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)