John 5:14
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
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(14) Afterward.—There is no mark of time. Probably it was on the same day. Perhaps the first use of his restored power was to go to the Temple and pay his thank-offering to God.

Sin no more.—These words connect his past sufferings with individual sin. He has been freed from the effects, but if they have been truly remedial he has been freed from the cause too. He is in God’s house. Let him accept restored powers as God’s gift, and let their devotion be the true thank-offering. The imperative is present, and points to a permanent condition of life—“Be not any more a sinner.”

A worse thing.—There is, then, something worse than a life of unmoving helplessness. There is a sadness of tone even as He says, “Behold, thou art made whole;” just as there is a sigh when He says, “Ephphatha: Be opened!” (Mark 7:34). There are men for whom it had been good never to have been born (Matthew 26:24). There are limbs that had better never have moved. There are lives that had better have sunk in the negative inaction of death, than have cursed themselves and others in positive deed and speech and thought of life. The power of existence is of infinite grandeur, but it is also of infinite responsibility. It has within its reach the highest good for self and for mankind; but if the God-given power is sacrificed to sin there is within its reach an unutterable depth of woe.

John 5:14-16. Afterward, Jesus findeth him in the temple — The same day, probably, in which he was healed, whither, it is likely, he had repaired to return thanks to God for his signal recovery. Thus, when God has, at any time, restored us to our health, we ought to attend him with solemn praises; and the sooner the better; while the sense of the mercy is fresh in our minds. Jesus, happening to be now in the temple, and meeting with the man, that he might render the mercy he had conferred on him complete, takes this opportunity to put him in mind of his having brought the distemper upon himself by his wicked courses; and said, Behold, thou art made whole — By the singular mercy of God, thou art now restored to health and vigour; sin no more — Guard against all known sin; lest a worse thing come unto thee — Lest some heavier judgment should be inflicted on thee: for the deliverance thou hast now received would be a dreadful aggravation of any future guilt thou mightest contract. The man — Having received information from those that stood by who it was that spoke to him, and knowing him to be the person to whom he was indebted for his cure; departed — From the temple; and told the Jews — Who had before examined him, that it was Jesus who had made him whole, expecting, no doubt, by this discovery, to have procured him that honour and respect which were due to so much power and goodness. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus — One would have expected, that as soon as the man who had been thus miraculously healed had published the name of his benefactor, crowds would have immediately thronged about Jesus to have heard the words of his mouth, and to have received the blessings of his gospel. But, instead of this, behold the malignity of our fallen nature, and force of stubborn prejudice! They surround him with a hostile intent; they even conspire against his life; and, for an imagined transgression in point of ceremony, would have put out this Light of Israel. Let us not wonder, then, if our good be evil spoken of; if even candour, benevolence, and usefulness, do not disarm the enmity of those who have been taught to prefer sacrifice to mercy; and who, dis-relishing the genuine gospel, naturally seek to slander and persecute the professors, and especially the defenders of it.

5:10-16 Those eased of the punishment of sin, are in danger of returning to sin, when the terror and restraint are over, unless Divine grace dries up the fountain. The misery believers are made whole from, warns us to sin no more, having felt the smart of sin. This is the voice of every providence, Go, and sin no more. Christ saw it necessary to give this caution; for it is common for people, when sick, to promise much; when newly recovered, to perform only something; but after awhile to forget all. Christ spoke of the wrath to come, which is beyond compare worse than the many hours, nay, weeks and years of pain, some wicked men have to suffer in consequence of their unlawful indulgences. And if such afflictions are severe, how dreadful will be the everlasting punishment of the wicked!Findeth him - Fell in with him, or saw him.

In the temple - The man seems to have gone at once to the temple - perhaps a privilege of which he had been long deprived. They who are healed from sickness should seek the sanctuary of God and give him thanks for his mercy. Compare the notes at Isaiah 38:20. There is nothing more improper, when we are raised up from a bed of pain, than to forget God our benefactor, and neglect to praise him for his mercies.

Thou art made whole - Jesus calls to his remembrance the fact that he was healed, in order that he might admonish him not to sin again.

Sin no more - By this expression it was implied that the infirmity of this man was caused by sin - perhaps by vice in his youth. His crime or dissipation had brought on him this long and distressing affliction. Jesus shows him that he knew the cause of his sickness, and takes occasion to warn him not to repeat it. No man who indulges in vice can tell what may be its consequences. It must always end in evil, and not unfrequently it results in loss of health, and in long and painful disease. This is always the case with intemperance and all gross pleasures. Sooner or later, sin will always result in misery.

Sin no more - Do not repeat the vice. You have had dear-bought experience, and if repeated it will be worse. When a man has been restored from the effects of sin, he should learn to avoid the very appearance of evil. He should shun the place of temptation; he should not mingle again with his old companions; he should touch not, taste not, handle not. God visits with heavier judgment those who have been once restored from the ways of sin and who return again to it. The drunkard that has been reformed, and that returns to his habits of drinking, becomes more beastly; the man that professes to have experienced a change of heart, and who then indulges in sin, sinks deeper into pollution, and is seldom restored. The only way of safety in all such cases is to "sin no more;" not to be in the way of temptation; not to expose ourselves; not to touch or approach that which came near to working our ruin. The man who has been intemperate and is reformed, if he tastes the poison at all, may expect to sink deeper than ever into drunkenness and pollution.

A worse thing - A more grievous disease, or the pains of hell. "The doom of apostates is a worse thing than thirty-eight years' lameness" (Henry).

14. findeth him in the temple—saying, perhaps, "I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings, I will pay my vows which my lips have uttered and my mouth hath spoken when I was in trouble" (Ps 66:13, 14). Jesus, there Himself for His own ends, "findeth him there"—not all accidentally, be assured.

sin no more, &c.—a glimpse this of the reckless life he had probably led before his thirty-eight years' infirmity had come upon him, and which not improbably had brought on, in the just judgment of God, his chronic complaint. Fearful illustration this of "the severity of God," but glorious manifestation of our Lord's insight into "what was in man."

Jesus findeth him in the temple; walking in the outward court of the temple, or some part of it, where people ordinarily walked. He charges him to

sin no more, lest a worse thing betided him; hereby letting him and us know that sin is the usual cause of diseases, and a holy walking the best preservative of health; and that God hath further revelations of his wrath against sin and sinners, than what do or can befall them in this life.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple,.... Perhaps on the same day; for as soon as he had been at home, and laid down his bed, it is very likely he went directly to the temple, there to show himself, attend the worship of the place, and return thanks to God for the great mercy bestowed on him:

and said unto him, behold thou art made whole; cured of the disease that had attended him so many years; and a wonderful cure it was; well may a "behold" be prefixed; though this is here not only a note of admiration, but of attention, to what he was about to say to him: sin is a disease, which is original, natural, and hereditary to men; it is an epidemical one, all are affected with it, and all the powers and faculties of the soul; and it is a nauseous and loathsome one; and what is mortal and incurable in itself, and only to be cured by the great physician, Jesus Christ: God's elect are attended with it as others, and being made sensible thereof, they come to Christ for a cure, and receive one, as this man did, to whom he said,

sin no more; intimating, that as all diseases of the body spring from sin, so had his; and that the time past of his life should suffice, for a course of sinning; and that the mercy he had received, laid him under an obligation to guard against it, to which there would still be a proneness in him; nor did our Lord imagine, that he could hereafter live without sin, but that he should not indulge himself in it, and give up himself unto it, and live in it: so all the diseases of the soul arise from sin; and when a person is converted, he ought not to walk as others do, or he himself has done; and though there is a propensity to sin and backslide from God after conversion, yet the grace of God teaches men to deny sin, and to live righteously; and though it cannot be thought that they should be, and act without sin, yet it becomes them not to live in sin, or go on in a course of it, as heretofore:

lest a worse thing come unto thee; for God could send a worse disease, or a sorer affliction, than he had yet done; an heavier punishment, either in this world, or that to come: and apply this to a good man, a converted man, one called by grace and cured by Christ, and a worse thing through sin may come unto him than a bodily disorder, namely, the hidings of God's face; for as his presence is life, his absence is death, to such persons; and as for such who only make a profession of religion, and are externally reformed only, such, if they sin and fall away, their latter end is worse than the beginning.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
John 5:14-15. Μετὰ ταῦτα] whether or not on the same day does not appear. But it is psychologically probable that the new feeling of restored health led the man at once into the sanctuary.

μηκέτι ἁμάρτ.] Jesus therefore knew (by direct intuition) that the sickness of this sufferer had been brought about (see on Matthew 9:2-3) by special sin (of what kind does not appear); and this particular form of sin is what He refers to, not generally to the universal connection between sin and physical evil (Neander, following the early expositors), or between sin and sickness (Hengstenberg), which would not be in keeping with the character of this private interview, the design of which was the good of the man’s soul. The man’s own conscience would necessarily give an individual application to the μηκέτι ἁμάρτ. Comp. John 8:11.

χεῖρον] to be left indefinite; for if the ἁμαρτάνειν recurred, it might bring with it a worse sickness (so Nonnus), and other divine punishment, even the loss of eternal salvation. See generally Matthew 12:45; 2 Peter 2:20.

John 5:15. ἀνήγγειλε, κ.τ.λ.] The motive was neither malice (Schleiermacher, Paulus, comp. Ammon), nor gratitude, to bring Jesus into notice and recognition among the Jews (Cyril, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Grotius, and many early writers; also Maier and Hengstenberg), nor obedience to the rulers (Bengel, Lücke, de Wette, Luthardt), under the influence of stupidity (Tholuck) or fear (Lange), but, in keeping with John 5:11, and the designation ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὸν ὑγιῆ (comp. John 5:11): the supplementary vindication of the authority in obedience to which he had acted, though it was the Sabbath (John 5:9-10), and which he was unable to name to the Jews. This authority is with him decidedly higher than that of the Sanhedrim; and he not only employs it for his own acquittal, but even defies them with it. Comp. the man born blind, John 9:17; John 9:31 ff. But for this purpose how easily could he ascertain the name of Jesus!

John 5:14. Though the healed man had failed to keep hold of Jesus, Jesus does not lose hold of him, but εὑρίσκει αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, “finds him,” as if He had been looking out for him, cf. John 1:44; John 1:46, “in the temple,” where he may have gone to give God thanks. Jesus says to him Ἱδε ὑγιὴς γέγοναςγένηται. μηκέτι ἀμάρτανε, present imperative, “continue no longer in sin”. χεῖρον. There is then some worse consequence of sin than thirty-eight years’ misery and uselessness. Apparently Jesus feared that health of body might only lead the man to further sin. His physical weakness was seemingly the result of sin, cf. Mark 2:5-10. Jesus is not satisfied with giving him physical health. Oscar Holtzmann observes that we have here the two leading Pauline ideas, that the Saviour frees from many O.T. precepts, and yet that His emancipation is a call to strive against sin (Johan., p. 60).

14. Afterward] Literally, after these things, as in John 5:1. Probably the same day; we may suppose that one of his first acts after his cure would be to offer his thanks in the Temple. On John 5:13-14 Augustine writes, ‘It is difficult in a crowd to see Christ; a certain solitude is necessary for our mind; it is by a certain solitude of contemplation that God is seen … He did not see Jesus in the crowd, he saw Him in the Temple. The Lord Jesus indeed saw him both in the crowd and in the Temple. The impotent man, however, does not know Jesus in the crowd; but he knows Him in the Temple.’

sin no more] Or perhaps, continue no longer in sin. Comp. [John 8:11,] John 20:17. The man’s conscience would tell him what sin. Comp. [John 8:7]. What follows shews plainly not merely that physical suffering in the aggregate is the result of sin in the aggregate, but that this man’s 38 years of sickness were the result of his own sin. This was known to Christ’s heart-searching eye (John 2:24-25), but it is a conclusion which we may not draw without the clearest evidence in any given case. Suffering serves other ends than being a punishment for sin: ‘whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth;’ and comp. John 9:3.

a worse thing] Not necessarily hell: even in this life there might be a worse thing than the sickness which had consumed more than half man’s threescore and ten. So terrible are God’s judgments; so awful is our responsibity. Comp. Matthew 12:45; 2 Peter 2:20.

John 5:14. Μετὰ ταῦτα, afterwards) either on the same or another day, or a Sabbath.—ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, in the temple) The participation in public Divine worship more affects him, who had been a long time ill, than it does all the rest.—μηκέτι, do not hereafter) Therefore the man had been previously a sinner; nor was he free from great danger of falling into sin again. Comp. ch. John 8:11, [To the woman caught in adultery] “Go and sin no more.” This admonition, now that some interval bad elapsed since his healing, was the more necessary.—χεῖρόν τι, something worse) some heavier calamity than the infirmity even of thirty-eight years’ standing.—γένηται, befall) owing to a new, and that a heavier visitation of God’s wrath.

Verse 14. - After these things (see ver. 1). Westcott thinks that a looser connection between the foregoing and subsequent events is denoted by μετὰ ταῦτα than by the expression μετὰ τοῦτο.. Consequently, the persecution referred to in the remainder of the chapter may have occurred several days after the foregoing conversation. Jesus found him in the temple. Some have inferred from this, the recognition by the healed man of the hand of God in his cure, and his desire to express his gratitude in the house of God by some appropriate conduct or service; and, granting this explanation, much charm is observable in the tact that Jesus found him. and found him there. The Lord's habit of visiting the temple, and the penetrating glance which he casts over all the frequenters of his Father's house might then fairly be deduced from the passage; but the motive of the man is quite conjectural. From the words of Jesus one might as reasonably suppose that the man was treading at the time on dangerous moral ground, making some kind of gain from his notoriety. The healing was, at least, imperfect until the man had learned its spiritual significance. Every gift of God is doubled in value when its source is recognized. God's signature on his own mercies gives them their true meaning. Christ found the healed man in the precincts of the temple, whether his motive was pure or mixed in going thither. And he said unto him, Beheld, thou art made whole (hast become sound and healthy throughout thy physical system; cf. for the form of this description of his case, the query, ver. 6): no longer continue to sin. The form of the sentence points to something special and persistent in this man's habits, rather than to the general corruption of human nature. Christ's penetrating glance discovered all the hidden misery and bleeding wound and putrefying sore of the man's soul. Apart from the obliteration of the consequences of his bad life, and without a clean and free condition of things, the future would have proved hopeless, and deliverance from the yoke of fear and concupiscence impossible; but now this new chance is given. He was made whole, born again physically. As Naaman's flesh became like that of a little child, so this man - once bent, crippled, distorted by his self-indulgence, and now made whole - is to "sin no longer." It would not be reasonable to conclude from this that Christ's doctrine, like that of Job's friends, involved the indissoluble connection of sin with sickness, or made the amount of pain in any case the criterion of individual sin. Our Lord repudiates this position in John 9:3 and in Luke 13:1-5; but special calamities have unquestionably followed wrong doing, and can, in many instances, be referred to obvious transgressions, to specific acts, or inveterate habits. The man's own conscience would respond to the charge. Jesus added: Lest a worse thing befall thee. There is, then, something worse than thirty-eight years of apparently hopeless wretchedness! Jesus said, even as reported by the apostle of love, the most terrible things that ever fell from human lips. The "sin no longer" makes it seem as though man's will could accomplish much (cf. Isaiah 1:16, "Cease," etc.), and as though all the future of our life were, so far as human responsibility goes, dependent upon ourselves. We are to act as if it were. Let it be noticed that he who said, "Sin no more," said, "Rise up, take thy bed, and walk." Three things, which appeared utterly beyond the power of the impotent man, were, nevertheless, done by him through the grace of Christ, which he then and there appropriated. John 5:14Findeth - said

Note the lively interchange of the tenses, as in John 5:13.

Sin no more (μηκέτι ἁμάρτανε)

No longer continue to sin. See on Matthew 1:21. Jesus thus shows His knowledge that the sickness was the result of sin.

A worse thing

Than even those thirty-eight years of suffering.

Come unto thee (σοί γένηται)

Rev., better, befall thee. Literally, come to pass.

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