“Unit 13, Day 4: John 5–6,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 13, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
Jesus attended a feast (likely the Passover) in Jerusalem and healed a feeble man at the pool of Bethesda. He also described other witnesses who had testified of His divinity. After returning to Galilee, He miraculously fed a multitude of more than 5,000 people and taught that He is the Bread of Life.
Consider a time when you or someone you know broke something important or valuable.
As children of Heavenly Father, we are all important and have great worth. However, because of our choices or the challenges we face, at times we may feel broken or like we have little value.
What are some ways in which someone might feel broken spiritually, physically, or emotionally?
Think of times when you may have felt this way. As you study John 5:1–9, look for a truth that can help comfort you and give you hope when you feel broken.
In John 5:1 we read that after Jesus Christ ministered in Galilee, He traveled to Jerusalem to observe a Jewish feast, most likely the Passover (see John 5:1, footnote a). While in Jerusalem, He went to a pool of water near the temple.
Read John 5:2–4, looking for who was gathered around the pool and what they were waiting for.
The words impotent, blind, halt, and withered in verse 3 describe people who were sick, feeble, or crippled in some way. There may have been a spring that occasionally flowed into the pool and caused the surface of the water to bubble (see Bible Dictionary, “Bethesda”).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following: “No doubt the pool of Bethesda was a mineral spring whose waters had some curative virtue. But any notion that an angel came down and troubled the waters, so that the first person thereafter entering them would be healed, was pure superstition. Healing miracles are not wrought in any such manner” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:188).
Consider what the scene may have been like at the pool, with so many people hoping to be healed by being the first to step into it.
Read John 5:5–7, looking for whom the Savior saw lying near the pool.
What do these verses say about the man the Savior saw? Why had the man never been able to be the first to enter the water?
Read John 5:8–9, looking for how the Savior responded to the man.
Consider marking the phrase “the man was made whole” in verse 9. This healing took place at the pool of Bethesda. The word Bethesda can be translated as “house of mercy” (Bible Dictionary, “Bethesda”). Mercy is compassion or kindness. The greatest act of mercy ever performed was the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Why was Bethesda an appropriate name for this location, especially after the Savior healed this man?
In what ways might we all be like this man at the edge of the pool of Bethesda?
One truth we can learn from the Savior’s healing of this man is that through the power and mercy of Jesus Christ, we can be made whole.
To better understand this truth, read the following statement from Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, looking for ways he said the Savior can make you whole: “Just as the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda needed someone stronger than himself to be healed (see John 5:1–9), so we are dependent on the miracles of Christ’s atonement if our souls are to be made whole from grief, sorrow, and sin. … Through Christ, broken hearts are mended and peace replaces anxiety and sorrow” (“The Power to Heal from Within,” Ensign, May 1995, 13).
It is important to remember that we may be made whole either in this life or in the next, based on the Lord’s timing.
- Ponder times when you have witnessed or felt the power, mercy, and compassion of Jesus Christ help you or someone who felt broken, whether spiritually, physically, or emotionally. In your scripture study journal, write and then finish the following incomplete statement: I know the Savior is merciful and compassionate because …
In John 5:10–30 we read that the Savior later found the man in the temple and counseled him to not sin anymore. When the Jewish leaders learned that the man had been healed by Jesus on the Sabbath, they persecuted and tried to kill the Savior. Jesus taught the Jewish leaders that by healing the man, He was doing Heavenly Father’s work. The Savior then taught about His relationship to the Father. He also taught that those in the spirit world would soon be taught the gospel.
Consider a time when someone told you something that was hard or difficult to believe.
How is the truthfulness of any claim strengthened by having more than one witness?
Read John 5:31, looking for what the Savior said about His own witness of His relationship to Heavenly Father.
The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies John 5:31–32:
“Therefore if I bear witness of myself, yet my witness is true.
“For I am not alone, there is another who beareth witness of me” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 5:32–33).
The Savior was teaching the Jews that they had other witnesses in addition to His.
Read the following verses, and identify other witnesses that testify of Jesus’s divinity:
Despite having many witnesses of Jesus Christ, the Jewish leaders did not believe in Jesus’s divinity. Notice in John 5:39 that as Jesus spoke of the scriptures, He said, “For in them ye think ye have eternal life.” “Many Jews of Jesus’s day studied the scriptures, believing that through this study they would have eternal life. … The Savior tried to correct this false belief by teaching that the scriptures, which the Jews looked to as the final authority, testified that eternal life is found not in the scriptures but in following Jesus Christ. The Jews also failed to realize that the scriptures are the words of Christ and their purpose is to bring people to Christ, for He is the ultimate source of truth and life” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 219–20).
Read John 5:40, looking for what the Jews needed to do to gain eternal life.
Even though the Jews studied the scriptures, what did they refuse to do that would have helped them receive eternal life?
From what you learn from the Savior’s teachings in John 5:39–40, complete the following principle: Only by coming unto can we receive eternal life.
Remember that eternal life includes becoming like Heavenly Father and living forever with our worthy family members in His presence. To receive this gift we must come unto Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting of our sins, receiving the ordinances of the gospel, honoring our covenants, and obeying the Lord’s commandments.
Consider why coming unto Jesus Christ is essential to receiving eternal life.
- Look at the witnesses of Jesus Christ that you listed above. In your scripture study journal, write how one of these witnesses of Jesus Christ has helped you (or could help you) come unto Him.
Ponder what you will do to more fully come unto the Savior so that you can receive eternal life.
In John 6:1–13 we read that after returning to Galilee, Jesus miraculously fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two small fish. (You studied this event in the lessons on Matthew 14 and Mark 6.)
Read John 6:14–15, looking for what the people wanted to do after Jesus miraculously fed them.
A tradition among the Jews at the time of Jesus suggested that when the Messiah, or King of Israel, came, He would feed people with bread from heaven.
John 6:16–21 records that the Savior sent his disciples across the Sea of Galilee, and then late in the night as the disciples struggled to row against the waves and wind, Jesus walked across the sea to join them. John’s account of this event emphasizes that when the disciples “willingly” received Jesus into their ship they “immediately” (John 6:21) landed safely at their destination. As we willingly receive the Savior and His teachings, He can help guide us safely through the struggles of mortality.
John 6:22–59 records that many of the people whom Jesus had miraculously fed traveled to Capernaum seeking Him, desiring to be fed more bread. Some people murmured against the Savior because He taught that He is the bread that came down from heaven. Jesus taught that He is the Bread of Life and that if people will come unto Him and accept His teachings and Atonement, they will receive eternal life.
Think of a time when you had to choose between continuing to do something difficult or quitting.
After Jesus taught that He is the Bread of Life, a number of His disciples faced the decision of whether or not to continue following Him. Read John 6:60, 66, looking for the response of many of Jesus’s disciples to His teachings.
The phrase “an hard saying” in verse 60 means they felt Jesus’s teachings were too difficult to follow.
Which of Jesus Christ’s teachings might be difficult for some people in our day to follow? (If needed, look for teachings in For the Strength of Youth that may be challenging for some young people.)
Read John 6:67–69, looking for the question Jesus asked His Apostles and for Peter’s response to the question.
One truth we can learn from Peter’s response is that a firm testimony of Jesus Christ will help us remain faithful during times when it may be difficult to follow the Savior or live His teachings. Consider writing this truth in your scriptures next to John 6:67–69.
- In your scripture study journal, write how a firm testimony of the Savior has helped you or someone you know remain faithful even when the teachings of the gospel seemed hard to follow.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied John 5–6 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: