What does John 5:9 mean?
ESV: And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
NIV: At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
NASB: Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was a Sabbath on that day.
CSB: Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk.Now that day was the Sabbath,
NLT: Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath,
KJV: And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
NKJV: And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
Verse Commentary:
Whether this man was seeking healing, whether he expected to be healed, and whether he wanted to be healed, that is exactly what happened. In prior verses, Jesus seems to question the man's interest in being made whole (John 5:6). The man's answer was lukewarm at best. He had likely given up hope or become comfortable inspiring pity from others (John 5:7). Yet of all the disabled people there, Jesus chose to approach and heal this man (John 5:8).

The Greek of this verse describes the healing as happening kai eutheōs, literally meaning "right away" or "at once." Whether this was a split second, or a matter of a few seconds, we cannot be sure. It certainly was not an extended process. No room was left to claim that Jesus' statement before the man's restoration was a coincidence. Jesus told a man crippled for thirty-eight years to walk, and he got right up and walked!

Instantaneous change is one of the signs of a "true miracle." False teachers, faith healers, and other frauds attempt to claim miraculous healing. According to the con artist, these effects are slow to complete or minor at first. This makes it easier to pretend a miracle was delivered when nothing of the kind has happened. This passage records a "true miracle," meant to prove a particular point (John 20:30–31). This is likely one reason Jesus chose a man who had been completely crippled for nearly four decades. When that man instantly walked in response to Jesus' command, it left no doubt that what happened was a miracle. It was not a trick, a show, or an illusion; this was the power of God.

That makes the reaction of the local religious leaders even more disappointing. Rather than being in awe of the miracle, they will be offended that Jesus violates their traditions regarding the Sabbath. Given that Jesus often argued with the Pharisees over the Sabbath (Luke 13:10–17; Matthew 12:1–8), there's good reason to think He is purposefully provoking the hard hearts of these men by His actions.
Verse Context:
John 5:1–15 contains the third of John's seven ''signs'' of Christ. A man crippled for decades expresses no prior knowledge of Jesus, nor an immediate desire to be healed. Jesus heals the man and tells him to walk. For carrying his mat—working—local religious leaders then confront the man. Yet he still doesn't know who Jesus is. Jesus meets the man in the temple and warns him about the dangers of sin. Once the city's leaders find out that Jesus was responsible for the healing, they will confront Him for violating the Sabbath, and for claiming to be equal with God.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus again returns to Jerusalem, as required for the various feast days. While there, He heals a man who had been crippled for nearly forty years. Since this occurred on the Sabbath, local religious leaders are angry. In fact, they are more upset with Jesus for working on the Sabbath than amazed at His miracle. In response, Jesus offers an important perspective on evidence. Jesus refers to human testimony, scriptural testimony, and miracles as reasons to believe His declarations. Christ also lays claim to many of the attributes of God, making a clear claim to divinity.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 through 4 showed Jesus avoiding major publicity. Here, in chapter 5, He will begin to openly challenge the local religious leaders. This chapter is Jesus' first major answer to His critics in this gospel. The fact that Jesus is willing to heal on the Sabbath sets up a theme of His upcoming disagreements with the Pharisees. Jesus also provides an important perspective on the relationship between evidence and faith, which He will expand on in later chapters. This chapter also establishes a key point made by Jesus' critics: His claims to be God.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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