How the Healing of the Infirm Man was a Sign to the Jews

When Jesus saw the man lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” This was God’s question to the nation of Israel: Did they want to be spiritually well? Did they want to turn to their ancient Liberator with all their hearts and be free of their stony hearts and its tragic consequences? His question to them still stands.

The 8 miraculous works of Jesus that John chooses for his Gospel, under inspiration of the Spirit, are indications of greater truths applicable to the nation. That is why John only uses the Greek word for “signs” for the miracles of Jesus. This is the third one (the first one is the water into wine in Cana, the second is the healing of the nobleman’s son).

As mentioned in the prior post, the man was infirm for 38 years. He signifies the spiritual infirmity that the Israelites exhibited when they refused to enter the promised land after they arrived at its borders (see Numbers 13 and 14). For all their experience with God: seeing all the great and terrifying wonders that were done in Egypt in judgment of their captors; their miraculous escape through the Red Sea; the rock that gushed forth water; the manna that fell with the dew every morning except on Sabbath; the visit at Sinai with God as He came mightily upon the smoking and quaking mountain and spoke from Heaven over them — none of these things caused the adult generation to trust wholeheartedly in this God of their fathers called Yahweh. Continue reading “How the Healing of the Infirm Man was a Sign to the Jews”

The healing of the infirm man of John 5

The least the Jews could have done at first was to ask why he was carrying the pallet. They must have realized that it was an unusual thing to carry in the performance of servile work. It wasn’t a hammer, ladder or a basket of wheat or barley. They weren’t making “a righteous judgment but only one of appearance.” This is exactly what Jesus said to them when he chided them at a different feast in Jerusalem concerning this healing. See John 7:23-24.

In his Gospel, John shows us how Jesus came to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God. The opposition and outright hatred of the Jewish authorities escalated against Jesus throughout his ministry. John centers on His enemies in Judea and its capital, Jerusalem, where He was to die. John selected 3 miraculous signs in or near Jerusalem to illustrate this point – the healing of the infirm man; the healing of the man born blind; and the raising of Lazarus.

There are  5 other great signs, making a total of 8 reported by John in his Gospel. Seven were before the Resurrection, 1 was after. (The water turned wine in Cana of Galilee; the healing of the Nobleman’s son at Capernaum; the feeding of the 5000; the walking on the water of the sea of Galilee; and then, after the resurrection, the miracle catch of 153 fish). 6 of them are reported only by John, 2 of them (the feeding of the 5000 and the walking on the water) are found in other gospels. 

Each of these signs were followed by confrontations with the Jewish leaders in which the animosity against Jesus grew, and in which Jesus declares His divinity to them. Both the deeds and the words of Jesus were proof to His people that their long ago-promised Messiah had finally arrived. The offer of Messiah’s Kingdom was given in the Israelites best interests, but the people refused the offer. This was just as God had privately counseled because He wanted the Gentiles (us) to share the commonwealth of Israel. The sign we will look at is in chapter 5 about the healing of a man infirm for 38 years. Continue reading “The healing of the infirm man of John 5”