. The participle serves as a substantive.

tiV pro. "who [it was]" - [did not know] who [it is]. The interrogative pronoun with the verb to-be in the present tense forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what the healed man did not know, namely the answer to the question asked of him, "Who is the man who healed you?" The present tense expresses the tense used at the time the question was asked.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why the healed man had no idea who had healed him; "because Jesus had slipped away."

exeneusen (exeneuw) aor. "[Jesus] had slipped away into" - [jesus] turned aside, withdrew = left without being noticed. "Because Jesus had dodged the crowd" (Barrett) has a slight pejorative tone to it, as would "snuck away." "Slipped away" is a popular translation; Barclay, Cassirer, NEB, ..... Recently the Australian Prime Minister left for his annual holidays. For some unknown reason he had not informed the media of his intentions and so it was reported that he had "snuck away." At least it wasn't "slinked off" (in a sneaky and furtive manner), although it was probably implied!!! The word exeneuw, "to turn the face aside", can carry a slight sneakiness about it, but a factual "withdrew" best expresses its intent here; "Jesus had left because of the crowd", CEV.

ontoV (eimi) gen. pres. part. "[the crowd]" - of being [a crowd in the place]. The genitive participle and genitive noun "crowd" forms a genitive absolute construction modified by the prepositional phrase "in the place." It is obviously causal, "because", rather than temporal; "owing to the crowd on the spot, Jesus had slipped away", Moffatt. As Harris notes, the clause may imply a motive; "because there is a crowd Jesus slips away / departs unobserved" - an example of the messianic secret where Jesus doesn't want a knowledge of his person getting out of hand, etc. On the other hand it may imply means; "Jesus was able to slip away because of the crowd."


b) Jesus meets the healed man in the temple precincts, v14-15. On meeting the healed man in the temple, Jesus reminds him to change his ways otherwise he may find his situation worse next time around. Having identified the person who had told him to carry his bed, the healed man is able to report to the religious authorities that it was Jesus.

meta + acc. "later" - after [these things]. Temporal use of the preposition, often with the pronoun tauta, "these things"; "Afterward ....." Here indicating a step in the narrative.

euJriskei (euJriskw) pres. "[Jesus] found" - [jesus] finds [him]. Historic present tense indicating narrative transition (paragraph marker).

en + dat. "at [the temple]" - in [the temple]. Local, expressing space; "Afterwards, Jesus catches up with him in the temple precincts and says to him ...."

autw/ dat. pro. "[says] to him" - Dative of indirect object.

mhketi aJmartave (aJmartanw) pres. imp. "stop sinning" - [behold, you have become healthy,] sin no longer. A mh negation with a present imperative is often said to forbid an action in progress; "Do not continue in sin any longer." This view is not as widely held today. Porter argues that the present imperative stresses urgency, cf., p.335f.

iJna mh + subj. "or [something worse may happen]" - that not = lest [certain = something worse becomes = happens]. Introducing a negated consecutive clause expressing result, but possibly final, expressing purpose. As Beasley-Murray notes, Jesus' words "could imply that the man's illness was connected to his sinful ways; yet 9:1-4 forbids the facile connection between sin and disease." Carson argues strongly against such a glib discounting of a direct link between sin and suffering, cf., p.245-246. He argues that although the observer can't draw the conclusion that someone's suffering is due to their sin, some suffering is directly due to the sin of an individual or community, eg., Acts 5:1-11, 1Cor.11:30, 1Jn.5:16. So, given Jesus' language here, it is likely that this man's particular health issue is the result of sinful behavior, which, if repeated, will compound into the future. So, Jesus' instruction "sin no longer" means "don't do it again otherwise you will really stuff up your health." A friend of mine was a medic in Vietnam and constantly reminded those soldiers infected with a venereal disease that antibiotics work well the first time, but less so with repeated infections. Interestingly, Carson (so Barrett, Schnackenburg, ....) argues that the "worse" that may happen "must be final judgment", but this contradicts his approach to the verse. The healed man, as with all of us, must face the day of judgment, yet this is not the point that Jesus is making here. Jesus is not saying that if this man sins again, or continues in a state of sin (without seeking the mercy of God) he will face damnation. Nor is Jesus running his "go and sin no more" line, ie., "I've forgiven you, so pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try to make a better show of it from now on!" ie., divine mercy, forgiveness, enables the forgiven to start afresh, free from the burden of guilt. No! Jesus' line here is far more pragmatic; It's a bit like the advice a father may give to a son who has just purchased a new home before finalizing the sale of his existing home, and is now jammed. Having helped him out this time his dad would say something like; "Don't do it again son; next time you'll stay jammed."

soi dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of interest, disadvantage.


toiV IoudaioiV dat. adj. "the Jewish leaders" - [the man went away and reported / informed that Jesus is the one having made him healthy] to the Jews. The adjective serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object. Probably "the Jewish religious authorities", as NIV.

oJti "that" - Here introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the healed man told the Jewish authorities. The present tense of the verb to-be estin, the tense used in the original report to the authorities, "Jesus is the one", is retained in the dependent statement, although as usual is translated in the past tense; "The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him", ESV.

oJ poihsaV (poiew) aor. part. "who made" - [jesus is] the one having made. The participle serves as a substantive.

uJgih adj. "[him] well" - [him] whole, healthy. Accusative complement of the direct object "him". Given that he told the Jews what Jesus had done, namely healed him, rather than what Jesus had instructed him, namely take up his bed / mat, it is, as Lindars puts it, "by no means clear that John imagined that the man was deliberately betraying Jesus to his enemies" - the man's motives remain "ambiguous". Brown regards his actions as not quite treachery, but at least "persistent naivete." The line taken by Ridderbos is certainly worthy of consideration. The actions of this man should be considered within "the kerygmatic thrust of the story." The response of the healed man serves as "a portrayal of people who will not let themselves be moved to enter the kingdom of God by Jesus' power and words, no matter how liberating the effect of those words."


c) Jesus is challenged by the religious authorities on the issue of Sabbath Law, v16-18. In defense of the charge that he neglects Sabbath Law, Jesus presents a simple argument. It is an observable fact that throughout the whole of history, right through to this present moment in time, God has never ceased from his creative and sustaining work, and so Jesus, as God's man / his Son / Messiah, similarly does not cease from this work. The argument is a powerful one, and cannot be countered, but it does ratchet up the dispute, for by running this argument, Jesus seemingly claims equal status with God. Only a rebellious son makes himself equal with his father. In the following discourse Jesus will argue that he is no rebel, but that he is an obedient son.

kai dia touto "so" - and because of this [the jews persecuted jesus]. It is likely that the kai is coordinative, "and", while dia touto is inferential rather than causal, cf., Runge; "and so therefore ...." We are best to follow Brown who takes the imperfect verb ediwkon, "to persecute", as inceptive; "the Jewish authorities began to persecute", although Carson suggests it serves to indicate a larger set of Sabbath disputes. Ridderbos suggests that the persecution amounted to "a conspiracy against Jesus' life."

oJti "because" - because [he was doing these things]. Here serving to introduce a causal clause, explaining why "the Jews" began to persecute Jesus. The authorities are not just persecuting Jesus "because" of the instruction to the healed man, but because he was doing "these type of things" on the Sabbath. Jesus' lax attitude toward the Sabbath prompted the authorities to act.

en + dat. "on [the Sabbath]" - in [the sabbath]. Temporal use of the preposition, as NIV.


de "-" - but/and. Transitional.

autoiV + dat. "[in defense Jesus said] to them" - [jesus answered] them. Dative of indirect object. The NIV "in defense ..." draws from the fact that John has used the unusual aorist middle of the verb "to answer" rather than the more commonly used aorist passive apekriqh. Abbott, in his rather dated work Johannine Grammar, argues that this is a legal usage of the word, used of a legal defense against a charge. So here, "Jesus responds to their charge, he offers his defense", Carson. So, rather than "answered", the sense is probably "made his defense", Harris.

eJwV arti "to this very day" - [the father of me] until now [is working]. Adverbial construction, temporal. As Stott notes, one would expect Jesus to say "My Father works continually" rather than "until now." Probably the force is "even until now."

kagw "and I too [am working]" - and i [am working]. Emphatic use of the crasis kagw = kai + egw, "I also." Harris suggests that the kai is consecutive, expressing result, "and so .....", and egw is "I also (like my Father)." "My Father is continually at work, and so I continually work as well."


dia touto oun "for this reason" - because of this therefore [the jews (Jewish authorities) were seeking more]. The causal construction dia touto is usually inferential, so also oun, so maybe an emphatic "therefore"; "and therefore, because of (oJti) what he had said, the Jewish authorities were even more determined to kill him." "This remark made the Jews all the more determined to kill him", Phillips.

apokteinai (apokteinw) aor. inf. "to kill [him]" - The infinitive in complementary, completing the sense of the verb "were seeking"; to have Jesus put to death for blasphemy.

oJti "-" - that. Here introducing a causal clause explaining why "the Jews" were even more determined to kill Jesus; "because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father", ESV.

ou monon ...... alla kai "not only ..... but .... even" - not only [was he breaking the sabbath] but and. Here we have a counterpoint construction used to correlate two similar ideas, "not only ...... but also ...." = ".......... and ........." The conjunction kai is adjunctive, "also", or possibly ascensive, as NIV, rather than coordinative, "and"; "It was because Jesus not only broke the Sabbath, but because he also kept speaking about God as his own father", Barclay, = "they were seeking all the more to kill him because he was he breaking the Sabbath and was speaking of God as his own Father."

ton qeon (oV) "[was even calling] God" - [he was saying god to be his own father]. The use of the article here is emphatic; "the one and only God ...", so also with tw/ qew. The clause is elliptical as the verb elegen, "was saying", prompts an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, here formed by an assumed infinitive verb to-be, expressing what Jesus was saying; "he was saying that God was his own Father."

idion adj. "his own [Father]" - "The word own implies the claim to a special relationship which surpasses the normal Jewish confession of God as Father", Pfitzner; not the general "God, the Father of all mankind."

poiwn (poiew) pres. part. "making [himself]" - The participle is adverbial, best treated as consecutive expressing result; "he even called God his own Father, with the result that he made himself equal with Ggod." "Thereby making himself equal to God", Moffatt.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "[equal] with God" - [equal] to god. The dative of direct object after the adjective isoV, "equal with", expressing association. The charge that Jesus is "equal with God", prompted by his messianic claim to sonship and thus his right to work as the Father / the Creator God works, is a charge made by "the Jews" and is not a claim made by John or Jesus. Jesus will answer this charge by showing that he is an obedient Son. The charge arises from Jesus' claim "my Father is always at work, and I am at work."


John Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]