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John 5:8-14

Context
5:8 Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat 1  and walk.” 5:9 Immediately the man was healed, 2  and he picked up his mat 3  and started walking. (Now that day was a Sabbath.) 4 

5:10 So the Jewish leaders 5  said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and you are not permitted to carry your mat.” 6  5:11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat 7  and walk.’” 5:12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your mat 8  and walk’?” 9  5:13 But the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped out, since there was a crowd in that place.

5:14 After this Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “Look, you have become well. Don’t sin any more, 10  lest anything worse happen to you.”

John 5:17-18

Context
5:17 So he 11  told 12  them, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.” 13  5:18 For this reason the Jewish leaders 14  were trying even harder to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God.

1 tn Or “pallet,” “mattress,” “cot,” or “stretcher.” Some of these items, however, are rather substantial (e.g., “mattress”) and would probably give the modern English reader a false impression.

2 tn Grk “became well.”

3 tn Or “pallet,” “mattress,” “cot,” or “stretcher.” See the note on “mat” in the previous verse.

4 tn Grk “Now it was Sabbath on that day.”

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

5 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” In NT usage the term ᾿Ιουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) may refer to the entire Jewish people, the residents of Jerusalem and surrounding territory, the authorities in Jerusalem, or merely those who were hostile to Jesus. Here the author refers to the Jewish authorities or leaders in Jerusalem. (For further information see R. G. Bratcher, “‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” BT 26 [1975]: 401-9).

6 tn Or “pallet,” “mattress,” “cot,” or “stretcher.” See the note on “mat” in v. 8.

7 tn Or “pallet,” “mattress,” “cot,” or “stretcher.” See the note on “mat” in v. 8.

8 tc While a number of mss, especially the later ones (Ac C3 D Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï latt sy), include the words τον κραβ(β)ατ(τ)ον σου (ton krab(b)at(t)on sou, “your mat”) here, the earliest and best (Ì66,75 א B C* L) do not. Nevertheless, in the translation, it is necessary to supply the words due to the demands of English style, which does not typically allow for understood or implied direct objects as Greek does.

9 tn Grk “Pick up and walk”; the object (the mat) is implied but not repeated.

10 tn Since this is a prohibition with a present imperative, the translation “stop sinning” is sometimes suggested. This is not likely, however, since the present tense is normally used in prohibitions involving a general condition (as here) while the aorist tense is normally used in specific instances. Only when used opposite the normal usage (the present tense in a specific instance, for example) would the meaning “stop doing what you are doing” be appropriate.

11 tc ‡ Most witnesses (Ì66 A D L Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï latt co) have ᾿Ιησοῦς (Ihsou", “Jesus”) here, while generally better witnesses (Ì75 א B W {0141} 892 1241 pbo) lack the name. Although it is possible that Alexandrian scribes deleted the name due to proclivities to prune, this is not as likely as other witnesses adding it for clarification, especially since multiple strands of the Alexandrian text are represented in the shorter reading. NA27 places the word in brackets, indicating some doubts as to authenticity.

12 tn Grk “answered.”

13 snMy Father is working until now, and I too am working.” What is the significance of Jesus’ claim? A preliminary understanding can be obtained from John 5:18, noting the Jewish authorities’ response and the author’s comment. They sought to kill Jesus, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was also calling God his own Father, thus making himself equal with God. This must be seen in the context of the relation of God to the Sabbath rest. In the commandment (Exod 20:11) it is explained that “In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Philo, based on the LXX translation of Exod 20:11, denied outright that God had ever ceased his creative activity. And when Rabban Gamaliel II, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar ben Azariah, and R. Akiba were in Rome, ca. a.d. 95, they gave as a rebuttal to sectarian arguments evidence that God might do as he willed in the world without breaking the Sabbath because the entire world was his private residence. So even the rabbis realized that God did not really cease to work on the Sabbath: Divine providence remained active on the Sabbath, otherwise, all nature and life would cease to exist. As regards men, divine activity was visible in two ways: Men were born and men died on the Sabbath. Since only God could give life and only God could deal with the fate of the dead in judgment, this meant God was active on the Sabbath. This seems to be the background for Jesus’ words in 5:17. He justified his work of healing on the Sabbath by reminding the Jewish authorities that they admitted God worked on the Sabbath. This explains the violence of the reaction. The Sabbath privilege was peculiar to God, and no one was equal to God. In claiming the right to work even as his Father worked, Jesus was claiming a divine prerogative. He was literally making himself equal to God, as 5:18 goes on to state explicitly for the benefit of the reader who might not have made the connection.

14 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” See the note on the phrase “Jewish leaders” in v. 10.



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