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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

John 5



Other Authors
Verse 1

After these things (μετα ταυταmeta tauta). John is fond of this vague phrase (John 3:22; John 6:1). He does not mean that this incident follows immediately. He is supplementing the Synoptic Gospels and does not attempt a full story of the work of Jesus. Some scholars needlessly put chapter 5 after chapter 6 because in chapter 6 Jesus is in Galilee as at the end of chapter 4. But surely it is not incongruous to think of Jesus making a visit to Jerusalem before the events in chapter 6 which undoubtedly come within a year of the end (John 6:4).

A feast of the Jews (εορτη των Ιουδαιωνheortē tōn Ioudaiōn). Some manuscripts have the article (ηhē) “the feast” which would naturally mean the passover. As a matter of fact there is no way of telling what feast it was which Jesus here attended. Even if it was not the passover, there may well be another passover not mentioned besides the three named by John (John 2:13, John 2:23; John 6:4: John 12:1).

Went up
(ανεβηanebē). Second aorist active indicative of αναβαινωanabainō It was up towards Jerusalem from every direction save from Hebron.

Verse 2

There is (εστινestin). Bengel argues that this proves a date before the destruction of Jerusalem, but it is probably only John‘s vivid memory.

By the sheep gate (επι τηι προβατικηιepi tēi probatikēi). Supply πυληιpulēi (gate) which occurs with the adjective προβατικηprobatikē (pertaining to sheep, προβαταprobata) in Nehemiah 3:1, Nehemiah 3:22.

A pool
(κολυμβητραkolumbēthra). A diving or swimming pool (from κολυμβαωkolumbaō to swim, Acts 27:43), old word, only here in N.T.

Which is called
(η επιλεγομενηhē epilegomenē). “The surnamed” (present passive participle, only N.T. example except Acts 15:40 first aorist middle participle επιλεχαμενοςepilexamenos).

In Hebrew
(ΕβραιστιEbraisti). “In Aramaic” strictly as in John 19:13, John 19:17, John 19:20; John 20:16; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 16:16.

(ετεσδαBethesda or House of Mercy. So A C Syr cu). Aleph D L 33 have ετζαταBethzatha or House of the Olive, while B W Vulg. Memph. have ετσαιδαBethsaida

Having five porches
(πεντε στοας εχουσαpente stoas echousa). ΣτοαStoa was a covered colonnade where people can gather from which Stoic comes (Acts 17:18). See John 10:23; Acts 3:11. Schick in 1888 found twin pools north of the temple near the fortress of Antonia one of which has five porches. It is not, however, certain that this pool existed before a.d. 70 when the temple was destroyed (Sanday, Sacred Sites of the Gospels, p. 55). Some have identified it with the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7), though John distinguishes them. There is also the Virgin‘s Well, called the Gusher, because it periodically bubbles over from a natural spring, a kind of natural siphon. This is south of the temple in the Valley of Kedron and quite possibly the real site.

Verse 3

In these (εν ταυταιςen tautais). In these five porches.

Lay (κατεκειτοkatekeito). Imperfect middle of κατακειμαιkatakeimai to lie down, singular number because πλητοςplēthos (multitude) is a collective substantive.

(χηρωνxērōn). Old adjective χηροςxēros for dry, wasted as the hand (Matthew 12:10). The oldest and best manuscripts omit what the Textus Receptus adds here “waiting for the moving of the water” (εκδεχομενον την του υδατος κινησινekdechomenon tēn tou hudatos kinēsin), a Western and Syrian addition to throw light on the word ταραχτηιtarachthēi (is troubled) in John 5:7.

Verse 4

All of this verse is wanting in the oldest and best manuscripts like Aleph B C D W 33 Old Syriac, Coptic versions, Latin Vulgate. It is undoubtedly added, like the clause in John 5:3, to make clearer the statement in John 5:7. Tertullian is the earliest writer to mention it. The Jews explained the healing virtues of the intermittent spring by the ministry of angels. But the periodicity of such angelic visits makes it difficult to believe. It is a relief to many to know that the verse is spurious.

Verse 5

Which had been thirty and eight years (τριακοντα και οκτω ετη εχωνtriakonta kai oktō etē echōn). Literally, “having thirty and eight years,” “having spent thirty and eight years.”

Verse 6

Knew that he had been a long time (γνους οτι πολυν ηδη χρονον εχειgnous hoti polun ēdē chronon echei). How Jesus “knew” (γνουςgnous second aorist active participle of γινωσκωginōskō) we are not told, whether supernatural knowledge (John 2:24.) or observation or overhearing people‘s comments. In ηδη εχειēdē echei we have a progressive present active indicative, “he has already been having much time” (χρονονchronon accusative of extent of time).

Wouldest thou be made whole? (Τελεις υγιης γενεσταιTheleis hugiēs genesthai). “Dost thou wish to become whole?” Predicate nominative υγιηςhugiēs with γενεσταιgenesthai (second aorist middle infinitive). It was a pertinent and sympathetic question.

Verse 7

When the water is troubled (οταν ταραχτηι το υδωρhotan tarachthēi to hudōr). Indefinite temporal clause with οτανhotan and the first aorist passive subjunctive of ταρασσωtarassō old verb to agitate (Matthew 2:3). The popular belief was that, at each outflow of this intermittent spring, there was healing power in the water for the first one getting in.

To put me into the pool (ινα βαληι με εις την κολυμβητρανhina balēi me eis tēn kolumbēthran). Final use of ιναhina and the second aorist active subjunctive of βαλλωballō “that he throw me in” quickly before any one else. For this use of βαλλωballō see Mark 7:30; Luke 16:20.

But while I am coming
(εν ωι δε ερχομαιen hōi de erchomai). Temporal use of the relative, “in which time” (χρονωιchronōi or καιρωιkairōi understood). ΕγωEgō (I) is emphatic.

Verse 8

Arise, take up thy bed, and walk (Εγειρε αρον τον κραβαττον σου και περιπατειEgeire class="greek-hebrew">εγειρω — āron ton krabatton sou kai peripatei). Present active imperative of αρονegeirō a sort of exclamation, like our “Get up.” The first active imperative (αιρωāron of περιπατεωairō) means to pick up the pallet, and then “go on walking” (present active imperative of κραβαττονperipateō). For krabatton (pallet) see Mark 2:2-12; Mark 6:55; Acts 5:15; Acts 9:33.

Verse 9

Took up his bed and walked (ηρε τον κραβαττον αυτου και περιεπατειēre ton krabatton autou kai periepatei). The same distinction in tenses in the same verbs preserved, punctiliar action in ηρεēre (first aorist active of αιρωairō took it up at once) and linear act (imperfect active of περιπατεωperipateō went on walking).

The sabbath on that day (σαββατον εν εκεινηι τηι ημεραιsabbaton en ekeinēi tēi hēmerāi). The first of the violations of the Sabbath rules of the Jews by Jesus in Jerusalem that led to so much bitterness (cf. John 9:14, John 9:16). This controversy will spread to Galilee on Christ‘s return there (Mark 2:23-3:6; Matthew 12:1-14; Luke 6:1-11).

Verse 10

Unto him that was cured (τωι τετεραπευμενωιtōi tetherapeumenōi). Perfect passive articular participle of τεραπευωtherapeuō (only example in John), “to the healed man.” See Matthew 8:7.

To take up thy bed (αραι τον κραβαττονārai ton krabatton). The very words of Jesus (John 5:8), only infinitive (first aorist active). Carrying burdens was considered unlawful on the Sabbath (Exodus 23:12; Nehemiah 13:19; Jeremiah 17:21). Stoning was the rabbinical punishment. The healing of the man was a minor detail.

Verse 11

But he answered (ος δε απεκριτηhos de apekrithē). Demonstrative οςhos (But this one) and deponent use of απεκριτηapekrithē (first aorist passive indicative of αποκρινομαιapokrinomai with no passive force).

The same (εκεινοςekeinos). “That one,” emphatic demonstrative as often in John (John 1:18, John 1:33; John 9:37; John 10:1, etc.). The man did not know who Jesus was nor even his name. He quotes the very words of Jesus.

(υγιηhugiē). Predicate accusative agreeing with μεme (me).

Verse 12

Who is the man? (Τις εστιν ο αντρωποσTis estin ho anthrōpos). Contemptuous expression, “Who is the fellow?” They ask about the command to violate the Sabbath, not about the healing.

Verse 13

He that was healed (ο ιατειςho iatheis). First aorist passive articular participle of ιαομαιiaomai (John‘s usual word).

Who it was (τις εστινtis estin). Present tense preserved in indirect question.

Had conveyed himself away
(εχενευσενexeneusen). First aorist active indicative of εκνεωekneō old verb to swim out, to slip out, or from εκνευωekneuō to turn out, to turn the head to one side (to one side with which compare ενενευονeneneuon they nodded, Luke 1:62). Either of these verbs can explain the form here. The aorist tense simply states an antecedent action without being a past perfect.

A multitude being in the place
(οχλου οντος εν τωι τοπωιochlou ontos en tōi topōi). Genitive absolute and the reason for Christ‘s departure.

Verse 14

Findeth him (ευρισκει αυτονheuriskei auton). Dramatic present as in John 1:45, possibly after search as in John 9:35.

Sin no more (μηκετι αμαρτανεmēketi hamartane). “No longer go on sinning.” Present active imperative with μηκετιmēketi a clear implication that disease was due to personal sin as is so often the case. Jesus used the same words to the woman taken in adultery in the spurious passage (John 8:11). He had suffered for 38 years. All sickness is not due to personal sin (John 9:3), but much is and nature is a hard paymaster. Jesus is here living up to his name (Matthew 1:21).

Lest a worse thing befall thee
(ινα μη χειρον σοι τι γενηταιhina mē cheiron soi ti genētai). Negative final clause with second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομαιginomai ΧειρονCheiron is comparative of κακοςkakos bad. Worse than the illness of 38 years, bad as that is. He will now be sinning against knowledge.

Verse 15

Went away and told (απηλτεν και ειπενapēlthen kai eipen). Both aorist active indicatives. Instead of giving heed to the warning of Jesus about his own sins he went off and told the Jews that now he knew who the man was who had commanded him to take up his bed on the Sabbath Day, to clear himself with the ecclesiastics and escape a possible stoning.

That it was Jesus (οτι Ιησους εστινhoti Iēsous estin). Present indicative preserved in indirect discourse. The man was either ungrateful and willfully betrayed Jesus or he was incompetent and did not know that he was bringing trouble on his benefactor. In either case one has small respect for him.

Verse 16

Persecute (εδιωκονediōkon). Inchoative imperfect, “began to persecute” and kept it up. They took this occasion as one excuse (δια τουτοdia touto because of this). They disliked Jesus when here first (John 2:18) and were suspicious of his popularity (John 4:1). Now they have cause for an open breach.

Because he did (οτι εποιειhoti epoiei). Imperfect active, not just this one act, but he was becoming a regular Sabbath-breaker. The Pharisees will watch his conduct on the Sabbath henceforth (Mark 2:23; Mark 3:2).

Verse 17

Answered (απεκρινατοapekrinato). Regular aorist middle indicative of αποκρινομαιapokrinomai in John here only and John 5:19, elsewhere απεκριτηapekrithē as in John 5:11.

My Father (ο πατερ μουho pater mou). Not “our Father,” claim to peculiar relation to the Father.

Worketh even until now
(εως αρτι εργαζεταιheōs arti ergazetai). Linear present middle indicative, “keeps on working until now” without a break on the Sabbath. Philo points out this fact of the continuous activity of God. Justin Martyr, Origen and others note this fact about God. He made the Sabbath for man‘s blessing, but cannot observe it himself.

And I work
(καγω εργαζομαιkagō ergazomai). Jesus puts himself on a par with God‘s activity and thus justifies his healing on the Sabbath.

Verse 18

Sought the more (μαλλον εζητουνmallon ezētoun). Imperfect active of ζητεωzēteō graphic picture of increased and untiring effort “to kill him” (αυτον αποκτειναιauton apokteinai first aorist active, to kill him off and be done with him). John repeats this clause “they sought to kill him” in John 7:1, John 7:19, John 7:25; John 8:37, John 8:40. Their own blood was up on this Sabbath issue and they bend every energy to put Jesus to death. If this is a passover, this bitter anger, murderous wrath, will go on and grow for two years.

Not only brake the Sabbath (ου μονον ελυε το σαββατονou monon elue to sabbaton). Imperfect active of λυωluō He was now a common and regular Sabbath-breaker. ΛυωLuō means to loosen, to set at naught. The papyri give examples of λυωluō in this sense like λυειν τα πεντηluein ta penthē (to break the period of mourning). This was the first grudge against Jesus, but his defense had made the offense worse and had given them a far graver charge.

But also called God his own Father
(αλλα και πατερα ιδιον ελεγε τον τεονalla kai patera idion elege ton theon). “His own” (ιδιονidion) in a sense not true of others. That is precisely what Jesus meant by “My Father.” See Romans 8:32 for ο ιδιος υιοςho idios huios “his own Son.”

Making himself equal with God
(ισον εαυτον ποιων τωι τεωιison heauton poiōn tōi theōi). ΙσοςIsos is an old common adjective (in papyri also) and means equal. In Philemon 2:6 Paul calls the Pre-incarnate Christ ισα τεωιisa theōi “equal to God” (plural ισαisa attributes of God). Bernard thinks that Jesus would not claim to be ισος τεωιisos theōi because in John 14:28 he says: “The Father is greater than I.” And yet he says in John 14:7 that the one who sees him sees in him the Father. Certainly the Jews understood Jesus to claim equality with the Father in nature and privilege and power as also in John 10:33; John 19:7. Besides, if the Jews misunderstood Jesus on this point, it was open and easy for him to deny it and to clear up the misapprehension. This is precisely what he does not do. On the contrary Jesus gives a powerful apologetic in defense of his claim to equality with the Father (verses 19-47).

Verse 19

The Son (ο υιοςho huios). The absolute use of the Son in relation to the Father admitting the charge in John 5:18 and defending his equality with the Father.

Can do nothing by himself (ου δυναται ποιειν απεαυτου ουδενou dunatai poiein aph'heautou ouden). True in a sense of every man, but in a much deeper sense of Christ because of the intimate relation between him and the Father. See this same point in John 5:30; John 7:28; John 8:28; John 14:10. Jesus had already made it in John 5:17. Now he repeats and defends it.

But what he seeth the Father doing
(αν μη τι βλεπηι τον πατερα ποιουνταan mē ti blepēi ton patera poiounta). Rather, “unless he sees the Father doing something.” Negative condition (αν μηan mē = εαν μηean mē if not, unless) of third class with present (habit) subjunctive (βλεπηιblepēi) and present active participle (ποιουνταpoiounta). It is a supreme example of a son copying the spirit and work of a father. In his work on earth the Son sees continually what the Father is doing. In healing this poor man he was doing what the Father wishes him to do.

For what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner
(α γαρ αν εκεινος ποιηι ταυτα και ο υιος ομοιως ποιειha gar an ekeinos poiēi tauta kai ho huios homoiōs poiei). Indefinite relative clause with ανan and the present active subjunctive (ποιηιpoiēi). Note εκεινοςekeinos emphatic demonstrative, that one, referring to the Father. This sublime claim on the part of Jesus will exasperate his enemies still more.

Verse 20

Loveth (πιλειphilei). In John 3:35 we have αγαπαιagapāi from αγαπαωagapaō evidently one verb expressing as noble a love as the other. Sometimes a distinction (John 21:17) is made, but not here, unless πιλεωphileō presents the notion of intimate friendship (πιλοςphilos friend), fellowship, the affectionate side, while αγαπαωagapaō (Latin diligo) is more the intelligent choice. But John uses both verbs for the mystery of love of the Father for the Son.

Greater works than these (μειζονα τουτων εργαmeizona toutōn erga). ΤουτωνToutōn is ablative case after the comparative μειζοναmeizona (from μεγαςmegas great). John often uses εργαerga for the miracles of Christ (John 5:36; John 7:3, John 7:21; John 10:25, John 10:32, John 10:38, etc.). It is the Father who does these works (John 14:10). There is more to follow. Even the disciples will surpass what Christ is doing in the extent of the work (John 14:12). ΔειχειDeixei is future active indicative of δεικνυμιdeiknumi to show. See also John 10:32.

That ye may marvel
(ινα υμεις ταυμαζητεhina humeis thaumazēte). Purpose clause with ιναhina and present active subjunctive of ταυμαζωthaumazō Wonder belongs to childhood and to men of knowledge. Modern science has increased the occasion for wonder. Clement of Alexandria has a saying of Jesus: “He that wonders shall reign, and he that reigns shall rest.”

Verse 21

Quickeneth whom he will (ους τελει ζωοποιειhous thelei zōopoiei). Present active indicative of ζωοποιεωzōopoieō (from ζωοποιοςzōopoios making alive), common in Paul (1 Corinthians 15:45, etc.). As yet, so far as we know, Jesus had not raised the dead, but he claims the power to do it on a par with the power of the Father. The raising of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) is not far ahead, followed by the message to the Baptist which speaks of this same power (Luke 7:22; Matthew 11:5), and the raising of Jairus‘ daughter (Matthew 9:18, Matthew 9:22-26). Jesus exercises this power on those “whom he wills.” Christ has power to quicken both body and soul.

Verse 22

He hath given all judgment unto the Son (την κρισιν πασαν δεδωκεν τωι υιωιtēn krisin pāsan dedōken tōi huiōi). Perfect active indicative of διδωμιdidōmi state of completion (as in John 3:35; John 6:27, John 6:29; John 10:29, etc.). See this prerogative claimed for Christ already in John 3:17. See the picture of Christ as Judge of men in Matt 25:31-46.

Verse 23

That all may honour the Son (ινα παντες τιμωσιν τον υιονhina pantes timōsin ton huion). Purpose clause with ιναhina and present active subjunctive of τιμαωtimaō (may keep on honouring the Son).

He that honoureth not the Son (ο μη τιμων τον υιονho mē timōn ton huion). Articular present active participle of τιμαωtimaō with negative μηmē Jesus claims here the same right to worship from men that the Father has. Dishonouring Jesus is dishonouring the Father who sent him (John 8:49; John 12:26; John 15:23; 1 John 2:23). See also Luke 10:16. There is small comfort here for those who praise Jesus as teacher and yet deny his claims to worship. The Gospel of John carries this high place for Christ throughout, but so do the other Gospels (even Q, the Logia of Jesus) and the rest of the New Testament.

Verse 24

Hath eternal life (εχει ζωην αιωνιονechei zōēn aiōnion). Has now this spiritual life which is endless. See John 3:36. In John 5:24, John 5:25 Jesus speaks of spiritual life and spiritual death. In this passage (John 5:21-29) Jesus speaks now of physical life and death, now of spiritual, and one must notice carefully the quick transition. In Revelation 20:14 we have the phrase “the second death” with which language compare Revelation 20:4-6.

But hath passed out of death into life (αλλα μεταβεβηκεν εκ του τανατου εις την ζωηνalla metabebēken ek tou thanatou eis tēn zōēn). Perfect active indicative of μεταβαινωmetabainō to pass from one place or state to another. Out of spiritual death into spiritual life and so no judgment (κρισιςkrisis).

Verse 25

And now is (και νυν εστινkai nun estin). See John 4:23 for this phrase. Not the future resurrection in John 5:28, but the spiritual resurrection here and now.

The dead (οι νεκροιhoi nekroi). The spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 5:14).

Shall hear the voice of the Son of God
(ακουσουσιν της πωνης του υιου του τεουakousousin tēs phōnēs tou huiou tou theou). Note three genitives (πωνηςphōnēs after ακουσουσινakousousin υιουhuiou with πωνηςphōnēs τεουtheou with υιουhuiou). Note three articles (correlation of the article) and that Jesus here calls himself “the Son of God” as in John 10:36; John 11:4.

Shall live
(ζησουσινzēsousin). Future active indicative, shall come to life spiritually.

Verse 26

In himself (εν εαυτωιen heautōi). The Living God possesses life wholly in himself and so he has bestowed this power of life to the Son as already stated in the Prologue of the Logos (John 1:3). For “gave” (εδωκενedōken timeless aorist active indicative) see also John 3:35; John 17:2, John 17:24. The particles “as” (ωσπερhōsper) and “so” (ουτωςhoutōs) mark here the fact, not the degree (Westcott).

Verse 27

Because he is the Son of man (οτι υιος αντρωπου εστινhoti huios anthrōpou estin). Rather, “because he is a son of man” (note absence of articles and so not as the Messiah), because the judge of men must partake of human nature himself (Westcott). Bernard insists that John is here giving his own reflections rather than the words of Jesus and uses υιος αντρωπουhuios anthrōpou in the same sense as ο υιος του αντρωπουho huios tou anthrōpou (always in the Gospels used by Jesus of himself). But that in my opinion is a wrong view since we have here ostensibly certainly the words of Jesus himself. So in Revelation 1:13; Revelation 14:14 υιον αντρωπουhuion anthrōpou means “a son of man.”

Verse 28

In the tombs (εν τοις μνημειοιςen tois mnēmeiois). ΤαποςTaphos (grave) presents the notion of burial (ταπτωthaptō to bury) as in Matthew 23:27, μνημειονmnēmeion (from μναομαιmnaomai μιμνησκωmimnēskō to remind) is a memorial (sepulchre as a monument). Jesus claims not only the power of life (spiritual) and of judgment, but of power to quicken the actual dead at the Last Day. They will hear his voice and come out (εκπορευσονταιekporeusontai future middle indicative of εκπορευομαιekporeuomai). A general judgment and a general bodily resurrection we have here for both good and bad as in Matthew 25:46; Acts 24:15; 2 Corinthians 5:10 and as often implied in the words of Jesus (Matthew 5:29.; Matthew 10:28; Luke 11:32). In John 6:39 Jesus asserts that he will raise up the righteous.

Verse 29

Unto the resurrection of life (εις αναστασιν ζωηςeis anastasin zōēs). ΑναστασιςAnastasis is an old word (Aeschylus) from ανιστημιanistēmi to raise up, to arise. This combination occurs nowhere else in the N.T. nor does “the resurrection of judgment” (εις αναστασιν κρισεωςeis anastasin kriseōs), but in Luke 14:14 there is the similar phrase “in the resurrection of the just” (εν τηι αναστασει των δικαιωνen tēi anastasei tōn dikaiōn). Only there note both articles. Here without the articles it can mean “to a resurrection of life” and “to a resurrection of judgment,” though the result is practically the same. There are two resurrections as to result, one to life, one to judgment. See both in Daniel 12:2.

Verse 30

I (ΕγωEgō). The discourse returns to the first person after using “the Son” since John 5:19. Here Jesus repeats in the first person (as in John 8:28) the statement made in John 5:19 about the Son. In John εμαυτουemautou is used by Jesus 16 times and not at all by Jesus in the Synoptics. It occurs in the Synoptics only in Matthew 8:8; Luke 7:7.

Righteous (δικαιαdikaia). As all judgments should be. The reason is plain (οτιhoti because), the guiding principle with the Son being the will of the Father who sent him and made him Judge. Judges often have difficulty in knowing what is law and what is right, but the Son‘s task as Judge is simple enough, the will of the Father which he knows (John 5:20).

Verse 31

If I bear witness of myself (Εαν εγω μαρτυρω περι εμαυτουEan egō marturō peri emautou). Condition of third class, undetermined with prospect of determination (εανean and present active subjunctive of μαρτυρεωmartureō). The emphasis is on εγωegō (I alone with no other witness).

Is not true (ουκ εστιν αλητηςouk estin alēthēs). In law the testimony of a witness is not received in his own case (Jewish, Greek, Roman law). See Deuteronomy 19:15 and the allusion to it by Jesus in Matthew 18:16. See also 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19. And yet in John 8:12-19 Jesus claims that his witness concerning himself is true because the Father gives confirmation of his message. The Father and the Son are the two witnesses (John 8:17). It is a paradox and yet true. But here Jesus yields to the rabbinical demand for proof outside of himself. He has the witness of another (the Father, John 5:32, John 5:37), the witness of the Baptist (John 5:33), the witness of the works of Jesus (John 5:36), the witness of the Scriptures (John 5:39), the witness of Moses in particular (John 5:45).

Verse 32

Another (αλλοςallos). The Father, not the Baptist who is mentioned in John 5:33. This continual witness of the Father (ο μαρτυρωνho marturōn who is bearing witness, and μαρτυρειmarturei present active indicative) is mentioned again in John 5:36-38 as in John 8:17.

Verse 33

Ye have sent (υμεις απεσταλκατεhumeis apestalkate). Emphatic use of υμειςhumeis (ye) and perfect active indicative of αποστελλωapostellō official and permanent fact and so the witness of the Baptist has to be recognized as trustworthy by the Sanhedrin. The reference is to the committee in John 1:19-28.

He hath borne witness (μεμαρτυρηκενmemarturēken). Perfect active indicative of μαρτυρεωmartureō showing the permanent and abiding value of John‘s testimony to Christ as in John 1:34; John 3:26; John 5:37. So also John 19:35 of the testimony concerning Christ‘s death. This was the purpose of the Baptist‘s mission (John 1:7).

Verse 34

But the witness which I receive (Εγω δε ου την μαρτυριαν λαμβανωEgō de ou tēn marturian lambanō). “But I do not receive the witness” simply from a man (like John). The εγωegō (I) in sharp contrast with υμειςhumeis (ye) of John 5:33. Jesus complained of Nicodemus for not accepting his witness (John 3:11). Cf. also John 3:32. In 1 John 5:9 the witness of God is greater than that of men and this Jesus has.

That ye may be saved (ινα υμεις σωτητεhina humeis sōthēte). Final clause with ιναhina and first aorist passive subjunctive of σωζωsōzō This was the purpose of Christ‘s coming, that the world might be saved (John 3:17).

Verse 35

He (εκεινοςekeinos). “That one” (John of John 5:33). Common demonstrative (that one) in John to point out the subject. Used in John 1:8 of the Baptist as here. John was now in prison and so Christ uses ηνēn (was). His active ministry is over.

The lamp (ο λυχνοςho luchnos). The lamp in the room (Mark 4:21). Old word for lamp or candle as in Matthew 5:15. Used of Christ (the Lamb) as the Lamp of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23). ΛαμπαςLampas (Matthew 25:1, Matthew 25:3, etc.) is a torch whose wick is fed with oil. The Baptist was not the Light (το πωςto phōs John 1:8), but a lamp shining in the darkness. “When the Light comes, the lamp is no longer needed” (Bernard). “Non Lux iste, sed lucerna.” Jesus by his own claim is the Light of the World (John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:46). And yet all believers are in a sense “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) since the world gets the Light of Christ through us.

That burneth
(ο καιομενοςho kaiomenos). See Matthew 5:15 for this verb used with λυχνοςluchnos (lighting a candle or lamp). The lamp that is lit and is burning (present passive participle of καιωkaiō and so is consumed).

And shineth
(και παινωνkai phainōn). See John 1:4 for this verb used of the Logos shining in the darkness. Cf. 1 John 2:8. John was giving light as he burned for those in darkness like these Jews.

And ye were willing
(υμεις δε ητελησατεhumeis de ēthelēsate). “But ye became willing.” Ingressive aorist active indicative of τελωthelō Reference again to John 1:19. Cf. also for the temporary popularity of the Baptist Mark 1:5; Matthew 3:5; Matthew 11:7; Matthew 21:26. The Jews were attracted to John “like moths to a candle” (Bernard).

To rejoice
(αγαλλιατηναιagalliathēnai). First aorist passive infinitive of αγαλλιαομαιagalliaomai late word for αγαλλομαιagallomai for which see Matthew 5:12. “They were attracted by his brightness, not by his warmth” (Bengel). Even so the brightness of John‘s shining did not really enlighten their minds. “The interest in the Baptist was a frivolous, superficial, and short-lived excitement” (Vincent). It was only “for an hour” (προς ωρανpros hōran) when they turned against him.

Verse 36

But the witness which I have is greater than that of John (Εγω δε εχω την μαρτυριαν μειζω του ΙωανουEgō de echō tēn marturian meizō tou Iōanou). Literally, “But I have the witness greater than John‘s.” ΜειζωMeizō (μειζοναmeizona) is predicate accusative and ΙωανουIōanou is ablative of comparison after μειζωmeizō Good as the witness of John is, Christ has superior testimony.

To accomplish (ινα τελειωσωhina teleiōsō). Final clause with ιναhina and first aorist active subjunctive of τελειοωteleioō the same idiom in John 4:34. Jesus felt keenly the task laid on him by the Father (cf. John 3:35) and claimed at the end that he had performed it (John 17:4; John 19:30). Jesus held that the highest form of faith did not require these “works” (εργαerga) as in John 2:23; John 10:38; John 14:11. But these “works” bear the seal of the Father‘s approval (John 5:20, John 5:36; John 10:25) and to reject their witness is wrong (John 10:25; John 10:37.; John 15:24).

The very works
(αυτα τα εργαauta ta erga). “The works themselves,” repeating τα εργαta erga just before for vernacular emphasis.

Hath sent me
(με απεσταλκενme apestalken). Perfect active indicative of αποστελλωapostellō the permanence of the mission. Cf. John 3:17. The continuance of the witness is emphasized in John 5:32; John 8:18.

Verse 37

He hath borne witness (εκεινος μεμαρτυρηκενekeinos memarturēken). ΕκεινοςEkeinos (that one; cf. John 5:35, John 5:38), not αυτοςautos Perfect active indicative of μαρτυρεωmartureō the direct witness of the Father, besides the indirect witness of the works. Jesus is not speaking of the voice of the Father at his baptism (Mark 1:11), the transfiguration (Mark 9:7), nor even at the time of the visit of the Greeks (John 12:28). This last voice was heard by many who thought it was thunder or an angel. The language of Jesus refers to the witness of the Father in the heart of the believers as is made plain in 1 John 5:9, 1 John 5:10. God‘s witness does not come by audible “voice” (πωνηνphōnēn) nor visible “form” (ειδοςeidos). Cf. John 1:18; John 6:46; 1 John 4:12. ΑκηκοατεAkēkoate is perfect active indicative of ακουωakouō to hear, and εωρακατεheōrakate is perfect active indicative of οραωhoraō to see. It is a permanent state of failure to hear and see God. The experience of Jacob in Peniel (Genesis 32:30) was unusual, but Jesus will say that those who have seen him have seen the Father (John 14:9), but here he means the Father‘s “voice” and “form” as distinct from the Son.

Verse 38

And (καιkai). “And yet” as in John 1:10 and John 5:40 below.

His word abiding in you (τον λογον αυτου εν υμιν μενονταton logon autou en humin menonta). But God‘s word had come to them through the centuries by the prophets. For the phrase see John 10:35; John 15:3; John 17:6; 1 John 1:10; 1 John 2:14.

Him ye believe not
(τουτωι υμεις ου πιστευετεtoutōi humeis ou pisteuete). “This one” (τουτωιtoutōi dative case with πιστευετεpisteuete) in emphatic relation to preceding “he” (εκεινοςekeinos God). Jesus has given them God‘s word, but they reject both Jesus and God‘s word (John 14:9).

Verse 39

Ye search (εραυνατεeraunāte). Proper spelling as the papyri show rather than ερευνατεereunāte the old form (from ερευναereuna search) as in John 7:52. The form here can be either present active indicative second person plural or the present active imperative second person plural. Only the context can decide. Either makes sense here, but the reason given “because ye think” (οτι υμεις δοκειτεhoti humeis dokeite clearly indicative), supports the indicative rather than the imperative. Besides, Jesus is arguing on the basis of their use of “the Scriptures” (τας γραπαςtas graphas). The plural with the article refers to the well-known collection in the Old Testament (Matthew 21:42; Luke 24:27). Elsewhere in John the singular refers to a particular passage (John 2:22; John 7:38; John 10:35).

In them ye have eternal life (εν αυταις ζωην αιωνιον εχεινen autais zōēn aiōnion echein). Indirect assertion after δοκειτεdokeite without “ye” expressed either as nominative (υμειςhumeis) or accusative (υμαςhumas). Bernard holds that in John δοκεωdokeō always indicates a mistaken opinion (John 5:45; John 11:13, John 11:31; John 13:29; John 16:20; John 20:15). Certainly the rabbis did make a mechanical use of the letter of Scripture as a means of salvation.

These are they
(εκειναι εισιν αιekeinai eisin hai). The true value of the Scriptures is in their witness to Christ (of me, περι εμουperi emou). Luke (Luke 24:27, Luke 24:45) gives this same claim of Jesus, and yet some critics fail to find the Messiah in the Old Testament. But Jesus did.

Verse 40

And ye will not come to me (και ου τελετε ελτειν προς μεkai ou thelete elthein pros me). “And yet” (καιkai) as often in John. “This is the tragedy of the rejection of Messiah by the Messianic race” (Bernard). See John 1:11; Matthew 23:37 (και ουκ ητελησατεkai ouk ēthelēsate and ye would not). Men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19).

That ye may have life (ινα ζωην εχητεhina zōēn echēte). Life in its simplest form as in John 3:36 (cf. John 3:16). This is the purpose of John in writing the Fourth Gospel (John 20:31). There is life only in Christ Jesus.

Verse 41

Glory from men (δοχαν παρα αντρωπωνdoxan para anthrōpōn). Mere honour and praise Jesus does not expect from men (John 5:34). This is not wounded pride, for ambition is not Christ‘s motive. He is unlike the Jews (John 5:44; John 12:43; Matthew 6:1.) and seeks not his own glory, but the glory and fellowship of the Father (John 1:14; John 2:11; John 7:18). Paul did not seek glory from men (1 Thessalonians 2:6).

Verse 42

But I know you (αλλα εγνωκα υμαςalla egnōka humas). Perfect active indicative of γινωσκωginōskō “I have come to know and still know,” the knowledge of personal experience (John 2:24.).

The love o‘ God (την αγαπην του τεουtēn agapēn tou theou). Objective genitive, “the love toward God.” See Luke 11:42 for this phrase in the same sense (only other instance in the Gospels, but common in 1John (1 John 2:5; 1 John 3:17; 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:9; 1 John 5:3) and in 2 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Romans 5:5. The sense of God‘s love for man occurs in 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:9, 1 John 4:10, 1 John 4:16; John 15:9. of Christ‘s love for man. These rabbis did not love God and hence did not love Christ.

Verse 43

In my Father‘s name (εν τωι ονοματι του πατρος μουen tōi onomati tou patros mou). Seven times Jesus in John speaks of the “Name” of the Father (John 5:43; John 10:25; John 12:28; John 17:6, John 17:11, John 17:12, John 17:26). See John 1:12 for use of ονομαonoma (Luke 1:49).

And ye receive me not (και ου λαμβανετε μεkai ou lambanete me). “And yet ye do not receive me,” as in John 5:40, “the Gospel of the Rejection” (John 1:11; John 3:11, John 3:32; John 12:37) often applied to the Fourth Gospel.

If another come
(εαν αλλος ελτηιean allos elthēi). Condition of third class (εανean and second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομαιerchomai). Note αλλοςallos not ετεροςheteros like αλλον Ιησουνallon Iēsoun in 2 Corinthians 11:4. Similar prophecies occur in Mark 13:6, Mark 13:22 (Matthew 24:5, Matthew 24:24), all general in character like Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. There is no occasion for a reference to any individual like Barcochba (about a.d. 134) as Pfleiderer and Schmiedel hold. These Messianic upstarts all come “in their own name” and always find a following.

Him ye will receive
(εκεινον λημπσεστεekeinon lēmpsesthe). “That one,” whoever he is, as Jesus said. Future active indicative of λαμβανωlambanō Credulous about the false Messiahs, incredulous about Christ.

Verse 44

How can ye believe? (πως δυναστε υμεις πιστευσαιpōs dunasthe humeis pisteusai). Emphasis on “ye” (υμειςhumeis), ye being what ye are. They were not true Jews (Romans 2:29; Esther 9:28) who cared for the glory of God, but they prefer the praise of men (Matthew 6:1.; Matthew 23:5) like the Pharisees who feared to confess Christ (John 12:43).

From the only God (παρα του μονου τεουpara tou monou theou). B and W omit τεουtheou which is certainly meant even if not genuine here. See John 17:3; Romans 16:27; 1 Timothy 6:15.

Verse 45

Think not (μη δοκειτεmē dokeite). Prohibition with μηmē and the present imperative. See on John 5:39 for δοκεωdokeō for mistaken opinions in John.

I will accuse you (εγω κατηγορησω υμωνegō katēgorēsō humōn). Emphasis on εγωegō (I). Future active indicative of κατηγορεωkatēgoreō (καταkata against, αγορευωagoreuō to speak in the assembly αγοραagora to bring an accusation in court, a public accusation). See Romans 3:9 for προαιτιαομαιproaitiaomai for making previous charge and Luke 16:1 for διαβαλλωdiaballō a secret malicious accusation, and Romans 8:33 for εγκαλεωegkaleō for public charge, not necessarily before tribunal.

Even Moses
(ΜωυσηςMōusēs). No “even” in the Greek.

On whom ye have set your hope
(εις ον υμεις ηλπικατεeis hon humeis ēlpikate). Perfect active indicative of ελπιζωelpizō state of repose in Moses. Only example of ελπιζωelpizō in John. See 2 Corinthians 1:10 for use of ειςeis with ελπιζωelpizō instead of the usual επιepi (1 Timothy 4:10).

Verse 46

Ye would believe me (επιστευετε αν εμοιepisteuete an emoi). Conclusion of condition of second class (determined as unfulfilled) with imperfect indicative in both protasis and apodosis and ανan in apodosis. This was a home-thrust, proving that they did not really believe Moses.

For he wrote of me (περι γαρ εμου εκεινος εγραπσενperi gar emou ekeinos egrapsen). Deuteronomy 18:18. is quoted by Peter (Acts 3:22) as a prophecy of Christ and also by Stephen in Acts 7:37. See also John 3:14 about the brazen serpent and John 8:56 about Abraham foreseeing Christ‘s day. Jesus does here say that Moses wrote concerning him.

Verse 47

His writings (τοις εκεινου γραμμασινtois ekeinou grammasin). Dative case with πιστυετεpistuete See Luke 16:31 for a like argument. The authority of Moses was the greatest of all for Jews. There is a contrast also between

writings (γραμμασινgrammasin from γραπωgraphō to write) and

(ρημασινrēmasin from ειπονeipon). ΓραμμαGramma may mean the mere letter as opposed to spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 2:27, Romans 2:29; Romans 7:6), a debtor‘s bond (Luke 16:6.), letters or learning (John 7:15; Acts 26:24) like αγραμματοιagrammatoi for unlearned (Acts 4:13), merely written characters (Luke 23:38; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 6:11), official communications (Acts 28:21), once ιερα γραμματαhiera grammata for the sacred writings (2 Timothy 3:15) instead of the more usual αι αγιαι γραπαιhai hagiai graphai ΓραπηGraphē is used also for a single passage (Mark 12:10), but βιβλιονbiblion for a book or roll (Luke 4:17) or βιβλοςbiblos (Luke 20:42). Jesus clearly states the fact that Moses wrote portions of the Old Testament, what portions he does not say. See also Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44 for the same idea. There was no answer from the rabbis to this conclusion of Christ. The scribes (οι γραμματειςhoi grammateis) made copies according to the letter (κατα το γραμμαkata to gramma).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 5:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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