The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)

Lesson 13


(John 5:30-47)


1.     Two weeks ago we saw that our Lord healed a certain impotent man by the pool of Bethesda (5:1-9).  This should have been cause for great celebration.  The man had this infirmity for 38 years (5:5).

2.     But rather than rejoice, the religious leaders were upset by the miracle, especially since it happened on the Sabbath day.  From this point on, they were determined to kill our Lord (5:10-18).

3.     Our Lord did not argue with them over the Sabbath, but rather He stressed His authority as the Son of God.  As the Son of God He was equal in power and authority with God the Father. To the Jewish religious leaders, this was considered blasphemy (5:18).

4.     Last week we saw that God the Father has committed all judgment unto the Lord Jesus Christ (5:22).  Furthermore, our Lord said that He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father (5:23).

5.     First John 2:23 says, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.”

6.     Regarding the charge of blasphemy, our Lord defended Himself on the ground that He was not bearing witness about Himself (5:30, 31).

7.     The Scofield Bible says, “In John 5:31 our Lord, defending His Messianic claims before Jews who denied those claims, accepts the biblical rule of evidence, which required ‘two witnesses’” (p. 1121).

8.     Our Lord had five witnesses, including Himself.  The Scofield Bible lists just four witnesses because it starts with John the Baptist (5:33).

9.     Tonight we will begin with our Lord Himself, the first witness (5:31).



1.     Our Lord said, “I can of mine own self do nothing…” (5:30).  Our Lord’s actions are never done independently of the Father. Jesus did everything as under the authority of God the Father (cf. 5:19).

2.     There have been many godly men and women who have sincerely said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (5:30b).  However, even the best of men have a fallen, sinful nature.  We are contaminated by our fleshly nature and will not be totally free of it till we get to heaven.

3.     Only the Lord Jesus Christ could truly say, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

4.     Harry Ironside said, “The measure in which you and I as Christians imitate our Lord in this, will be the measure in which we too shall glorify God down here.”

5.     We should use our Lord as our great teacher and example. It was He (in the Garden of Gethsemane) who prayed to God the Father, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).

6.     It was He who taught His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

7.     First John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”

8.     John 5:31 might be better understood as, “If I (alone) bear witness of myself…” That is why He proceeded to give four other witnesses – John the Baptist, the works that He did, God the Father, and the Scriptures.

9.     Scofield explains our Lord’s words in John 5:31 as, “If I bear witness of myself {ye will say} my witness is not true.” Cf. John 8:14.

10.So our Lord goes on to say, “There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true” (John 5:32).  His first witness (after Himself) is John the Baptist.



1.     John 1:15 says, “John bare witness of Him…”

2.     Most of the people in our Lord’s day recognized John the Baptist as a prophet (cf. Matt. 14:1-5; 21:23-27).

3.     Since John was so highly esteemed, it would be appropriate for our Lord to introduce him as a witness.

4.     It was John the Baptist who pointed to Christ and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  That is quite a testimony!

5.     You will recall that this controversy with the Jewish leaders began when Jesus declared Himself the Son of God (cf. John 5:18).  In fact, all throughout John chapter 5 our Lord refers to Himself as the Son of God (5:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, etc.).

6.     The Jews considered this blasphemy.  Yet John the Baptist said back in John 1:34, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”

7.     Sometimes prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys do not always find good witnesses.   The DA out in California was disappointed when one of his witnesses gave a terrible testimony at the Michael Jackson trial. 

8.     But our Lord’s witness was an excellent witness.  Our Lord said, “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” (John 5:35).

9.     This causes us to stop and consider.  If the majority of people believed John the Baptist was a prophet sent from God (and he certainly was), and if they “were willing for a season to rejoice in his light” (John 5:35), then why didn’t they accept his preaching?

10. The answer is obvious – John’s message condemned their sin.  This has always been the case.  Unregenerate people will often acknowledge a man of God, and they may even enjoy hearing him preach once in a while.  But they will not repent of their sin (cf. Mark 6:14-20).

11. By the way, since our Lord referred to John the Baptist in the past tense in John 5:35, we can assume that he had already been beheaded by Herod.



1.     The reason for our Lord’s miracles was to prove that He was the promised Messiah.

2.     The OT predicted that the Messiah would heal the sick, give eyesight to the blind, and raise the dead.  The lame would walk, lepers would be cleansed, and the deaf would hear.

3.     All of this and more our Lord fulfilled during His brief earthly ministry.

4.     When D.L. Moody was a young preacher he had to conduct a funeral.  To prepare himself Moody started reading the life of Jesus.  After reading all four Gospels, Moody said, “You can’t find any direction as to how to conduct a funeral service in the life of Christ.  Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended.”

5.     These mighty miracles were performed to alleviate human suffering and to help mankind.    And they were done so that sinners might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (cf. John 20:30, 31).



1.     When our Lord was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, God the Father bore witness that Jesus is the Son of God (cf. Matt. 3:16, 17).

2.     And up on the Mount of Transfiguration the disciples Peter, James, and John heard a similar testimony from heaven (Matt. 17:1-7).

3.     There was a third time the Lord spoke from heaven, and it is recorded in John 12:28, 29.  Three times the voice of God the Father was heard from heaven accrediting the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son.

4.     The disciples heard the voice of God.  And John 12:29 says, “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it…” But our Lord said to the unbelieving Jews in John 5:37, “Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.” 

5.     Have you heard the voice of God?  Does His Word abide in you (5:38)? 



1.     When our Lord made this statement there was no NT.  Back then, “the Scriptures” were the OT (cf. Luke 24:25-27; John 5:45-47; Luke 16:31).

2.     Moses wrote of Christ (5:45-47) – in type and in prophecy – the ark of Noah, the offering of Isaac, Jacob’s ladder, the story of Joseph, the Passover lamb, the manna from heaven, the smitten rock, the brazen serpent lifted up, and many other types. 

3.     Moses said, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deut. 18:15).

4.     A person cannot claim to believe the OT and at the same time reject Christ (John 5:39, 40).

5.     For example, Jews claim to revere the OT but they are only familiar with certain parts of it.  They deliberately ignore Isaiah 53 (John 5:39, 40).

6.     On the basis of John 5:40 I cannot accept the doctrine of a limited atonement.  If limited atonement were true, our Lord would have said, “And ye cannot come to me…” but instead He said, “And ye will not come to me…” (5:40).

7.     The problem is not total inability; the problem is total depravity.  There is a difference (cf. Matt. 23:37; Ezek. 33:11).



1.     This entire passage deals with the rejection of Christ, particularly Israel’s rejection of Christ.

2.     They did not honor our Lord (5:23, 40-44).

3.     When the antichrist comes, unbelieving Jews (and all lost sinners) will honor the antichrist (John 5:43).

4.     We are getting very close to that day.

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