In the beginning of chapter five, Carson notes a variety of excavations and historic accounts which suggest the five colonnades are quite literal, as opposed to a symbolic suggestion of the Pentateuch (Carson 1991, 242). The disputed text of 3b-4 may well have been an explanatory gloss (Carson 1991, 242). It is unclear why Jesus picks the one man to heal. John makes no explanation (Carson 1991, 243). Carson notes that the man healed does not seem proactive or very thoughtful. He may view himself asa victim of circumstances (Carson 1991, 243). The fact that the healing was on the Sabbath serves to move the narrative along with a dispute over working on the Sabbath (Carson 1991, 244). Carson sees verse 14 as a statement of Jesus that whether the illness was related to sin, and it may have been, he needs to expect that future sin could have serious consequences (Carson 1991, 246).
Jesus responds to the situation in 5:16-47. The affirmation of God working on the Sabbath is not taken to imply that God is responsible to keep the Sabbath. Carson sees it as a statement that God is always caring for creation (Carson 1991, 247). Carson suggests the use of the Sabbath discussion may be John’s way of tying the Sabbath to all Jesus’ redemptive work (Carson 1991, 248). The opponents recognize verse 18 as a statement that Jesus is equal with God (Carson 1991, 249). Carson notes that the Jews assumed Jesus was calling himself an alternate God, while John has Jesus claiming unity (Carson 1991, 250). Especially Jesus’ statements of unity of will and the ability to raise the dead in v. 21 make a claim to being one with the Father (Carson 1991, 252). Though the Father and Son have different roles in judgment (v. 22), they act with one will (Carson 1991, 254). Carson sees Jesus’ claims here as a bold statement of mature Christology. There is no reasoned choice other than Jesus as God or an insane person (Carson 1991, 255). Jesus insists that the one who believes has life (Carson 1991, 256). Yet, in v. 31 and following, Jesus points out that his work is attested elsewhere. Carson observes that Jesus does not deny the truth of his testimony but that he affirms that it is documented elsewhere (Carson 1991, 259). Jesus goes on to mention a number of sources of testimony. Carson sees the testimony of the Bible, especially that of Moses, as the source Jesus’ hearers would accept as reliable. they viewed these as God’s endorsement (v. 44) (Carson 1991, 265).
Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.