JOHN - Chapter 5 - THE SHEEP POOL Print E-mail

JOHN – Chapter 5 – Sheep Pool (Bethesda)

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

March 21, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


5:1-4: After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.   Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.


It is not known at which feast this occurred.  There are many different hypotheses by different commentaries.  So, I can give my opinion since it may be as good as anyone else.  In view of the location of the miracle and the prophetic symbolism of Passover, it is possible it was a Passover feast.


Blessed Theophylact (1055-1107):  “The pool was called Sheep’s Pool because the sheep dedicated for the temple sacrifices were brought there and their entrails were washed in its water.  It was common belief that the washing of the sacrificial lambs imparted divine power to the water, and that after the washing an angel would descend to the water to work a miracle.


This again is a type and shadow of the Baptism of Water which washes away our sins and brings souls to life.  The Sheep Pool represents the grace filled waters of Baptism, in which the Lord Jesus---the Lamb of God sacrificed for us.  Human nature was paralyzed in all its spiritual powers and lay sick for thirty and eight years.  It was not sound in its faith in the Holy Trinity, nor did it believe firmly in the coming of the eighth age, that is the resurrection and judgment of all who have ever lived.  The Human nature even with its cardinal virtues (courage, prudence, righteousness, and self-control) could not be healed, for it had no man to put into the pool.   The Son of God, Who alone could heal our human nature by Baptism, was not yet made man.  But when He became man, He healed our nature and commanded us to take up our bed.  This means we must lift up from the earth our body---weighed down by the flesh and earthly cares---and make it light and free.


We must rouse it from slothfulness so that it can walk, that is to say, be active in doing good…Like the paralytic, we too are in need of healing, for we are paralyzed and inert in doing good.  In the Baptism unto Jesus Christ, all who enter are saved.  If one procrastinates and does not swiftly repent, he/she receives no healing. 


Again, there is an angel which troubles this pool of repentance---the Angel of Great Counsel of the Father (Isa. 9:6 – Wonderful, Counselor), Christ the Savior.  Unless the cleansing of the water of the Divine Word touches our heart, the pool will not be made active by His divine power.  There will be no healing for the paralyzed soul. 


The pool of repentance may rightly be called the Sheep’s Pool; the pool in which the inward parts and thoughts of the saints, like the sheep entrails are washed and cleansed rendered innocent and guiltless.  The saints are then made ready to become a living sacrifice pleasing to God. 


May we also obtain healing, and afterwards may the Lord ever find us in the temple unstained by evil thoughts, lest a worse thing come upon us.” (End of quote from Theophylact).


5: 5-17: A certain man was there, who had an infirmity thirty and eight years.  When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He said to him Will you be made whole?  The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled to put me into the pool; while I am coming, another steps down before me.  Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your bed and walk.  Immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked; and on the same day was the Sabbath.  The Jews therefore said to him that was cured.  It is the Sabbath day; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.  He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said to me, Take up your bed and walk.  They asked him, What man is that which said to you, Take up your bed and walk?  He that was healed did not know who it was; for Jesus had conveyed Himself away among the multitude.  Afterward Jesus finds him in the temple, and said to Him, Behold you are made whole; sin no more less a worse thing come to you.  The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, who had made him whole.  The Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.  But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now, and I work.”


Jesus knew what he was doing on God’s time schedule to perform this unsolicited miracle in public view on the Sabbath.  This is but one of six miraculous cures performed by Jesus on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees challenged the man that it was not legal for him to carry his bed on the Sabbath.  Word reaches the Sanhedrin and the man is arrested.  The healing was not illegal, but carrying his bed was.  The man is then taken before the leaders and charged with Sabbath-breaking.  The poor man’s only defense is his Healer told him to do it.  The man is small fry.  They will go after the Healer. 


It was on account of this that the Jews seriously began to prosecute Jesus; and all because He did these things on the Sabbath. 


Man’s Sabbath is based on God’s Sabbath.  God did rest from His creative labors; but He didn’t retire.  He shifted into a new kind of work, that of maintaining, preserving, governing, helping, redeeming His creation.  Man’s Sabbath is a rest from the struggle to survive.  The rest of God is a realm of the Holy Spirit where we are no longer striving in pain and sorrow; but we are resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall


Remember Jesus told His disciples in Chapter 4, My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.


The Old Testament idea of the Sabbath was “Thou shall not,” which insisted on a cessation of all work needed to make a living.  The New Testament liberates us telling us that which we should do on the Sabbath.  Jesus answers them, My Father works and I work.  


John 5: 19-20: (N.K.J.V.) Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”


The Pattern Son operated His earthly ministry in an uncomplicated manner.  He did everything He saw His Father do, and He said everything that He hears His Father say.  Paul admonished, Let this same mind be in you  Phil. 2:5.


The Firstfruits company unto God and the Lamb has His (Jesus’) Father’s name written in their foreheads (Rev. 14:1).  These have moved into the same relationship with the Father that Jesus had.  These continue Jesus’ ministry, ready to do the greater works!


“In the beginning and before time, there was a meeting.  The Father was there.  The Son was there.  The Holy Spirit was there.  Before they created the sun, the moon, and the stars, the Father and the Son made an “everlasting covenant.”  The Father’s decree in Ps. 2:7: I will declare the decree: the Lord has said unto Me. You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.  The father’s decree is His will, His purpose, and His plan.  The Father declared these words over the Word, the Pattern Son, and the eternal Logos.  He spoke to the Psalmist, to Jesus,  to you, to me, and every son.  His decree is our personal destiny, our foreordained ministry, and our lifelong assignment, the divine prescription for our earthly existence.  The God of all wisdom verified and validated our end from the beginning.” (Paraphrased from Chosen for Greatness by: Rev. Kelly Varner.)


Jesus, the Pattern Son’s essence does not differ from that of the Father.  If it did, He would have a different power and a different energy.  Because He has the same essence as the Father, He has the same power, and imparts energy to the same things.  Jesus does everything that the Father does.  His power is neither lesser nor greater than the Father.  The Father, Son and Holy Spirit share one essence, one power and one energy.  The Son is the Wisdom of the Father.  There is only one thing Jesus said that only the Father in Heaven knew:


 Mat. 24: 30-36: The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  He will send His angels with a great sound of trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other…But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.


Jesus’ own words confirm that whatsoever things the Father does, these also does the Son likewise.


5:21: For as the Father raises up the dead, and makes them alive; even so the Son makes alive whom He will.


Christ has just healed the paralyzed man, but He would soon raise the dead.  He is implying, “You are amazed that I healed the paralytic, but you will see greater things than this. 


5:22-24: The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father Who has sent Him.  Verily, verily I say unto you, he that hears My word, and believes in Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.


By His many miracles Jesus Christ has already shown the Pharisees his power; but they do not give him the honor which is due him.  The Father begat the Son as an eternally living being.  Christ affirms there is no difference between the honor due to the Father or the Son.  For if the Son has the authority to punish or reward as He wills, then He has the same power as the Father. 


He that hears My word, and believes in Him that sent Me has everlasting life.  The Lord assures them that by hearkening to His words they would show their faith in God.  He did not say, “believes in Me,” but instead, and believes in Him that sent me.  The man who believes in God shall not come into condemnation, but into everlasting life.  He will not undergo spiritual and eternal death, but only that which is physical and temporary.


5:25-29:  Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.  For as the Father has life in Himself, so has he given to the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also.  That He is the Son of man, marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation.


The Lord is referring to the dead whom He will soon resurrect; the widow’s son, the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, Lazarus and others as well as those who came forth from their graves and walked around Jerusalem on the day Jesus was crucified.  But this scripture prophesies further into the day when the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.


The Father has not granted the Son power only to give life, but also to execute judgment. 


Lest we imagine that faith alone is sufficient for our salvation, Jesus now adds, they that have done good shall be raised unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation.  Faith alone without works does not make us righteous; we must also work good deeds.  Only then is our faith true.  Jesus presents His Word two ways: threatening and gladdening. 


5:30:  I can of my own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just; because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me.


Again Jesus doubles down that He reveals the exact likeness of the Son to the Father.   A man who insists on his own will cannot experience the glory of God.  Jesus is saying his will is in perfect accordance with the Father and we witness that glorious reality when the Son of Man was crucified on the Cross and released His will to the Father.


5: 31-35:  If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.  There is another that bears witness of Me; and I know that the witness which he witnesses of Me is true.  You sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.  But I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say, that you might be saved.  He was a burning and a shining lamp; and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his life.


This is another example of the principle of three witnesses who agree:


  1. The forerunner, John the Baptist.
  2. Jesus’ own works.
  3. Father God.


In 1 John, the apostle again uses the principle of three witnesses:


1 Jo. 5:7:  There are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.


1 Jo. 5:8:  There are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.


(The Sheep Pool was a type of the water, the blood of the sacrificial lambs, and the moving of the waters by the Spirit.)


He calls John a burning lamp.  John was like a skyrocket that bursts suddenly against a dark sky.  He was dazzling and had all Israel tingling with Messianic excitement.  As the last of the Old Testament prophets, he arrived with the credentials needed to introduce the Messiah.  The Greek calls John a “burning and shining torch.”  They were not interested in a “Lamb.”  They wanted a King.


5: 36-38:  But I have greater witness than that of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.  The Father Himself, who has sent Me has born witness of Me.  You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.  And you do not have His Word abiding in you; for whom He has sent, Him you do not believe.


What a witness he is:  He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, sight to the blind, cleansing to lepers, freedom to Satan’s captives and life to the dead!  Seas and winds are calmed, water is turned into wine, multitudes are fed with a few loaves and fishes and He walked on water…His works were many.  They were great.  They were public, unrigged, unrehearsed, instantaneous…truly divine!


5: 39-47:  “You are constantly  pouring over the Scriptures, imagining the very words somehow contain eternal life.  Well, go on and search!  As you do, those words are bearing witness to me.  Yet you won’t come to me for that life.  I do not say these things because I seek glory from men.  Human approval or disapproval means nothing to me.  But oh how different it is with you.  Obviously you have no real love for God. For here I am fully attested to by My father.  I have come in His Name, yet you won’t believe me.  But let someone else come along in his own name and him you will receive.   How can you ever expect to exercise faith when the only glory you care about is that which you get from each other?  Faith is impossible when you are not interested in the glory of the trust God bestows on a person.


Don’t think My mission is to gather evidence against you, planning to accuse you before the tribunal of God.  I won’t have to; someone else is going to do that.  Moses will be your accuser.  Yes, the same Moses on whom you have set all your hope.  For you see, if you had really believed Moses, you couldn’t help but believe in Me.  I am the One Moses wrote about.  But of curse, if you have no trust in Moses’ writing, there is no way for you to believe My Words.”  (C. S. Lovett’s Lights on John)


To be continued---


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. and N.K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of Blessed Theophylact (1055-1107) Holy Gospel of John; C. S. Lovett’s Lights on John (Bro. Lovett graduated to glory in 2012).  Kelly Varner, Chosen for Greatness; Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I gleaned.

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