Yohanan Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern

chapter 5
1. After this, there was a Judean festival; and Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim.
A Judean festival, rather than "a Jewish festival," for reasons detailed ai 1:19N. Yochanan uses this phrase at 6:4 and 11:55 (and a similar phrase at 2:13) in connection with Pesach (Passover) and at 7:1-3 in connection with Sukkot (Tabernacles). These are two of the three regalim (pilgrim festivals), the third being Shavu'ot (Weeks, Pentecost; see Ac 2: l&N). The focus here is not on the Jewishness of these festivals but on the fact that the Torah required all Jewish men to come to "the place Adonai your God shall choose" (Deuteronomy 16:16), which proved to be Yerushalayim in Y'hudah (Judea). Only in this verse is the festival not named. Chanukkah, a Jewish festival but not a pilgrim festival tied to Judea, is mentioned at 10:22 but is not called a Judean festival. See 1:19N. Went up to Yerushalayim. See Mt 20:17-19N.

2. In Yerushalayim, by the Sheep Gate, is a pool called in Aramaic, Beit-Zata,
3. in which lay a crowd of invalids — blind, lame, crippled.
4. Some manuscripts have verses 3b–4: . . . , waiting for the water to move; 4 for at certain times an angel of Adonai went down into the pool and disturbed the water, and whoever stepped into the water first after it was disturbed was healed of whatever disease he had.

The manuscripts with the extra words are inferior, but v. 7 seems to require some such explanation. Concerning this pool the Encyclopedia Judaica notes its mention in the New Testament and adds that "excavations of the site have revealed that a health rite took place there during the Roman period" (9:1539).

5. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
6. Yeshua, seeing this man and knowing that he had been there a long time, said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
7. The sick man answered, “I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I’m trying to get there, someone goes in ahead of me.”
8. Yeshua said to him, “Get up, pick up your mat and walk!”
9. Immediately the man was healed, and he picked up his mat and walked. Now that day was Shabbat,
10. so the Judeans said to the man who had been healed, “It’s Shabbat! It’s against Torah for you to carry your mat!”
It's against Torah for you to carry your mat. that is, against the Judeans' (see 1:19N) or Pharisees' (see Mt 3:7N) understanding of the Torah, against their tradition, against what later became Jewish halakhah. Jeremiah 17:21-22 speaks against bearing a burden on Shabbat, but the context suggests that the prohibition is against working for profit, as at Nehemiah 13:19, The Mishna makes carrying in a public area on Shabbat unlawful. But in a walled city like Yerushalayim a special legal arrangement called an 'eruv makes it legal to carry on Shabbat. Perhaps the man had his home outside the walls of Yerushalayim, beyond the range of the 'eruv; or he may have been homeless and slept on his mat each night outside the city. Another possibility: he had not yet left Yerushalayim and was still in the Temple area, but the Judeans perceived that he was about to leave and were warning him not to violate Shabbat by carrying his mat through the gates. Note, however, that the Judeans ignored the miraculous healing and concerned themselves only with the infringement of their version of the Law; they could not see that the formerly crippled man's ability to carry his mat attested to God's glory.

11. But he answered them, “The man who healed me — he’s the one who told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”
12. They asked him, “Who is the man who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13. But the man who had been healed didn’t know who it was, because Yeshua had slipped away into the crowd.
14. Afterwards Yeshua found him in the Temple court and said to him, “See, you are well! Now stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you!”
Stop sinning, or something worse may happen to you. While disease is not invariably a consequence of sin, as Yeshua himself affirms (9:3), it can be. Also compare Ml 12:43-45.

15. The man went off and told the Judeans it was Yeshua who had healed him;
16. and on account of this, the Judeans began harassing Yeshua because he did these things on Shabbat.
A Shabbai healing by Yeshua. Three others are at Mt 12:9-14 (Mk 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11), Lk 13:10-17, and Lk 14:1-6. Yochanan reports a fifth at 9:1-4] below. See notes to these passages.

17. But he answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I too am working.”
18. This answer made the Judeans all the more intent on killing him — not only was he breaking Shabbat; but also, by saying that God was his own Father, he was claiming equality with God.
"My Father, God, has been working on Shabbat since the beginning of time, and therefore I too am working on Shabbat." Here is an interesting alternative understanding: in the larger scheme of things, there is a "Shabbat" yet to come (MJ 4:9-11), so that the present era of history can be thought of as "weekdays." The Talmud too recognizes this by dividing history into six 1,000-year "days" (Psalm 90:4, and see 2 Ke 3:3-9&N), after which comes the Messianic millennium, the seventh "day" (Sanhedrin 97b). Since it is now still a 1,000-year "weekday," even the Torah "permits" the Father and Yeshua to work; and they will continue working until the "day" comes that is entirely Shabbat. (But in what sense they will cease working then is not evident.)

Yeshua's Judean opposition immediately perceived that by saying God was his own Father he was claiming equality with God. Some Jews would like to reclaim Yeshua for the Jewish people by regarding him as a great teacher, which he was, but only human, not divine. Yeshua's claim here makes thai option impossible. A merely human "great teacher" who teaches that he is equal with God would be, as C. S. Lewis put it, either "a lunatic — on a level with a man who says he's a poached egg — or else He would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse." (Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1958, p. 41) Yeshua's words produced the first reported effort to kill him. If he had been blaspheming God, as the Judeans thought, it would have been proper to be intent on killing him, since "Anyone who blasphemes the name of Adonai shall surely be put to death" (Leviticus 24:16; see below, 8:58&N). Yeshua's healing and his claim to equality with Adonai occasioned his discourse in the rest of this chapter.

19. Therefore, Yeshua said this to them: “Yes, indeed! I tell you that the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; whatever the Father does, the Son does too.
The Son cannot do anything on his own. Those who find Yeshua's claim to divinity unpalatable are quick to point out that with these words Yeshua seems to describe himself in a way inconsistent with being divine. They say it is essential to God's nature that he does everything on his own and is answerable only to himself. But they miss the point, for Yeshua here is teaching something important about the inner nature of God, about how the Son and the Father relate to each other within the eternal unity ol" Adonai. Yeshua is teaching that he is capable, humanly, of disobeying God and of having his own contrary will (compare Mt 26:39). For this reason the divine Son "learned obedience" (MJ 5:8) and became completely submissive to the Father's will through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, who is with him "in unlimited measure" (3:34). Yeshua is not inferior to his Father: to submit and obey perfectly demonstrates one of God's perfections; to will what is not God's will is to be inferior to God.

What he sees the Father doing. Yeshua's sight, whether spiritual only or physical as well, uniquely enables him to perceive what his Father does and wants. Whatever the Father does, the Son does too. Yeshua is teaching that he has divine power. Specifically, he has power to raise the dead (v. 21) and the authority to render divine judgment (v. 22).

20. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does; and he will show him even greater things than these, so that you will be amazed.
21. Just as the Father raises the dead and makes them alive, so too the Son makes alive anyone he wants.
22. The Father does not judge anyone but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
The Father does not judge anyone; rather, he has given judgment over to his Son (v. 27). Yet the Tanakh tells us that God will one day judge all humanity; and if it is the Father who entrusts judgment to the Son, then the Father does, after all, have a role in judgment as the delegator. From all this it follows that the Son is included in what is meant by "God." This is one of the many ways Yochanan deals with the mystery and paradox of Yeshua's simultaneous humanity and divinity; see also v. 30,12:48-49.

23. so that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father. Whoever fails to honor the Son is not honoring the Father who sent him.
Whoever fails to honor the Son is not honoring the Father who sent him. Compare Ml 22:33-46, 1 Yn 2:23, which also teach against the idea that one can honor, worship and believe in God without believing in Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God.

24. Yes, indeed! I tell you that whoever hears what I am saying and trusts the One who sent me has eternal life — that is, he will not come up for judgment but has already crossed over from death to life!
25. Yes, indeed! I tell you that there is coming a time — in fact, it’s already here — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will come to life.
26. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has given the Son life to have in himself.
27. Also he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
28. Don’t be surprised at this; because the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear his voice
29. and come out — those who have done good to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to a resurrection of judgment.
Resurrection of life... resurrection of judgment. There are two kinds of deaths and resurrections; this is taught in the Tanakh at Daniel 12:2 and by Sha'ul at Ro 2:5-8. One is for those God considers righteous because they have done good. In the light of 6:28-29 belOw and Ep 2:8-10, this means they have trusted in Yeshua's execution as atonement for their sin, been immersed into his death, risen to eternal life (Ro 6:3-11,23), and been granted a share in the "first resurrection" (Rv 20:4-6). The other is for those who have done evil, who have not trusted in Yeshua; they are subject to the "second death" (Rv 20:12-15). See Ac 24M5&N.

30. I can’t do a thing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is right; because I don’t seek my own desire, but the desire of the one who sent me.
31. “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not valid.
32. But there is someone else testifying on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he is making is valid —
33. you have sent to Yochanan, and he has testified to the truth.
34. Not that I collect human testimony; rather, I say these things so that you might be saved.
35. He was a lamp burning and shining, and for a little while you were willing to bask in his light.
36. “But I have a testimony that is greater than Yochanan’s. For the things the Father has given me to do, the very things I am doing now, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.
37. “In addition, the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice or seen his shape;
Отец, пославший меня, Сам засвидетельствовал обо мне. Подобное высказывание см. в 8:18.
Ср. Книгу Иеремии 29:23: «Я знаю это, и Я свидетель, говорит Адонай».

38. moreover, his word does not stay in you, because you don’t trust the one he sent.
39. You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me,
The Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. Similarly at 8:18. Compare Jeremiah 29:23, ""I am the one who knows, and I am witness,' says Adonai."
But these Judeans cannot receive the Father's witness because his word does not stay in them. This is due to their hard hearts that do not believe God. A person with love for God would receive Yeshua. The main element of God's witness is his Word, Scripture, the Tanakh. Yeshua invites those who do not have the Word staying in them to search the Scriptures, just as the Jews of Berea later did (Ac 17:11).

40. but you won’t come to me in order to have life!
41. “I don’t collect praise from men,
42. but I do know you people — I know that you have no love for God in you!
43. I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t accept me; if someone else comes in his own name, him you will accept.
44. How can you trust? You’re busy collecting praise from each other, instead of seeking praise from God only.
On the strength of what Yeshua has said till now he now argues:
(1) You do not have God's love in you.
(2) Instead, you seek honor from men and from each other.
(3) You refuse to come to me (Yeshua) to have life because you prefer honor from each other and because you want to honor those who come in their own name, not in God's name.

45. “But don’t think that it is I who will be your accuser before the Father. Do you know who will accuse you? Moshe, the very one you have counted on!
46. For if you really believed Moshe, you would believe me; because it was about me that he wrote.
47. But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
After discounting his own witness (v. 3t) Yeshua names five witnesses to who he is: Yochanan the Immerser (vv. 32-35), Yeshua's works (v. 36), the Father (vv. 37-38), the Tanakh (v. 39) and Moshe (vv. 45-47).

Yeshua saves for last the argument which would be the most meaningful to his hearers: Moshe wrote of Yeshua (Lk 16:31, 24:44; MJ 11:26). Traditional Judaism denies this, but the early Messianic Jews often based their case for Yeshua's Messiahship on passages of Scripture, including those written by Moshe, such as Genesis 49:10, Numbers 24:17 and Deuteronomy 18:15-18. Even within non-Messianic Judaism all three are widely regarded as referring to the Messiah. Therefore, says Yeshua, it is not even necessary for me to make a special accusation because Moshe has done it already: if you don't believe him, why would you believe me? Compare Lk 16:31.

next chapter...