The Healing at the Pool
Read John 5:1–18. Chapter 5 tells of a man who had been sick for 38 years, but whose hope for healing was still strong. There was a certain pool of water where people could be healed. However, whenever the water was stirred by an angel, only the first person to get into the pool was made well. This man could never get into the pool quickly enough to be healed. But after Jesus spoke with the man, He healed him.
Some of the religious leaders were angry because Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. They kept Sabbath as a day of worship and did not believe that any work should be done on that day. These leaders were more concerned that the man was violating their religious law than about the wonderful miracle that Jesus had performed to change the man’s life. They thought more about their traditions than about the man who needed help. It is true that one day of the week should be set aside for worship, but it is equally critical to help people in need.
The Authority of the Son
Read John 5:19–29. God gave His Son Jesus the power and right to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to forgive sins, and even to judge the world. Verse 24 gives a wonderful promise that all who hear Jesus’ words and believe in Him will not have to be judged for their sins. They have been forgiven and have received eternal life (John 17:3). They will not have to stand condemned before Jesus because they have believed in Him as Savior.
Witnesses to Jesus
John 5:30–47 speaks of the witnesses to Jesus. A witness to Jesus is someone or something that tells about Him and demonstrates who He is. All the witnesses in this chapter testify that Jesus is the Son of God.
John the Baptist was one of these witnesses (verse 33). The works that Jesus did witnessed for Him (verse 36), giving proof that He was God’s Son. The Father also gave witness (verse 37). Then the written Word of God was a witness (verse 39). Jesus is not an ordinary man. He is the One sent by the Father to give salvation and eternal life.
More Miracles of Jesus
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Read John 6:1–15. Matthew, another of Jesus’ disciples, tells us more about this miracle in chapter 14 of his Gospel. Jesus and His disciples had gone to a lonely place to get away from the crowds. But the people followed Him, taking their sick with them so He would heal them. And Jesus did heal them, for He had compassion on the people. It was late. Everyone was hungry, and there was no place to get anything to eat. Jesus taught many lessons by what He did next. He showed that He can take care of our needs.
The word here translated “loaves” means very small loaves or buns. The five buns of bread and two small fish were a good lunch for a hungry boy. When Jesus asked for the bread and fish, the boy offered his lunch. With Jesus’ blessing, this lunch became enough for 5,000+ people to eat. We never lose by giving what we have to God. He always returns to us much more than what we give to Him.
It was after Jesus thanked God for what He had that the food was multiplied. As we thank God for what He has given us, He makes it enough to meet our needs. The disciples, too, helped in the miracle. As they received the broken food from Jesus’ hands, it grew and multiplied to meet the need. The Word of God is sometimes called bread and meat. As we share His Word with others, God blesses it and makes it to satisfy spiritually hungry persons.
Jesus always did things in an orderly way. He organized everything so the great crowd could be fed without confusion. Then He had the disciples gather up what was left over, teaching that we should not be wasteful.
The people were amazed by this miracle. The Messiah that God had promised was going to be a prophet like Moses. Moses had prayed, and God had given the people food—manna in the wilderness. Jesus, too, had miraculously fed a great crowd in the wildness. He must be the Prophet, the Messiah. They wanted to make Him king.
But Jesus had not come to overthrow the Roman government and become the ruler of His country. He had come to overthrow the power of sin and darkness. He would become the Lord and King of many lives, but His kingdom was spiritual, not political. The people could not understand this, so
He went to another place.
Jesus Walks on Water
Read John 6:16–21. Going back across Lake Galilee, the disciples were afraid because a storm was about to sink their boat. Jesus walked on the water and got into the boat to save them. Who else can walk atop a sea or stop a storm? No one else; only Jesus! Jesus can do anything because He is the Son of God.
Having Jesus in the boat compares to having Jesus in our lives. With Him we are safe in the storms of trouble. He takes away fear and gives us peace. David, biblical king of Israel, wrote, “This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6).
The People Seek the Bread of Life
Read John 6:22–59. Jesus was very popular, and crowds followed Him wherever He went. They thought He was just the kind of person they needed for a king. With His miracle power He could heal all the sick, feed them, and they would not have to work.
At that time Jesus’ home was in the city of Capernaum on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The crowd that had wanted to make Him leader in a revolutionary movement followed Him there. But Jesus would not consider their offer. Later, His enemies accused Him of trying to stir up a revolution, but the people knew how foolish that charge was.
Jesus taught that God wants people to believe in Him. Though the people wanted Jesus to feed them manna, He let them know that He had something better in mind. He was the Bread of Life whom God had sent from heaven.
Some people did not understand when Jesus said that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. This is another example of figurative language. Jesus meant that the people had to take Him into their lives just as they took food into their bodies. Food gave them physical life. He would give them eternal life.
At a later time Jesus gave His disciples bread and wine and told them that these represented His body and His blood. He told them to remember His death every time they ate together in this way. So today we have the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion that recognizes this remembrance.
The Words of Eternal Life
Read John 6:60–71. Some of those who start out to follow Jesus today get offended and turn away from Him. Jesus asked the disciples if they would leave Him. Peter replied, “‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (v. 68).
To have eternal life, we must know Jesus, not just know about Him. Many people know of Jesus without knowing Him personally as their Savior. Jesus prayed, “‘This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’” (John 17:3).
Do you know Jesus as your own Savior? If not, pray right now, confessing your sins to Him and asking God to save you. Your hope of salvation must be not in what you have done, but in what Jesus has done for you.
Jesus and the Brothers
John 7:1–9 records what different people thought about Jesus. Some did not want to believe in Him. Others were blinded by their own ideas that did not agree with Jesus’ teaching. And some hated Him because He preached against sin.
At this time Jesus’ own brothers did not believe that He was the Messiah. Later they did. Many of Jesus’ enemies were converted after His resurrection. Similarly, some of those who are enemies of the gospel now may believe in Jesus if we pray for them. Jesus told His followers to love their enemies and pray for them.
At the Feast of Tabernacles
Read John 7:10–24. Seven verses in this chapter tell us that Jesus was in danger. (See verses 1, 13, 19, 25, 30, 32, and 44.) In spite of the danger, He kept on teaching and went to a religious celebration in Jerusalem.
Today, many of Jesus’ followers are in danger in some countries because Christianity is not permitted or is against the law. We should pray that God will give them courage to keep on teaching, preaching, and witnessing.
Jesus’ teaching surprised the leaders. They knew He had not attended their schools of higher education. The truths He taught came from God.
Verse 17 shows that if we are willing to do what God wants us to do, He will let us know the truth. Many people who do not believe the gospel cannot recognize the truth because they are not willing to obey God. Even some who did not believe that God exists and is relevant today have found Him by praying sincerely.
Some were still complaining that Jesus had healed sick people on the Sabbath. One law sometimes seems to be against another. When this happens, Jesus taught that we should obey the most important one. For example, the Law said that no work was to be done on the Sabbath; it said also that every male child was to be circumcised on the eighth day. If the eighth day was a Sabbath, the people broke the law of the Sabbath in order to keep the law of circumcision. Jesus taught that the law of love and kindness was more important than the law of the Sabbath.
Is He the Messiah?
Read John 7:25–31. The people were surprised to see Jesus teaching in the temple because they knew that the religious leaders were trying to kill Him. But the leaders could not kill Him until it was God’s time for Him to die. Jesus knew that God had sent Him and would help Him to finish His work. So He kept on teaching in the temple. Jesus knew the impact of His words in receptive hearts. By following the will of the Father, people would continue to believe in Him, coming to experience the eternal and abundant life He had promised.
Guards Sent to Arrest Jesus
Read John 7:32–36. The fact that more people were believing on Jesus made the Pharisees most determined to kill Him. Jesus knew their intentions; He had come to earth to die for our sins. Referring to His death, Jesus talked about going to a place where they could not follow Him. His work would
be over then. He would return to heaven to be with His Father. Those who follow Jesus will be with Him in His glory when they die.
Streams of Living Water
Jesus said, “‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink’” (John 7:37). We have already learned that Jesus compared salvation to the water of life. Verse 39 makes it clear that here the water was being compared to the Holy Spirit, who would be given to believers after they were saved. After
someone believes in the Savior, that person should desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the book of Acts, we see that believers were filled with the Holy Spirit after their salvation experience.
Division Among the People
Read John 7:40–44. People had different opinions about Jesus then, just as they do today. Those were right who said that He was the Prophet whom God had promised, the Messiah, the Son of God.
Jesus lived in the province of Galilee, but He had been born in Bethlehem. Both Luke and Matthew list Jesus’ ancestors, showing that He was a descendant of David. He fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah.
Unbelief of the Religious Leaders
Read John 7:45–52. The Pharisees wanted to have Jesus arrested, especially since one of the guards confessed, “‘No one ever spoke the way this man does.’” No one could speak as Jesus did because He was God in human form. We should learn about what Jesus says in so many aspects of life and put His teachings above whatever anyone else says. The religious leaders had the opportunity to believe the truth, but they rejected it.