Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days.
Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, a with five covered porches.
Crowds of sick people -- blind, lame, or paralyzed -- lay on the porches. b4
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One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?"7
"I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me."
Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!"9
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day.
So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, "You can't work on the Sabbath! It's illegal to carry that sleeping mat!"
He replied, "The man who healed me said to me, 'Pick up your sleeping mat and walk.'"
"Who said such a thing as that?" they demanded.
The man didn't know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd.
But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." 15
Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him.
So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.
But Jesus replied, "My Father never stops working, so why should I?" 18
So the Jewish leaders tried all the more to kill him. In addition to disobeying the Sabbath rules, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
Jesus replied, "I assure you, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and tells him everything he is doing, and the Son will do far greater things than healing this man. You will be astonished at what he does. 21He will even raise from the dead anyone he wants to, just as the Father does. 22And the Father leaves all judgment to his Son, 23so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. But if you refuse to honor the Son, then you are certainly not honoring the Father who sent him."
24"I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life."
25"And I assure you that the time is coming, in fact it is here, when the dead will hear my voice -- the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26The Father has life in himself, and he has granted his Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge all mankind because he is the Son of Man. 28Don't be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God's Son, "
29and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to judgment. 30But I do nothing without consulting the Father. I judge as I am told. And my judgment is absolutely just, because it is according to the will of God who sent me; it is not merely my own."
31"If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. 32But someone else is also testifying about me, and I can assure you that everything he says about me is true. 33In fact, you sent messengers to listen to John the Baptist, and he preached the truth. 34But the best testimony about me is not from a man, though I have reminded you about John's testimony so you might be saved. 35John shone brightly for a while, and you benefited and rejoiced. 36But I have a greater witness than John -- my teachings and my miracles. They have been assigned to me by the Father, and they testify that the Father has sent me. 37And the Father himself has also testified about me. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, 38and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me -- the one he sent to you.39"You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life."
41"Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, 42because I know you don't have God's love within you. 43For I have come to you representing my Father, and you refuse to welcome me, even though you readily accept others who represent only themselves. 44No wonder you can't believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don't care about the honor that comes from God alone."
45"Yet it is not I who will accuse you of this before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, on whom you set your hopes. 46But if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me because he wrote about me. 47And since you don't believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)