A Dichotomy of Belief (John 5)

A Dichotomy of Belief (John 5)

“Do you want to be healed (Jn. 5:6, ESV)?”

If you think about it, this seems like it should be a rather obvious question to ask of someone that has been paralyzed for 38 years. Most people would probably not even think twice about their response if they were asked such a thing. Why, then, do we see such a situation here? What is really going on in this conversation between Jesus and this sick man?

That is where the fun begins.

At this point in the Gospel of John, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Jesus is God. Outside of what we have already seen with some of His first “signs,” we also see an angry establishment of religious leaders. Not only can they not figure this fellow named Jesus out, but they are progressively becoming more and more alarmed at what He is doing. Jesus is stirring it up.

But Jesus is not doing what He is doing for the sake of making these Pharisees and others like them mad, He is illuminating the Kingdom of God … through himself. Consider just some of Jesus’ words we find in John 5:19-21 (ESV):

Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He himself is doing. And greater works than these will He show Him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will.

Jesus is doing a new thing, and all who come to Him are invited to partake in the greatest joy of all: Salvation has come! And while this is good news for those who see Jesus for who He is, it is bad news for those who do not. They are blind to the most incredible moment in history … even though it is right in front of their faces.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. … For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words? (Jn. 5:39-40, 46-37)

And there is the rub. In this final statement from Jesus in John 5, we see the most vital question of all. Do we believe the words and actions of Jesus? How about what the Bible says about Him dating clear back to the days of Moses and the books he is credited with writing from Genesis to Deuteronomy? Clearly, Jesus wants us to think about these things. And so as we turn to the next chapter in the Gospel of John, may we do likewise and continue our journey to see what the Holy Spirit has for us next.


  1. What do you find most interesting about this interaction between Jesus and the man He heals of the ailment that plagued him for 38 years?
  2. Why would Jesus deal the way that He did with the sick man?
  3. How would you describe the connection Jesus has with God the Father?
  4. What does this connection mean for the people who choose to follow Jesus?
  5. What are some of the biggest obstacles and issues the Pharisees are facing with this new reality of Jesus in their midst? How about for you individually?


Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review:

JOHN 19-20 – Watch message / Read: “The King’s Path to Peace

JOHN 18 – Watch message / Read: “A Portrait of a King

JOHN 16-17 – Watch message / Read: “After the Helper Comes

JOHN 15 – Watch message / Read: “Abide and Grow

JOHN 13-14 – Watch message / Read: “A Ministry Defined

JOHN 12 – Watch message / Read: “The Glory Commences

JOHN 11 – Watch message / Read: “A Certain Man Was Ill

JOHN 10 – Watch message / Read: “The Good Shepherd’s Task

JOHN 8-9 – Watch message / Read: “Life-changing Light on a Longstanding Truth

JOHN 7 – Watch message / Read: “The Festival of Truths”

JOHN 6 – Watch message / Read: “No Ordinary Type of Bread

JOHN 5 – Watch message / Read: “A Dichotomy of Belief

JOHN 3-4 – Watch message / Read: “Jesus Surprises on the Margins

JOHN 2 – Watch message / Read: “And So It Begins…”

JOHN 1:19-51 – Watch message / Read: “A Revealing Voice in the Wilderness”

JOHN 1:1-18 – Watch message / Read: “A Prologue to Deeper Beginnings”