New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:4 troubled the water. This verse is omitted in certain of the manuscripts, along with the last part of John 5:3. Because of what seems to be the unlikelihood of this cyclic miracle, most modern versions have omitted it. The problem is, however, that John 5:7 (which is in all the manuscripts), makes no sense without it. Furthermore, the great majority of the manuscripts do include all these verses. Whether the miracle seems reasonable or not to our scientific minds, the probability is that it was recorded by John in his original text, and was later deleted in some manuscripts because of the skepticism of the copyists. There is nothing impossible about the miracle, no matter how unusual it seems. Perhaps God, in view of the long absence of a prophetical voice in Israel, elected to maintain this continuing witness to His grace and power in Jerusalem, as a sort of perpetual Messianic promise, to be repeated regularly until Christ would come.
5:9 made whole. This is the third of the great creation miracles described by John. A man hopelessly crippled for thirty-eight years (John 5:5) who suddenly had perfectly sound limbs again can be explained only in terms of the creative power of God Himself. It should have been a mighty testimony to the Jewish leaders of His deity, but instead they complained because He did it on the Sabbath.
5:17 worketh hitherto. In answer to the charge that He had broken the Sabbath by healing the crippled man at Bethesda on that day, Jesus noted that both He and His Father had been working continuously, the inference being that they had been doing this all through history. This fact, of course, in no way contradicted the revelation that “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Genesis 2:2). God rested from His work of creation, for it was complete, and the weekly Sabbath (i.e., “rest”) day was ordained to commemorate that fact. But He then began His work of conserving what He had created. Thus, He is now “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3; see also Colossians 1:16; II Peter 3:7). In addition, when sin entered God’s “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31), God also entered on His long work of redeeming His cursed and disintegrating creation (Romans 8:20-23). It was perfectly proper, therefore, for the Lord Jesus to “do good” on the Sabbath day (Luke 6:9). It should be emphasized, however, that God’s ongoing work of conservation and redemption in no way suggests that He was also continuing His primeval work of creation, as modern theistic evolutionists argue. The Bible is clear that God’s creative “works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).
5:21 quickeneth whom he will. The Jews were seeking His life because they understood Him to be making Himself equal with God (John 5:18) when He claimed God was His Father. His response proved that this was exactly what He was claiming, for He claimed that the Father showed Him all that He did, that He could raise the dead, that all judgment had been committed to Him and, finally, that He—as the unique Son of God—should be honored in the same degree that they honored the Father. Such statements as these, occurring frequently in John’s gospel, leave no doubt whatever that Jesus believed and claimed that He was “equal with God” (John 5:18).
5:22 committed all judgment. Note also John 5:27; Romans 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10; II Timothy 4:1.
5:29 resurrection of life. All the dead shall be raised when Christ, the Creator, calls them forth, but not all are called at the same time. The resurrection of life is completed a thousand years before the resurrection of damnation (see Revelation 20:4-6).
5:35 shining light. John’s “light” (Greek luchnos) was a mere “candle” or “light-bearer” in relation to the intrinsic, “true light” (Greek phos) whom John preached (John 1:7-9) and in whom they rejoiced for a season.
5:39 Search the scriptures. The written Word of God, according to Christ’s affirmation, is that which brings salvation and eternal life (see also, e.g., James 1:18; I Peter 1:23) because it is the only source of information we have about the Savior. The written Word reveals the living Word. The Lord was, in fact, speaking here of the Old Testament Scriptures, for there was nothing else at that time. These scriptures, however, are replete with testimonies of the coming Christ.
5:46 he wrote of me. Moses was considered by the Jews to have been the author of all the Pentateuch, the books of the Law. The modern speculations of higher criticism, which chop up the Pentateuch into segments supposedly written by various authors, all of whom lived long after Moses’ time, were unheard of among these ancient scholars (as well as Christ Himself!) who lived much closer to Moses’ time and had access to much more data on the subject than modern scholars. These writings include the book of Genesis, which actually was written by eye-witnesses, then handed down from patriarch to patriarch until it finally was incorporated by Moses with his four other books. Thus, even Genesis was (and is) considered to be one of the books of Moses, even though its tablets were only documented and edited by him.
5:47 believe not his writings. It is foolish to claim (though many modern Christians do) to believe the New Testament without also believing the Old Testament, including Genesis. Christ Himself accepted the Pentateuch as literal and inspired history. Thus, to reject the Genesis accounts of Creation and the Flood, for example, is tantamount to rejecting Christ as the omniscient Son of God.