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John 5. Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge. Broad Outline of Fourth Gospel. Ch. 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John Ch. 2-12 Jesus Before the World ("Book of Signs")

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john 5

John 5

Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge

broad outline of fourth gospel
Broad Outline of Fourth Gospel

Ch. 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John

Ch. 2-12 Jesus Before the World ("Book of Signs")

Theme: Through signs and discourses, Jesus reveals himself as the Son of God, sent to save the world, but is rejected by the world.

Ch. 2-4 Images of New Salvation

Ch. 5-10 Growing hostility

  • Christological claims become more explicit.
  • “The Jews” become increasingly hostile.
  • Organized around Jewish festivals, which Jesus fulfills:

w Sabbath (ch. 5)

w Passover (ch. 6)

w Tabernacles (ch. 7-8)

w Hanukkah (ch. 9-10)

Ch. 11-12 Final rejection

Ch. 13-20 Jesus Before the Disciples("Book of Passion/Glory")

Ch. 21 Appendix: Appearance in Galilee

chapter 5 jesus on the sabbath life giver and judge
Chapter 5Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge

Sabbath

  • Set in Jerusalem during unspecified festival – also Sabbath.
  • Sabbath was 7th day of rest – rooted in Creation story (even God rests on Sabbath).
  • Pharisees took very seriously – 39 categories of prohibited labor.
  • Rabbinic theology: Does God rest on Sabbath? Yes, but not entirely.
    • God’s work as Creator ceases on Sabbath (Gen. 2:2-3).
    • God’s work as Judge (providential care and rule over world) continues on Sabbath – as seen in fact that births and deaths occur on Sabbath.
  • Sabbath-observance was likely a key issue in friction between Johannine community and synagogue.
third sign healing a lame man 5 1 9 jesus on the sabbath life giver and judge
Third Sign: Healing a Lame Man (5:1-9)Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge
  • Setting (v. 1-3)

a. Pool by the Sheep Gate at Bethesda/Bethzatha/Bethsaida (v. 2).

      • Has been excavated – just north of temple.
      • Large public bath; surrounded by 4 porticos; divided by a fifth.

b. Gathering place for sick hoping for a cure (v. 3).

      • V. 4 is later textual gloss; not in best manuscripts.
      • V. 7 seems to presuppose some such popular belief.
  • Description of illness (v. 5-7)
    • Lame man has been ill 38 years.
    • Jesus takes initiative – asks if he wants to be made well.
    • Response seems hesitant – utter despair, hopelessness.
  • Cure: Command to stand, take mat, and walk(v. 8; cf. Mk. 2:9).
  • Demonstration (v. 9)
    • The lame man takes up mat and walks—Jesus gives him back his life.
    • Now we learn it was on Sabbath.
controversy with the jews 5 9 18 jesus on the sabbath life giver and judge
Controversy with “the Jews” (5:9-18)Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge
  • “The Jews” confront the cured man (v. 9-13).
    • Charge: violating Sabbath by carrying his mat.
    • Man shifts blame to his healer but doesn’t know who it was.
  • Jesus finds the man in the Temple (v. 14-15).
    • “Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”
      • Reflects trad. view of illness as punishment for sin (cf. Mk. 2:5, 9-11).
      • Existence of evil is due to sin in general, but we cannot assume direct connection between particular illnesses and particular sins.
      • Blind man’s condition is due neither to his sin nor to his parents’ (9:3).
      • Galileans slaughtered by Pilate and the 18 crushed by falling tower were not worse sinners than others (Lk. 13:1-5).
    • There is an “illness” worse than paralysis – sin – with greater consequences – separation from God.
    • Healed man tells “the Jews” it was Jesus who healed him.
controversy with the jews 5 9 18 jesus on the sabbath life giver and judge6
Controversy with “the Jews” (5:9-18)Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge
  • “The Jews” now persecute Jesus for violating Sabbath (v. 16-18).
    • Jesus’ defense: “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”
    • Rabbis: God’s work as Judge (providence) continues on Sabbath, as seen in births and deaths on Sabbath.
    • Jesus’ work on Sabbath is same as God’s – Life-giver and Judge.
    • Now “the Jews” seek to kill him.
discourse on jesus authority 5 19 47 jesus on the sabbath life giver and judge
Discourse on Jesus’ Authority (5:19-47)Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge
  • Unity of Father and Son (v. 19-20).
    • Son does only what the Father does.
    • “Parable of the carpenter’s shop” (Dodd).
    • “Functional unity”: do same works and deserve same honor.
    • Jesus has no authority independent of God.
    • His authority comes out of total dependence and submission – one with God in will and purpose (cf. v. 30).
  • Two works of Father are entrusted to Son (v. 21-23):
    • Giving life – Jesus’ healings are signs of power to give eternal life.
    • Pronouncing judgment – occurs in people’s response to Jesus.
  • Judgment, resurrection, and eternal life (v. 24-30).
    • Realized eschatology (v. 24-25): resurrection, judgment, eternal life occur now by faith in Jesus.
    • Future eschatology (v. 28-29): same themes in futuristic language; future consummation.
    • Link between the two (v. 26-27): Son of Man who will come to judge confronts us now in Jesus.
discourse on jesus authority 5 19 47 jesus on the sabbath life giver and judge8
Discourse on Jesus’ Authority (5:19-47)Jesus on the Sabbath: Life-Giver and Judge
  • Four witnesses to Jesus’ authority (v. 31-47).
    • Note trial-like atmosphere – concerned with rules of valid testimony.
    • Rabbinic tradition considered self-testimony and testimony of one witness invalid (Dt. 19:15).
    • Jesus denies self-testimony, but claims four witnesses who testify on his behalf:
      • John the Baptist (v. 33-35)
      • Jesus’ works (v. 36)
      • The Father (v. 37-38)
      • Scripture (v. 39-40)
    • Accusation of the accusers (v. 41-47).
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