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John 5:1–47 Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide John 5

Read: (Let everyone know that after you read this chapter out loud you will ask them each to give one point that stands out to them, or one question they have about the text).

After this, a Jewish festival took place, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Aramaic, which has five colonnades. 3 Within these lay a large number of the disabled—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been disabled for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and realized he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to get well?” 7 “Sir,” the disabled man answered, “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.” 8 “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk.” 9 Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath. The law prohibits you from picking up your mat.” 11 He replied, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”12 “Who is this man who told you, ‘Pick up your mat and walk’?” they asked. 13 But the man who was healed did not know who it was, because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 After this, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” 15 The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.

17 Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” 18 This is why the Jews began trying all the more to kill him: Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God. 19 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you; the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing, and he will show him greater works than these so that you will be amazed. 21 And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to whom he wants. 22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

24 “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.
25 “Truly I tell you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so also, he has granted to the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 “I can do nothing on my own. I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies about me, and I know that the testimony he gives about me is true. 33 You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. 34 I don’t receive human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 John, was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 “But I have a greater testimony than John’s because of the works that the Father has given me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about me that the Father has sent me. 37 The Father who sent me has himself testified about me. You have not heard his voice at any time, and you haven’t seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word residing in you, because you don’t believe the one he sent. 39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. 40 But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. 41 “I do not accept glory from people, 42 but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and yet you don’t accept me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe, since you accept glory from one another but don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe my words?”

Q1: What is one point that stands out to you in this chapter or what question do you have about it?

Q2: There were many who needed healing but it seems at this time only one person was healed. What are your thoughts/feelings about that? What if you were the one who was healed, how would you feel about the many who were not? What if you were one of the many who were not healed, how you would feel about the one who was? What would you think of Jesus and why he healed only one?

Q3: Why do you think Jesus told this man to “stop sinning or something worse may happen to him?” You don’t have to “know” just offer some ideas. The point of this question is to train to ask questions of Scripture that we would ask of any historical event we read about. We need to be curious and ask questions that help us take Scripture seriously.

Q4: Is it a struggle for you to understand why God chooses to heal/help/prosper some and not others? Why or why not? Certainly, this is a stumbling block for many who are not followers of Christ. How would you answer them if they asked why God chooses to bless or heal one person over another (like in this story)?

Q5: What are the claims Jesus makes about himself in this chapter. Have someone right them all down.

Q6: CS Lewis famously said that Jesus was either a liar, lunatic, or the Lord. Based on Jesus’ claims in this chapter, how do those seem to be the only possible options?

Q7: Jesus said that he will someday judge all people and they will experience condemnation or life. This is a hard teaching; it always has been. What do many (most) people today think about the idea of eternal judgment for those who do not believe the gospel? Is it hard for you to believe? Why or why not?

Q8: The implications for the claims of Christ are staggering, how does it make you evaluate your life? If you were to actually take Christ’s claims with absolute seriousness what, if anything, would change in how you spend your time, money, and efforts?