John 5

Jesus Restores the Work of God[a]

Chapter 5

The Sign Given on a Sabbath.[b] 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish feasts. 2 Now in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Gate, there is a pool that in Hebrew is called Bethesda.[c] It has five porticos, 3 and in these a large number of invalids used to lie, people who were blind, lame, and paralyzed, waiting for the movement of the water.[d] [ 4 For occasionally an angel of the Lord would come down into the pool and stir up the water. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.][e]

5 A man who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and was aware that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 The invalid answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am still on my way, someone else steps into the pool ahead of me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Rise! Take up your mat and walk!” 9 Immediately, the man was cured, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

Now that day was a Sabbath. 10 Therefore, the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “Today is the Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” 11 He replied, “The man who cured me said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk!’ ” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who told you to take it up and walk?” 13 But the man who had been cured did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that was there.

14 Later, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that Jesus was the man who had made him well. 16 Therefore, the Jews began to harass Jesus because he was doing such things on the Sabbath. 17 However, Jesus responded to them, saying,

“My Father is still working,
and I am at work as well.”

18 For this reason, the Jews became even more determined to kill him, because he was not only breaking the Sabbath but also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.

19 The Work of the Son.[f] Jesus replied to them, saying,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,
the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees the Father doing.
For whatever the Father does,
the Son also does.
20 For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything
that he himself is doing.
And he will show him
even greater works than these,
so that you might be astonished.
21 “Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead
and gives them life,
so does the Son give life
to anyone he chooses.
22 The Father judges no one,
for he has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
23 so that all may honor the Son
as they honor the Father.
Anyone who does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
24 “Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever hears my words
and believes in the one who sent me
possesses eternal life.
He will not come to judgment
but has passed from death to life.
25 “Amen, amen, I say to you,
the hour is coming,
indeed it is already here,
when the dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God,
and all those who hear it will live.
26 For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
27 And he has also granted him
the power to pass judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be astonished at this,
for the hour is coming
when all those who are in their graves
will hear his voice
29 and will come forth from their graves.
Those who have done good deeds
will rise to life,
while those who have done evil
will rise to judgment.
30 “I can do nothing on my own.
As I hear, I judge,
and my judgment is just,
because I seek to do
not my own will
but the will of him who sent me.

A Witness to Jesus

31 [g]“If I were to testify about myself,
my testimony would not be true.
32 However, there is another who testifies about me,
and I know that his testimony is true,
the testimony he bore concerning me.
33 You sent messengers to John,
and he has testified to the truth.
34 Not that I accept such human testimony,
but I say these things
so that you may be saved.
35 “John was a burning and shining lamp,
and for a time you were willing
to exult in his light.
36 But I have testimony that is greater than John’s.
The works that my Father
has given me to accomplish,
the very works that I am doing,
testify about me,
that the Father has sent me.
37 “And the Father who sent me
has himself testified about me.
You have not heard his voice
or seen his form,
38 and you do not have his word
abiding in you,
because you do not believe
him whom he has sent.
39 “Search the Scriptures carefully
because you believe that through them
you will gain eternal life.
Even they testify on my behalf.
40 Yet you refuse to come to me
to receive that life.

Unbelief of Jesus’ Hearers

41 “I do not accept the praise of men.
42 Moreover, I know that you do not have
the love of God in your hearts.
43 I have come in the name of my Father,
yet you do not accept me.
But if another should come in his own name,
you will accept him.
44 How can you believe
when you accept praise from one another,
yet you do not seek
the praise that comes from
the only God?
45 “Do not think that I will accuse you
before the Father.
You have placed your hope in Moses,
and he is the one who will accuse you.
46 If you truly believed Moses,
you would have believed in me,
for it is about me that he wrote.
47 But since you do not believe what he wrote,
how will you believe what I say?”


  1. John 5:1 Every Jewish feast is a memorial of what God has done for his people in deeds that manifest his power to create and restore. It is in this setting that the evangelist places an important action of Jesus, which leads to a debate over the meaning of the action: Is God himself at work here?
  2. John 5:1 Jesus, the Son of God, claims a power that belongs to God alone. In addition, by breaking the Sabbath precept, Jesus proclaims the end of the old covenant. The incident is perhaps to be connected with the feast of Pentecost, which, according to Jewish tradition, commemorates the promulgation of the Law on Sinai. This would make Jesus’ action even more eloquent.
  3. John 5:2 Bethesda, also called Bethsaida or Bethzatha.
  4. John 5:3 Waiting for the movement of the water: these words appear only in the Caesarean and Western recensions.
  5. John 5:4 This verse is lacking in many important manuscripts, including the oldest.
  6. John 5:19 The action of Jesus creates scandal and anger among the religious authorities. He has to explain his activity and especially his claim that he and the Father are one. The evangelist deepens this affirmation of Jesus’ divinity. What would be seen as blasphemous in anyone else is here a profound reality.
    Jesus is one with his Father. All the work of Jesus is God’s action among us. Jesus has the power to give or restore life to those who welcome his word as that of God, even if they are victims of sin. To encounter Jesus is to face judgment and to experience eternal life even now. To accept or refuse his work: no decision is more important for us.
  7. John 5:31 The claim made by Jesus has to be confirmed. People cannot testify on their own behalf. There was, of course, John the Baptist’s testimony in favor of Christ, but it had already become no more than a remembrance. It is in the works of Jesus that believers recognize the attestation of the Father.
    But how could other people accept this recognition, those who are only preoccupied with their rank in the world, with their person, or with their religious role? Victimized by such an attitude, they falsify even the testimony of Scripture to protect themselves. Only those people can come to Jesus who rid themselves of their pretensions, human and even religious, those who are truly inflamed with love for God.

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