Woman of Samaria (John 4)
Belief (John 5)

Fred R. Coulter—May 11, 1985

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There were several things that we asked about this particular event with this certain woman at the well in Samaria. In Matt. 10 is a very interesting command that Jesus gave the disciples. This is sometime further down into the ministry of Jesus Christ, after He had already been to Samaria. The account in John 4 with the woman at the well in Samaria took place before the event in Matt. 10.

Here is where Jesus sent out the 12 disciples, Matthew 10:5: "These twelve Jesus sent out after commanding them, saying, "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter into a city of the Samaritans.'"

Yet, Jesus went to the city of Sychar, which was a suburb of Samaria. He talked to a particular woman who came to the well. This woman we find had five husbands and Jesus said, 'You don't have a husband, for you have had five. Then she went and told all the people that this Man as the well told her everything that she had done in her life. Apparently, this was far more than just a casual conversation.

I think this falls into the aspect of what Jesus did, knowing what would happen, knowing that this woman was going to be there by the well. And the same kind of psychology that the Samaritans have, which is 'if it is good for us to be Jewish, we'll be Jewish; if it is good for us to be Gentiles, we'll be Gentiles.

I want to give you just a little background on why the woman at the well is important in the prophetic sense in the book of John and for the Church of God.

As we have seen, many things in the Bible come 'precept upon precept; a little here, a little there.' In other words, a layer here, a layer there; more than one meaning to a particular setting. I think that this meaning here with the woman at the well is a very important thing for us to understand when we realize that when she said:

John 4:20: "'Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, but you say that the place where it is obligatory to worship is in Jerusalem.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You do not know what you worship. We know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews'" (vs 20-22).
That's a very key statement. The reason is because all of the 12 apostles were Jews. Salvation was not going to come from the Hindus, from the Samaritans, from the Romans; but salvation was going to come from the Jews! That's why it gives us a good clear indication as to what we ought to look for.

In part six I covered Isa. 8:19-20. We know from Acts 8 about Simon Magus. This explains very clearly about what went on and gives everything listed there about Simon Magus who was in Samaria. He did become baptized. He did not receive the Holy Spirit, he wanted to buy an apostleship. He always had a female counterpart that was interwoven into his 'religion.' We know that all the pagan religions had a female deity that they worshiped.

Here is an encounter with Jesus with a woman at Samaria. We also know that when Shalmaneser took the ten northern tribes captive, he brought over five Babylonian tribes. They kept their Babylonian 'religion' as we find in 2-Kings 17 and they worshiped the Lord. In this Babylonian 'religion' that they had, they also had a female deity that they worshiped.

Let's think of this in terms that John is recording this particular account to show the incursion of a female 'religion' into assuming the name of Jesus Christ and proclaiming Him as the Messiah, but yet, not bringing the true religion.

Jesus said that He had 'living water.' The well that this woman was coming to had just regular water. In other words, we can tie in the Scripture that says, 'he who is of the earth speaks of the earth; He who is from above, speaks of above.' Jesus is the One Who is from above.

Let's notice several characteristics concerning the five husbands. Here's an article—More About Simon Magus (done in 1964) {hwalibrary.com}. The Babylonians had five tribes; now we have the five husbands. The Babylonian system relates to this in prophecy very well. Remember that John wrote the book of Revelation and perhaps this can give us some clues. In Rev. 17 we have an account of a woman, and this woman is the counterfeit religion. She is called:

Revelation 17:1: "…the great whore who sits upon many waters"—multitudes, peoples, nations and tongues.

Isn't it interesting that, in fact, she does not have the water of God's Spirit, or the water of salvation. She is called a "…great whore…" What was the woman at the well in Samaria? She was an adulteress! She had five husbands, and the one she was with—the 6th one—was not her husband. She, in a sense was—what the Bible would call—a whore!

Let's notice what it says about this woman, v 5: "And across her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." Isn't it interesting that the heresies that developed in the New Testament came out of Samaria? The Samaritans had a Babylonian religion, yet, claimed a Jewish source. Very interesting how all that ties in.

Verse 6: "And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And after seeing her, I wondered with great amazement. Then the angel said to me, 'Why are you amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up out of the abyss and to go into perdition. And those who dwell on the earth, whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, shall be astonished when they see the beast that was, but is not, and yet, is. Here is the mind that has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. And there are seven kings; five are fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come; and when he has come…'" (vs 6-10).

Remember, this woman had five husbands! The one she was with was not her husband; that's the sixth one. It makes you wonder about the parallelism here. It is not distinct; it does not tie in exactly, but it makes you wonder if this is not a significant prophecy of what was going to happen here in Rev. 17. I know it is not as clear as other prophecies, but there are some indications that it could relate to that.

We find the Church of God suffered from an incursion with a female 'religious' figure, Revelation 2:18: "And to the angel of the Church in Thyatira write: "These things says the Son of God, He Who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass. I know your works, and love, and service, and faith, and your endurance, and your works; and the last are more than the first. But I have a few things against you, because you allow the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants into committing fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols"'" (vs 18-20). Whenever you have the wrong religion that is spiritual fornication. The whole system of the Catholics is really a very fornicating system both spiritually and physically.

Here the Church of God runs into or encounters this Jezebel. She was from Tyre, the daughter of the king of Tyre, and she married Ahab the king of Israel. Jezebel was the one who caused the people of Israel to do what's listed here and caused them to sin against God.

The reason that this ties in so closely with what we know as Catholicism today is because the Catholic Church does very much the same thing as this woman at the well did. Let's see what she said. And if you listen closely to what the Catholics preach, you've got to admit it is a very clever, clever counterfeit.

There is one thing that they do, as well as preaching about Mary, they say that Jesus is the Christ. They do say that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Outside of that, everything else is almost purely pagan! Let's see what the woman said, and let's see there's a prophetic tie-in with the Catholic system and the woman at the well.

John 4:25: "The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming, Who is called Christ; when He comes, He will tell us all things.' Jesus said to her, 'I Who speak to you am He'" (vs 25-26). Then the disciples came and Jesus said, 'I have work to do, lift up your eyes to the harvest.

Verse 39: "Now many of the Samaritans from that city believed on Him because of the word of the woman…" Are there people who believe on Jesus Christ because of what the Catholics preach? Yes! But they believe in the wrong Jesus—don't they?

"…who testified, 'He told me everything that I have done.' Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to remain with them; and He remained there two days. And many more believed because of His Word; and they said to the woman, 'We no longer believe because of your word, for we have heard Him ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Christ, the Savior of the world'" (vs 39-42).

Needless to say, the pope is going to proclaim that Jesus is the One we need to rally around because He is the Savior of the world! The Catholics do preach that, but they're not saving anyone; they're not bring the Truth of true Savior Jesus Christ! Just like the 'religion' from Samaria is not the true religion that came from Jesus through the Jews. But it's interesting what happened here. They said, "…we know that this is truly the Christ, the Savior of the world."

The information regarding Simon Magus and the rise of the Catholic system, originating from the New Testament, is really one of the foundation stones of teaching us about the wrong system that is in the world that is called 'Christian.' There is so much in the New Testament when you read it. Every time you read an epistle or go through something, there is a warning concerning

  • false prophets
  • false teachings
  • false Christs
    • that it's already working
    • that the system is amazing

all the beginning of that started right here, and John 4 gives us the key where this system would start. This is why Jesus told His disciples, 'Don't go into Samaria.' There was already one there—Simon Magus—saying:

  • I was baptized
  • I am a Christian
  • I spoke to Peter and John

He did, but the message was not what he would like to relate. He probably had a different version of his conversation with Peter and John, that they really didn't understand that he was sent from God, and they being Jews they were discriminatory against him. You can almost hear what was going to be said. That is a very important thing in going through about Simon Magus. I really feel that John 4 gives us the foundation of that.

Verse 43: "And after two days, He departed from there and went into Galilee; for Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country" (vs 43-44). That's basically a true statement. Why? Because everybody in their own country knows everybody else!

You can just remember the account when Jesus came down to His hometown—Nazareth—and there He could only lay His hands on a few sick folk and they were healed. They didn't have any faith and didn't believe in Him the way that the other's did. That's another account where it says that 'the Prophet has no honor in His own country.' There were a lot of people going around saying about Jesus that He was born of fornication, and He's the son of Joseph and Mary. Joseph is just a carpenter and 'our kids grew up with Jesus; who is this guy?' They had no faith.

Verse 45: "Therefore, when He came into Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem during the Feast, for they also had gone to the Feast. Then Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee, where He had made the water become wine. And there was a certain royal official in Capernaum whose son was sick. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and asked Him if He would come down and heal his son; for he was about to die. Therefore, Jesus said to him, 'Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe at all'" (vs 45-48).

People just love signs and wonders! That's what happens all the time. If they can do a sign or wonder they follow them, regardless of whether he is telling the truth or not. People will go, and if they are healed by someone who is of the devil they say, 'I don't care, I'm healed.' People will just flock and follow it.

So, when they saw the things that He did at the Feast—Unleavened Bread (John 2)—they saw the signs and the wonders. They wanted more signs and wonders. People want it today! They're finding that the only way they can keep people coming to Church is to have it theatrical. To have more theatrics. The minister up there has got to be some guy that all he does is…. I saw one guy that was really a big guy and he was walking back and forth huffing and puffing, sweating, shouting…. Theatrics! They had the choir sing and all the lighting effects. That's what keeps people there; it keeps them entertained.

People don't want the Truth of God from His Word! It's a rare group that will sit down with the Bible and go through it verse-by-verse. If we went into a Presbyterian church, how long do you think we would last? We wouldn't! Most of them wouldn't know where a Bible was, or know very much about the Scriptures involved. I know for sure if you went to a Catholic Church and tried it, you'd be run out.

A prophet has no honor in his own country, and that's even more true of those who are not of Jesus' lineage; just any minister that comes along. The reason being is that they're all human and everyone is going to discover their human mistakes sooner or later, and all the folks back at home know all about this guy—whether for good or bad. That's why that is a true statement.

This man wanted his son to be healed and Jesus said, "…'Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe at all'" (v 48).

Verse 49: "The royal official said to Him, 'Sir, come down before my little child dies.' Jesus said to him, 'Go; your son shall live.' And the man believed the word that Jesus said to him and went away" (vs 49-50). This is the kind of belief we need to have, brethren. Whatever God says is true! That's the whole thing that we've been covering:

  • follow the Light
  • follow the Truth
  • set your seal that God is true
  • just simply believe what Jesus has said

Many times the circumstances won't look like it. Many times we find ourselves in contrary circumstances.

Just like the children of Israel when they came to the Red Sea. If they had taken a vote then and asked, 'Is God intelligent or not?' They probably all would have voted no, He's not, because He led us to this silly place and we can't cross the sea.

In Auschwitz they had a trial of God with the inmates who were there. The Jewish inmates all put God on trial and found Him guilty of causing this thing upon them. The circumstances sometimes are not what we want, not what we like, not what we can make out of them. In some cases there's just nothing we can do about it. We just have to believe God!

This man did; he just believed what Jesus said and he went his way, v 51: Now, as he was going down to his house, his servants met him and reported, saying, 'Your child is alive and well.' Then he inquired of them at what hour he began to improve. And they said to him, 'Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him.' Therefore, the father knew that it was at the hour that Jesus said to him, 'Your son shall live.' And he himself believed and his whole household. This was the second miracle that Jesus did after again coming out of Judea into Galilee" (vs 51-54).


Does belief only come from God? Not necessarily, because we have free choice! If we believe ourselves, of our own doing, we believe! That's something we do. The kind of faith that is required for salvation must come from God. That is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God!

I can believe certain things just in the physical realm, and I know that they're happening. I believe that they are happening. That doesn't take any part of God to do so. To believe when Jesus said, 'Your son is healed,' and he believed, then that was his own act; it was his own belief. The word belief here actually means to 'faithize.'

I would have to say that, in this case, this is belief, v 50: "And the man believed the Word that Jesus said to him and went away." He believed that! He believed the word. There was no evidence, his son wasn't there, so he himself just believed.

It says that when he got back that "…his whole household…" believed. Whether they believed unto salvation after that maybe is another account or another story that we don't know about. At least he believed for the healing.

A person has to believe, or have their own belief, in order for God to work with them. If you're a total skeptic God can't work with you. In this case it multiplied itself. He believed what Jesus said, the son was healed and the servant ran out to meet him on his way back and was told:

"…'Your child is alive and well.' Then he inquired of them at what hour he began to improve. And they said to him, 'Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him'" (vs 51-52). He knew that's when Jesus said that he would live. I imagine when he got down there—"And he himself believed and his whole household"—he had a quite a story to tell of what took place.

So, there is that part of belief. We have to believe ourselves. Those are the kinds of belief we need to have. To add a little bit more to belief and believing: Acts 28 is where Paul was taken to Rome, and he called for the leaders of the Jews so that he could explain to them about Jesus.

Acts 28:20: "'For this cause then, I have called for you, in order that I might see you and speak to you; because it is for the hope of Israel that I have this chain around me.' Then they said to him, 'We have neither received letters concerning you from Judea, nor have any of the brethren who have arrived reported anything or spoken evil of you. But we would like to hear from you and to know what you think, because we are indeed very aware that this sect is everywhere spoken against'" (vs 20-22). That is the sect of Christianity. It was called a Jewish sect.

Verse 23: "And when they appointed a day for him to speak, many came into his lodging to hear him; and he expounded to them from morning until evening, fully testifying of the Kingdom of God and persuading them of the things concerning Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and from the prophets. And some were truly convinced of the things that were spoken, but some did not believe" (vs 23-24).

There it is, their own choice whether to believe or not to believe. You have to make up your mind. You have to choose! Remember the place where Elijah came to the people of Israel during the days of Ahab and said, 'How long halt you between two opinions? If God be God, follow Him. If Baal be God, follow him.' We have the same thing here.

Verse 25: "And they departed in disagreement with one another after Paul had spoken these words… [Paul gave them one message]: …'Well did the Holy Spirit speak by Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, "Go to this people and say, 'In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, but in no way perceive'"'" (vs 25-26). He really gave them a piece of his mind, right straight from the Scripture, laid it right to them.
Verse 27: "'For the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears…'" This shows the process of choice of not believing. If you refuse to see something, if you refuse with all the evidence right there before you, you've made your own choice to not believe.

You can see that contrasted with the man who believed when Jesus told him that his sons lives, and He accepted it. Here we have a great argument going on. Paul finally stands up and let's them have it.

Verse 27: "For the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them" That's quite a statement. We find this same thing in Matt. 13 where all the parables are given.

Verse 28: "Be it known to you…" Now, this is the most teeth-gnashing, ear-jamming, mind-blowing thing you could ever say to a Jew; and this is one Jew talking to another Jew:

Verse 28: "Be it known to you that the salvation of God has, therefore, been sent to the Gentiles; and they will hear." That is something! That is so strong when you understand that Judaism feels that if they can just get all world to keep the commandments of God, then the Messiah will come. He's saying, 'No, God is going to send it to the Gentiles,' and the Jews absolutely despised the Gentiles, unless they can use and manipulate them for their own purposes.

At that time they wouldn't even go into the house of Gentile. Remember the problem that Peter had when he was sent to Cornelius. The first thing Peter said when Cornelius came to the door was, 'You know how it's unlawful for a Jew to be in the presence of a Gentile? But God has shown me and sent me.' He had to preface it with that. Remember the controversy that was in the New Testament Church concerning the circumcision or non-circumcision of the Gentiles, and the tremendous harangue that they had in Acts 15. Here Paul is really lambasting them.

Verse 29: "And after he said these things, the Jews went away with much debate among themselves." They were arguing among themselves. Let's see where this has been given.

I tell you, if you've never had the opportunity, try telling someone about the Kingdom of God whom you know that isn't going to receive it. Just give it to them pretty straight. I mean, make sure it's someone you're not going to be doing business with for a long time. You'd better make sure it's someone who is going to be kind of a passing acquaintance. See their reaction. You'll get the same thing.

Matthew 13:13: "For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand." That is the hardest thing in the world, to get people to understand the real Truth!

Verse 14: "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, 'In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; For the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.'" (vs 14-15). So, we have the same thing here.

We have a certain choice to make. Let's tie this in with the Scripture that says, 'None can come unto Me except the Father draw him. But what if the Father starts drawing someone and they don't believe? Then they're not answering the call!

We have to make our choices. When we make a choice then we come to the point that if we do see and we do hear, and we do understand in our heart, then God will convert us and heal us! Here again, we're talking about spiritual healing!

There has to be a spiritual healing, which is of the mind and of the heart. I think we've seen a tremendous example of this with the controversy that we've gone through. Here were people who do not forgive, will not forgive, will never forget. They don't understand about human nature to think that they will ever stop it by dwelling on the controversy forever and ever. It's going to have a reverse effect and make people mad.

But what happens when you come to the point that you will not entertain any mercy? You just become bitter! It's really something, and you can see it in action with all the people there.

  • They need to have their hearts healed!
  • They need to believe the words of Jesus Christ!
  • They need to understand that the reason that they are in such terrible situations is because they do not believe Jesus!
    • He would heal them!
    • He would take away the pain!
    • He would take away the hurt!

Lest they've closed their eyes and their hearts, and this goes for anyone, not just the Jews. But the Jews in particular because salvation is of the Jews.

Jesus said, v 16: "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear" Now you know why the unpardonable sin is going to be the Lake of Fire. If we cast away what we know, what we believe, what God has done to heal us, to bring us to the understanding of Jesus Christ, it's a tremendous blessing.

Verse 17: "For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard." That's a tremendous blessing that comes!

Sometime when you're in the car driving and you have a long way to drive, just turn off the radio and sit there and think and meditate and think on this for a while, about what God has done. Don't focus on the things that have happened in your life, from the point of view of disappointments or sickness or things that come along, but focus on the blessings that God has given you: The blessing of knowing God's Word!

How many people could you take the Bible to and say, 'Would you open this and read and explain it to me'? You would get a blank stare! They might try it, but they would say, 'It doesn't make any sense to me.'

We could do that here if we just opened up a public poll out here and say, 'Tell me about the Bible.' I don't think it would be too long till we would have either the Buddhists out there, the Hindus or the Jewish Anti-defamation League, and so forth.

Those show some of the blessings that we have in believing, and that's something we need to keep on doing.

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When we come to John 6 we will do in-depth study on what it means to believe. Here is an absolutely profound statement:

John 3:36: "The one who believes…" [this is active belief; that is believing, not when it's convenient, but all the time!] …in the Son has everlasting life; but the one who does not obey the Son shall not see life, for the wrath of God remains on him."

I don't want to have any circumstances where that is so in my life. I have enough troubles of my own without inviting the wrath of God on me; I really do! Sometimes God requires things of us that we have to swallow our pride, put away our vanity, and that's hard to do for every one of us.

The next time someone brings up something that you know is not right, and that you know you need to change, but you don't want to admit to that person that you know you ought to do it. Maybe you'll go ahead and change your mind and do what you're supposed to later, but you won't admit to that person. You see how hard it is?

Well, picture this in the situation where if we had that attitude toward Jesus Christ. We would get nowhere with Christ! So, we have to have this right attitude with Christ in believing!

John 5

Just a little background about the Feast mentioned in John 5:1: "After these things there was a Feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." This Feast is not identified as being any of the known Feasts. But it has to be one of those Feasts (Lev. 23:2-34). Those are the Feasts of God.

We know that in the book of John it has this pattern:

  • Passover
  • then this Feast (John 5:1)
  • Passover (John 6)
  • Feast of Tabernacles (John 7)—in the fall
  • Passover again

We have spring, fall, spring, fall, spring—the way that it's listed out here in the book of John. In A Harmony of the Gospels I proposed this Feast (John 5:1) as possibly the Feast of Trumpets, because it talks about the resurrection. It does not indicate that this a prolonged Feast, such as Feast of Tabernacles, where there is a period of time that is listed. This is apparently a one-day Feast. So, I would have to say, in thinking about this again, that this Feast could possibly be The Feast of Trumpets or the Day of Atonement—either one. It talks about the resurrection, and it talks about giving life.

There's also a possibility that this could have something to do with the Last Great Day. However, I'm not sure. I would be inclined to think that this would be one of the one-day Feasts, rather than the Feast where we would have a prolonged period of time. However, it could be the Last Great Day. Actually, when you think about it, this Feast more portrays the Last Great Day than anything else. Let's think about this for a minute.

If it were the Day of Atonement we would have to ask: Would any of these things be done on the Day of Atonement? We would have to conclude that probably not! The Day of Atonement we are told that there should be no work done, no work at all, nothing done at all!

On the other hand, the Jews came after Jesus—Who said, 'My Father works'—so it doesn't eliminate the Day of Atonement altogether.

So, it would have to be one of those three; that's the closest we can get: Trumpets, Atonement or Last Great Day. Nevertheless, there's a tremendous message here for us.

Verse 2: And there is in Jerusalem at the sheep gate a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five porches. And in these porches were lying a great multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame and withered. They were waiting for the stirring of the water" (vs 2-3). So, there was a certain time. It pinpoints it, but it doesn't tell us any reference that we can hang on to.

Verse 4: "For from time to time, an angel descended into the pool and agitated the water; and the first one to enter after the agitation of the water was made well from whatever disease he had."

You know the way people are, and some of the diseases that they would have. You could probably see a pathetic group of people and just picture in a Middle Eastern setting with all the things that would be there: the people, the sickness, the diseases, they're praying and a lot of them were probably praying and crying, waiting and watching. Whenever the water stirred, you can imagine the commotion that took place in trying to get down into the water.

Verse 5: "Now, a certain man was there who had been suffering with an infirmity for thirty-eight years." That's an awful long time to have an infirmity.

Verse 6: "Jesus saw him lying there, and, knowing that he had been there a long time… [with this sickness] …said to him, 'Do you desire to be made whole?' And the infirm man answered Him, 'Sir, I do not have anyone to put me in the pool after the water has been agitated. But while I am going, another one steps down before me.'" (vs 6-7).

You talk about irony of ironies! You talk about what you could do in the way of a movie, just showing the cruelty and the extreme anguish of people taking advantage of one another. But isn't that the way it is? They're all waiting for the water to be troubled, and the first one in is healed. Guess what? If you're there you are going to make sure that you're the first one in! Here's this fellow moving to get down there, but he never get in there. Maybe he's been there 10 years; he's had this disease 38 years. Maybe he's been there off and on for 10 years, trying to get down to get healed. No one would help him!

Verse 8: "Jesus said to him, 'Arise, take up your bedroll and walk.'" The bed was merely one of these rollup pallets. It wasn't any great thing. It's not like we think of today, a bed with a box spring and mattress. Obviously, that would be carrying quite a burden! It's just 'roll up your little pallet and walk.'

Verse 9: "And immediately the man was made whole; and he took up his bedroll and walked. Now, that day was a Sabbath. For this reason, the Jews said to the man who had been healed…" (vs 9-10). Notice this attitude!

  • This is why Paul says, 'You are saved by grace.'
  • This is why Paul says, 'You are under grace and not under law.'

"…'It is the Sabbath Day…. [probably said with great pomposity] …It is not lawful for you to take up your bedroll'" (v 10). Here this poor guy is stuck!

Imagine 38 years, and let's just say he was there 10 years and seeing all of these Pharisees pass by in their pompous robes and with their phylacteries and the 'great representatives of God'—which probably didn't even look over the little wall there and look down and see all of these sick people down by the pool. Finally, one is healed! Instead of saying, 'Great! You're healed!'

Imagine how that fellow felt. If you had something that had been bothering you for 38 years and you were healed of it, how would you feel? You would feel great! There would be nothing that you would want to do more than to tell other people, 'Look! I've been healed!' But here come the officials! Aha! It is the Sabbath Day, and "…It is not lawful for you to take up your bedroll." They're almost saying, 'You dirty rat, you don't deserve to be healed. This is the Sabbath Day.' What could he say?

Verse 11: "He answered them, 'The One Who made me whole said to me, "Take up your bedroll and walk."' Then they asked him, 'Who is the One Who said to you, "Take up your bedroll and walk"?'" (vs 11-12)—the Pharisee Gestapo!
Verse 13: "But the man who had been healed did not know Who it was…" You can imagine! Just picture this like policemen arresting someone: 'Who was it?' I don't know! 'Who did it?' I don't know! 'What did he look like?' I don't know! 'What did he say to you?' Take up your bed and walk! 'Well, it's the Sabbath Day, you broke the law?'

"…for Jesus had moved away, and a crowd was in the place" (v 13). Why couldn't they make a movie of this. You could make a great movie of this!

Verse 14: "After these things, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, 'Behold, you have been made whole. Sin no more, so that something worse does not happen to you.'" That's quite a statement—isn't it? What was his sin? It doesn't tell us what the sin was, but whatever it was it afflicted him for 38 years!

Here's also showing that once your sins have been forgiven, we are to "…Sin no more…"; not go out and live in sin.

Verse 15: "The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus Who had made him whole. And for this cause, the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on a Sabbath" (vs 15-16). This really shows a tremendous attitude! They sought to kill Him!

It's like bringing up a whole brigade of tanks to shoot a fly! It's really what it is! There's a fly loose, shoot it! Destroy the whole city and when it's done, the fly is still flying around the city. Just completely blinded; not being able to understand! "…and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on a Sabbath."

We find another account of healing and this was on the Sabbath Day in a synagogue. Here we have the same kind of attitude; the same kind of looking at Jesus.

Mark 3:1: "And again He went into the synagogue, and a man who had a withered hand was there." You've seen people where they have their hands all withered up. How would you like it if you had a hand like that, all withered up. You've probably seen those who have had polio and everything shrinks down, their arms are about an inch around and their hands so they can't move them, all grotesque. If you had a hand like that, or if you know that someone was in the congregation with something like that, you'd certainly want to see them healed.

Verse 2: "And they were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbaths…" What was their attitude? Not that they were watching, hoping that He would heal him on the Sabbath Day. NO!

"…in order that they might accuse Him" (v 2). They were looking for an accusation. There are people of attitudes and minds that they look to accuse. That's all they do. They're called chronic complainers.

Verse 3: "Then He said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Stand up here in the center.'" You have to understand the way that the synagogues were. The one who did the speaking was in the center. They didn't have microphones, so they had to centrally locate the one who did the speaking, and the people were all around. When He told the man to come forth, He wanted him to come here, because Jesus was apparently down there in the center of the synagogue.

Verse 4: "And He said to them… [He was preaching to the people and also the Pharisees] …'Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbaths, or to do evil?…." They couldn't say 'to do evil' They would have to say, 'to do good.'

So, Jesus asked the next question, "…To save life, or to kill?' But they were silent. And after looking around at them with anger…" (vs 4-5). Jesus was mad! I've never seen a picture of Jesus mad; they always show Him sad and wimpy! Long hair and this look on His face as if His lip was ready to quiver up and ready to cry. But here Jesus looked around angry! I'll bet there were some people sitting there saying, 'If this is the Christ, He shouldn't be angry. He has no right to be angry!'

"…being grieved at the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as sound as the other. Then the Pharisees left and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against Him as to how they might destroy Him" (vs 5-6). Here they were after Jesus! He turned that whole world upside down with the thing He was doing. Here's just one example. They were after His hide all the time.

John 5:16: "And for this cause, the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him… [that means they were looking for an opportunity, planning to kill Him] …because He had done these things on a Sabbath. But Jesus answered them… [this answer just turned their teeth on edge] …'My Father is working until now, and I work'" (vs 16-17).

They didn't understand that to work salvation on the Sabbath Day is not labor. They did not understand that. So, Jesus answered them in a way that just really set their teeth on edge! "…'My Father is working until now, and I work.'"

 Verse 18: "So then, on account of this saying, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, not only because He had loosed the Sabbath, but also because He had called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." Quite a statement!

Breaking the Sabbath

Did Jesus break the Sabbath? You would be surprised the number of Protestant that go to this verse to show that you don't have to keep the Sabbath, because Jesus 'broke' the Sabbath.

  • What does this mean that Jesus broke (KJV) the Sabbath?
  • What does it mean?

If He truly broke the Sabbath then Jesus sinned, and if He sinned there is no Savior!

  • Whose version of the Sabbath did He allegedly break?

The Pharisees' version of the Sabbath!

What He did was loose—Greek 'luoo'—the Sabbath Day from the Pharisaical traditions that they put upon it. That's what Jesus did; He loosed the Sabbath Day.

Here we find another example of the Sabbath Day, Mark 2:23: "Now, it came to pass that He went through the grain fields on the Sabbaths; and as His disciples made their way through the fields, they were picking and eating the grain." Have you ever done that? Have you ever walked through a wheat or barley field and you reach down and pluck off some of the heads of grain and you rub them in your hands and you get all the chaff off. Then you pop it in your mouth and start chewing on it.

That's the way we used to make gum out in the country. Couldn't get gum, so we would make gum out of the wheat. That's where they get gluten. If they made gum out of the things that they should, it would probably be not too bad to chew. But today it's all made out of plastic vinyl, so kids are chomping on plastic.

Verse 24: "Then the Pharisees said to Him, 'Look at them! Why are they doing that which is not lawful on the Sabbaths?'" What was wrong with plucking a few ears of grain on the Sabbath Day? One of the Pharisaical laws says that if you pluck the heads on the Sabbath Day you are harvesting!

I've read to you some of the things of the Jewish laws. This one stays in my mind; never will leave: If you spill a bucket of apples on the Sabbath and it's spread out more than five feet, you can't pick it up because you're harvesting on the Sabbath. You can't put them back into the basket and stand it upright.

But if it just spills a little bit, you can pick them up and put them back in the basket, and you haven't broken the Sabbath. But if they're spread all over the place and you try and do it, then you are harvesting on the Sabbath when you pick them up to put them in the basket. However, you can eat them one at a time and you don't break the Sabbath! You may be sick as a dog on Sunday!

Verse 25: And He said to them, 'Have you never read what David did… [you can't speak against David. He's saying, 'Do you really read the Scriptures?'] …when he was hungry and in need of food, he and those with him? How in the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered into the house of God and he ate the showbread, which it is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?'" (vs 25-26). That would be a near blasphemous thing for the Pharisees to admit, but David did do that!

God is showing that where there is a need, God will provide! Was it not God's prerogative to provide for those people if He wanted to, even if it was the priest's showbread? Sure it was! It was God's right to do! So, He inspired that to be done, and Abiathar said, 'Here, take the bread.'

Verse 27: And He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; Therefore, the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath'" (vs 27-28). I'll bet they were just gnashing their teeth! To bad there weren't dentists in that day where they could provide them with false teeth. I imagine the Pharisees would have been lined up to get all their false teeth. "…the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath." That's really quite a statement! That is just a sledgehammer statement for the Pharisees.

Note the book: The Tabernacle by Moshe Levine, which shows the showbread. There was a loaf that represented each one of the 12 tribes of Israel. They were stacked in a certain way where the showbread would be put there and it would be kept fresh for a whole week. The only ones to eat of that were the priests. They could eat of it when it came to certain of the sacrifices and things that they would do; then they would take of the showbread and they would use it.

I imagine that if there was an offering for say the tribe of Asher, they would take of the loaf that was designated for Asher and use that bread in the eating of the sacrifice for that particular time.

When we come to the time of David—and they were renegades, outcasts, being sought of by Saul ready to be killed—he hid there with Abiathar and there was nothing to eat, but he had to get rid of him and they had to go on their way, so Abiathar gave them the showbread.

It was not lawful for anyone to eat but the priests, but God shows here that in time of need, then God has the right to take these small laws and do with them whatever He wanted. He is not saying that this gives anyone the right or authority to break the Sabbath or do anything they want to on the Sabbath.

John 5:17: "But Jesus answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I work.' So then, on account of this saying, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, not only because He had loosed the Sabbath, but also because He had called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God" (vs 17-18). That was really quite a statement.

Verse 19: "Therefore, Jesus answered and said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, the Son has no power to do anything of Himself, but only what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, these things the Son also does in the same manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him everything that He Himself is doing. And He will show Him greater works than these, so that you may be filled with wonder'" (vs 19-20).

Then it gets into the resurrection and next time we will show this is talking about more than one resurrection.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

    • Matthew 10:5
    • John 4:20-22
    • Revelation 17:1, 5-10
    • Revelation 2:18-20
    • John 4:25-26, 39-54, 50-52
    • Acts 28:20-29
    • Matthew 13:13-17
    • John 3:36
    • John 5:1-16
    • Mark 3:1-6
    • John 5:16-18
    • Mark 2:23-28
    • John 5:17-20

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Isaiah 8:19-20
  • Acts 8
  • 2 Kings 17
  • John 2
  • Acts 15
  • John 6
  • Leviticus 23:2-34
  • John 7

Also referenced:

Article: More About Simon Magus (hwalibrary.com)


  • A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter
  • The Tabernacle by Moshe Levine