By Judy Myers | Special to the Index
The Wednesday Bible Study Club met Oct. 10 in the First United Methodist Church parlor. Carol Noeding acted as hostess and lesson leader for the day.
The Gospel of John, chapter 5,was the lesson for the day. This chapter begins the second year of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is in Jerusalem for one of the three Jewish feasts that all Jewish men within 15 miles of Jerusalem were legally obligated to attend.
We find Jesus at the pool of Bathseda without his disciples. Many sick and crippled people waited each day at this pool. At some point the water occasionally stirred and bubbled and the first person in the water at that time would be healed. One of the men waiting there had been crippled for 38 years; as Jesus approached he asked this man, “Do you want to get well?” The answer the man gave is what Jesus would like for all of us to say, “I cannot do it by myself.”
Someone else always reached the pool before this man could get there. Jesus normally performed healing on those who had faith in him, however this man did not know Jesus but He responded to the man, telling him to pick up his mat and walk. And the man immediately picked up his bed and walked and Jesus melted into the crowd.
The Jewish authorities asked this man why he was carrying his bed on a Sabbath when no work is to be done. When he explains to them what happened, the authorities want the name of the person who performed this miracle, but the man did not know Jesus’ name. Later, Jesus found this man in the temple and reminded him that he is well now and warns that future sinning might cause something worse to happen. The man then went to the Jews and revealed the name of Jesus to them.
Because Jesus was healing and professing the word of God, the Jews persecuted Him. When asked by the authorities why he was working on the Sabbath, he replied “My father is always at His work and I, too, am working.” The Jews then tried harder than ever to kill him. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath by working but by calling God his Father he was making himself equal to God.
Verses 19-30 are a discourse by Jesus explaining to the Jews how he is related to God. They are:
• Equal in working … whatever the Father does, the Son does also.
• Equal in knowing … for the Father loveth the Son and showeth him all things that He Himself knows. • Equal in resurrecting … for as the Father raiseth up from the dead…so the Son restores life to whom he will.
• Equal in judging … for the Father judges no man but has committed all judgment to the Son.
• Equal in honor … that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.
• Equal in regenerating … he that hears my and believes on Him who sent me … is passed from death unto life.
• Equal in self existence…for as the Father has life in himself so has he give to the son to have life himself.
Verses 31 through 47 are testimonies about himself. Jesus says his own testimony about himself is not valid because a universal principal is that unsupported evidence of one person cannot be taken as proof … there must be at least two witnesses. Jesus presented four.
John the Baptist was a true witness that the Jews listened to for a while as a popular religious teacher, John never talked about himself. He only prepared the way by proclaiming Jesus for who He was.
Jesus was a witness for his own works because what he was doing were the very acts that had been predicted in the Old Testatment. Jews were supposed to be well versed in what was predicted in their scriptures so Jesus told them he was following those predictions.
God Himself spoke when Jesus was baptized. His voice was heard saying, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased…Old testament scripture has told of them of His coming but the Jews did not seem to hear God in these scriptures.
Moses – remember when Moses received the ten commandments and the people gathered there were afraid of His grandeur? They asked if they could hear God directly but through some one else … and God said yes to Moses … now they are hearing the message through some else, Jesus. He tells them in verse 45-47 “If you believed in Moses, you would believe in me for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say.
Jesus was not looking for glory from human beings, he wasn’t trying to win an argument or win their applause. It was because he wanted to save the people he was talking to and wanted to do so through love.
The Scribes and the Pharisees desired the praise of the people. As long as we judge ourselves by human comparison there is lots of room for self satisfaction. But when we compare ourselves to God, and realize what we must look like to Him, it is very humbling.
The Jews did not do this. Jesus was bringing to them these truths for their own sake … a loving and tender heart seeking to save his enemies.