This is the most comprehensive chapter on Jesus proclaiming to the world who he truly is. You will find no other Scripture that highlights the person of Jesus, from the mouth of Jesus, than this one. The chapter begins with the healing of a man who is laying by the pool waiting for, as some manuscripts say, an angel of the Lord who would periodically come into the water to bathe and stir up the water. First one in wins! The man complains to Jesus that he has no one to help him into the water. But did you hear the question Jesus asks the man: “Do you want to be made well?” The implication was: are you sure that you want to enter the mainstream of society when you could remain as you are, crippled, without hope, but also without responsibility and having people serving you on a daily basis. It is an insulting question with ramifications that are equally disturbing. Who in their right mind would ever choose the life that he is living, even if not everyone would be equally motivated? Even if we are not disabled, there are certainly times when we do not want to be healed, at least not just yet. We want to wallow in our self pity and allow people to see the true difficulties that life holds for us. It becomes a prison for us then. Jesus does not address the man’s complaint of there being no one to help him. He doesn’t even give him a choice or allow him to say either yes or no, I want to be healed. He just heals him.
Above you can find the pool where Jesus healed the blind man. It is still there and you can see the five porticoes and you can imagine what it would have looked like with the people draped around it looking and waiting for the healing that they hoped would come. Did you notice the conversation that takes place when the healed man is confronted by the religious leaders? They chastise him for carrying his mat on the Sabbath, which is okay, because you were not supposed to do that. But when he responds that he was healed and that the man who healed him told him to carry it their response is really telling.
Instead of focusing on the fact that this man was healed, which should have stopped them in their tracks since it was a cause for celebration, they asked him who it was who told him to carry his mat. The question was not: “Who healed you?” The question was: “Who told you to carry your mat?” I would think that if I heard that someone was healed I would be focusing on the healing and not on the breaking of the law. This is what the pastor said this past Sunday. Sometimes we are so focused on the rules and the regulations that we miss the compassion and the miracle that Jesus provides us in relationships.
If you then take this chapter and read from vs. 17 all the way through the end you hear Jesus speak about who he is. This is crucial. Here he tells those who would listen that he is equal to the Father. Here he speaks about the raising of the dead and that the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. He defines himself as greater than John and being directly sent by the Father, in fact that he is equal to the Father. Only John provides us with such an extensive understanding of who Jesus is.