John 5:5 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentIt was very commendable that the rich men did not engross this pool, and the benefit of it, to themselves, but suffered poor people to come to it. In this college of cripples, a poor man, that had been lame thirty-eight years, was found, who wanted strength to help himself, wanting money to hire others, and others wanting mercy to help him. Christ takes pity on him, and because he could not go to health, health is graciously brought to him, and that by the hand of the great physician Christ Jesus.
Observe here, 1. That not only are men's bodies subject to innumerable infirmities and diseases, but it pleases God, for wise ends, to continue some of his servants labouring under bodily weakness for many years together, yea, even all the days of their life. Here is a poor man, for eight and thirty years together, under the discipline of God's rod by bodily weakness.
Observe, 2. That it is the duty of the afflicted, to wait upon God in a diligent use of all means which God has appointed for their help and healing: as to trust to means, is to neglect God; so to neglect the means, is to tempt God. This poor man, no doubt, had made use of the means before, yet waits at the pool now.
Observe, 3. Though Christ well knew the ease of this afflicted person, and wanted no information, yet he asks him, if he were willing to be made whole: to make him sensible of his misery, to quicken his desires after healing, and to raise his expectations of help from him. Though Christ knows our wants, yet he takes no notice of them, till we make them known to him by prayer.
Observe, 4. The time when Christ wrought this miracle of healing upon the impotent man, it was upon the sabbath-day; and, as evidence of the certainty of the cure, Christ bids him, Take up your bed and walk.
Our Saviour's miracles were real and beneficial, they were obvious to sense, and would bear the examination of all persons. The miracles which the church of Rome boast of will net bear the examination of our senses: their great miracle, transubstantiation, is so far from being obvious to sense, that it contradicts the sense and reason of mankind, and is the greatest affront to human nature that ever the world was acquainted with. And our Saviour's working this and many other miracles on the sabbath-day, was for the testification of the miracles to all persons that would take notice of them.
Observe, 5. How unjustly the Jews tax the cripple that was healed with the breach of the sabbath, for taking up his bed, and walking on the sabbath-day? whereas the law only forbade carrying burthens on the sabbath-day for profit, in way of trade: but this man's carrying his bed, was a testimony of God's goodness and mercy towards him, and of his gratitude and thankfulness towards God.
Hypocritical and superstitious persons often-times pretend much zeal for observing the letter of the law, little respecting the moral sense and signification of it. Besides, our Saviour has a mind to let the Jews know that he was Lord of the sabbath, and that he hath power over it, and could dispense with it as he thought good.
Observe, lastly, The great modesty and humility of our blessed Saviour, how hateful all ostentation and vain-glory was unto him; for having wrought this famous miracle before the people at a public time, the feast of the passover, to shun all applause from the multitude, he conveys himself privately away from them: Jesus conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Our Saviour's business was to do much good, and make but little noise; he sought not his own glory.
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.