The Gospel of John contains many deep spiritual insights that are found in none of the other three Gospels. John wrote this Gospel probably in the AD 90s when he was very old and likely after all the other apostles were already dead, and some 60 years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua. By that time, he had seen a lot of water go under the bridge—both good and bad, so to speak, and had developed many keen and unique insights that come only with time, experience, understanding and wisdom. Please enjoy a few of the golden nuggets in John’s writings that this disciple of Yeshua has discovered over the years and is now sharing with you below.
John 5:2, In Hebrew. (Gr. Hebraisti) This phrase indicates that either John was originally written in Greek, or it was written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek with the insertion of this editorial comment.
John 5:4, Troubled/stirred the waters. The Greek word for stir or trouble can mean “to agitate, disquiet, make restless, cause inward commotion, to strike one’s spirit with fear, perplex the mind, render anxious or distressed or to cause dread.” The troubling of the waters at the Bethesda Pool was more than just a breeze causing some riffles over the waters. Those at the pool’s edge must have sensed something supernatural when the angel troubled waters—that something supernatural was about to occur. Perhaps they sensed the presence of Elohim in their spirit. The outward stirring of the waters (with the inward stirring of the spirit?) coupled with their acting in faith to get to the waters to be healed brought about healing. What is the lesson here for us? When we sense the presence of the Almighty to heal us, we must step forth in faith seeking Elohim’s healing touch in our lives. Our seeking might result in our finding heaven’s miracle for our lives at that exact moment.
John 5:12, Sin no more. Sometimes our physical infirmity is a result of sin was case in this verse, and sometimes sin is not the cause of the infirmity as was the case with the man who was born blind (John 9:2–3). Only by divine revelation (or by the Holy Spirit gift of the word of knowledge) was Yeshua able know the cause of an ailment when praying for someone’s healing. Yeshua’s healing of the man at the Bethesda Pool was an act of divine grace by Yeshua. Yeshua didn’t require the man to repent of his sin before healing him, although he advised him sin no more, so that a worse judgment wouldn’t come on him later.
John 5:18, [Yeshua]…broke the Sabbath. (Also see notes on Matt 12:1–14.) Allow me to share an interesting and sad, but true story from my life about a false Christian teacher that I went head-to-head with. Many years ago, I was in a meeting where a Christian Bible teacher was giving a message on the end times. In the middle of his teaching and totally out of context, he quoted this passage from John and claimed that Yeshua broke the Sabbath. There was a rustle in the audience of about 300 people. A little later, he made the same statement again and began to deride the Sabbath. This time there was an audible moan from some in the audience—many of whom were Sabbath keepers. A feeling of being hit in the gut went through me. A little later, he made the same statement again, and continued to bash Sabbath observance. This time, I could hold my peace no longer, and I stood up and challenged him in the middle of the meeting. I told him that to say that Yeshua had broken the Sabbath was to call Yeshua a sinner, and that Yeshua had not broken the Sabbath, but some Jewish legal traditions (or halakhah) pertaining to the Sabbath. The speaker was flustered and had no response, and the host of the meeting decided to take an intermission.
A year later, it was announced that this Bible teacher had suddenly and unexpectedly dropped dead in the pulpit while preaching. One can’t help but wonder if he had come under divine judgment for blasphemously teaching that Yeshua was a sinner by supposedly breaking the fourth commandment.
Had this false teacher simply pulled down a concordance from his bookshelf and looked up the word broke in the Greek, and had read John’s statement in verse 12 in the context of verses 8–10, he wouldn’t have been teaching this blasphemous heresy about our Master and Savior!
Here is the explanation of this passage: The word broke is the Greek word luo meaning “to loose, untie someone or something bound, to dissolve, destroy.” According to The Theological Dictionary of the NT, luo means “to free from prison, open something closed; destroy fetters, foundations, walls; to release.” What Yeshua was breaking was the Jews’ extra-Torah legal traditions that made the Sabbath a burden by prohibiting the alleviation of human suffering and need on this day (John 5:8–10). He was in no way violating the actual Torah, since there is no Torah-law prohibiting healing on the Sabbath or carrying one’s bed role. In attempting to follow the Torah through men’s traditions, many of the Jews of Yeshua’s day had actually omitted the weightier matters of the Torah (justice, mercy and faith, see Matt 23:23), and had forgotten that YHVH is more concerned with heart issues rather than religious legalism, since he desires mercy over sacrifice, and the knowledge of Elohim over burnt offerings (Hos 6:6).
Any tradition of man that violates the letter and the spirit of the Torah is an illegal tradition. Yeshua was only violating an illegal tradition of men. Therefore, in the eyes of the Jews he was breaking the Torah. In reality, he was loosing (not breaking) the Torah from the traditions of men that had corrupted the true intent of the Sabbath law. A better translation of this verse would be, “he…loosened/untied the Sabbath [from men’s legalistic traditions].” Yeshua didn’t come to set men free from the Sabbath. He came to set the Sabbath free from men’s unbiblical traditions.
Did Yeshua Break the Law?
According to most of our English Bibles, Yeshua broke the Torah-law of Moses. For example, we read in John’s Gospel,
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18, NKJV)
When the Bible says that Yeshua”broke” the law, one needs to do one’s homework and look up the word “broke” in the Greek. It is the word luo and its primary definition is “to loosen” and NOT “to violate, destroy or annul.” The Bible calls violation of the laws of Elohim a sin (e.g. 1 John 3:4). By saying that Yeshua broke the Torah, one is making Yeshua into a violator of the Torah (i.e. a sinner), and this is blasphemy. In so doing, one is using one’s faulty understanding of the Scriptures and of the original biblical languages to then justify one’s own breaking of the Torah-law. This too is sin.
It is shameful that the English translators of the Bible have used the wrong English words and have made Yeshua into a sinner in their faulty translations. Their misguided translating activities finds its roots in the anti-semitic theologies going back to the post-apostolic early church fathers, and it caters to the innate hatred for YHVH’s law that resides in the unregenerate nature of all humans as per Rom 8:7 and Jer 17:9. Those who agree with these ungodly and unbiblical doctrines of men have sadly bought into this lie because they haven’t done their homework and studied what the Bible really says in the original languages behind the English translations. This is to their shame, and, in reality, they have bought into doctrines of devils by falling prey to the devil-serpent’s lie at the tree of knowledge in the garden when he conned man into questioning and then into violating the commands of Elohim. Men continue to do the same thing down to our time.
In their haste to show that Elohim’s Torah-laws are no longer binding upon Christians today, some Christins will also point to other statements that Yeshua made in order to supposedly prove his disregard for the Torah-law. For example, these people will often cite Matthew chapter four:
At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Matt 12:1–8, NKJV)
A cursory, naive or misinformed reading of this passage might lead one to the conclusion that Yeshua was sanctioning the violations of the laws of Elohim given to man through Moses. If this were true, then Yeshua’s statements in Matt 5:17–19 contradict his statements in Matt 12 making him into a liar. If so, he is a sinner. Elohim forbid…may this never be so! In Matt 5 Yeshua said,
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17–19)
Matthew 12:1–8 in no way indicates that Yeshua is sanctioning the violation of the Torah-law. A study of all of Yeshua’s words regarding the Torah in the Gospels will show that in every way he obeyed the Torah and upheld its validity for all people for all time. The same is true of the apostolic writers. I have written dozens of articles and made numerous videos exploring this topic and proving this point for those who are honest truth-seekers and care to become educated on this subject instead of following the traditions and doctrines of men by which the word of Elohim has been made of none effect.
In reality, Yeshua’s statements in Matthew 12 show us two things. In the case of David eating the showbread, in order to save one’s life, it is permissible to loosen the laws of Elohim in exceptional circumstances. This is analogous to the ox-in-the-ditch provision in the Torah that allows a person to work on the Sabbath by extricating an ox that has fallen into a ditch on that day and can’t get out. This is no different from now calling a tow truck on the Sabbath to tow your car after you have wrecked it or gotten stuck en route to church services.
Similarly, the biblical Sabbath laws prohibit working on the Sabbath; the Sabbath is a day of rest from one’s secular activities. However, when the Levitical priests were doing their priestly duties on the Sabbath (i.e. butchering animals and tending to the tabernacle service), YHVH didn’t consider this to be work, since they were ministering to him as he commanded. This was not secular work. This was YHVH’s work—the ministry. Unlike secular work, their work was bringing people closer to Elohim because it focused on him. This can’t said of our secular work, which we do for the primary purpose of earning a living.
Make no mistake, doing YHVH’s ministry is hard work! Praying for people, studying the Bible, writing, answering questions, ministering to people is physically, emotionally and mentally demanding and enervating! This is like the pastor who ministers to his congregation on the Sabbath. It is tiring work! For years, I pastored a local congregation. Many times, I’d much rather have stayed home and rested on the Shabbat, instead of spending eight to ten hours at the church building preaching, teaching, counseling, answering questions, ministering to people, setting up and tearing down. I was usually more tired after Shabbat services had ended then I was after working a hard day in my tree service cutting down, climbing and pruning trees!
Finally, one thing is certain. We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of men. It’s a struggle between the lies of the Evil One who comes as an angel of light against the immutable and divinely revealed truth of Elohim. This battle is hard fought and hard won. Those of us in the trenches know it all too well!
John 5:24, Has everlasting life. This has to be one of the most sublime promises found anywhere in the pages of Scripture. Hearing Yeshua’s words and then believing in him is not a one time event that occurs at the beginning of one’s spiritual walk. Elsewhere, the Scriptures present this as a life long process that continues until one’s last breath with the end results being everlasting life.
John 5:25, 28, The hour is coming, and now is. This seems to be a double entendre by Yeshua. Those who hear the gospel message in this present life will pass from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. Moreover, in the future, at the resurrection, these same people will then pass from physical life to immortality (v. 28). Here Yeshua indicates that salvation is, in one sense, a two step process. A man must first get saved or spiritually regenerated in his spirit and soul (mind, will and emotions), and then he will receive immorality when his physical body becomes immortal at the resurrection of the dead at Messiah’s second coming.
John 5:29, Done good …evil. Obedience to YHVH and his word (including believing in the gospel message of Yeshua, repenting of sin, loving Yeshua by keeping his Torah commandments) can all be summed up as “doing good.” How one fares at Elohim’s final judgment will be predicated on whether one has “done good” during one’s lifetime. The opposite of doing good is doing evil. Evil, in a biblical context, is not believing in the gospel message of Yeshua, not repenting of sin, and not loving Yeshua by keeping his Torah commandments.
John 5:37, Neither heard his voice…seen his form. Whose voice, one may ask, did the Israelites hear at the base of Mount Sinai, or whose form did Moses see while on Mount Sinai? It wasn’t the Father. It was Yeshua, the eternal Word of Elohim in his preincarnate form. The mainstream Christian idea that the Father was the one heard and seen at Mount Sinai makes this verse a lie.
John 5:46–47, Believed Moses. These two verses at the end of chapter five can easily be overlooked, but their implications are huge. Quite simply, Yeshua is saying that those who don’t believe the writings of Moses (i.e. the Torah) won’t believe the words of Yeshua who himself upheld the Torah and taught its validity in the lives of his disciples.
This then begs the following question: Where does this leave all those who claim to be followers of Yeshua, but who believe that the law of Moses was abrogated? It’s hard to be absolutely black and white on this matter, since only YHVH can judge the heart condition of each individual, for undoubtedly many who claim the law was “done away with” still actually adhere to many of the law’s tenets (e.g. you shall not steal, murder, lie, commit adultery, worship idols and you shall honor your parents, etc.) and are thus obedient to the law to one degree or another.
However, we can safely say that it’s a matter of degrees. That is to say, to the degree that we don’t believe the words of Moses, we don’t believe the words of Yeshua who was a proponent (and, in reality, as the Word of Elohim, the Originator) of the Torah-law of Moses.
John makes a similar statement in his first epistle from which we can deduce the following: To the degree we don’t keep the (Torah) commandments of Elohim, we won’t know him; that is to say, conversely, if we keep his commandments which are a reflection of his character, will and heart, we will be able to know what pleases him, which in turn will determine the depth of our spiritual relationship with him (1 John 2:4).
In reality, these should be simple concepts to grasp and put into practice in one’s spiritual walk, yet, sadly, most religious leaders have misled Christians to believe anything and everything but the simple truth of the Bible and instead have concocted convoluted man-made doctrines and theological theories resulting in unbiblical church traditions by which they have made the word of Elohim of no effect (Mark 7:13). It’s time for Elohim’s people to come out of the Babylonian church system with its webbed mixture of truth along with half-truths and outright lies (Rev 18:4).
Moreover, Yeshua is saying here that Moses’ prophecies about the coming Messiah formed the foundation for all the subsequent biblical messianic prophecies and the eventual coming of Yeshua the Messiah. If one couldn’t believe these prophecies of Moses, how would they recognize, much less believe in, Yeshua when he did come?
Evil, like water, takes the path of least resistance.
We must also remember Mark 2:27 regarding the Sabbath.
The Temple is above the Shabbat and human need is above the Temple.