JOHN EXEGESIS - Chapter 5
If chapters 2 to 4 can be seen as the opening section of John’s account of Jesus’ public ministry, we now enter into the main body of that account, which seems to end at 10:42. This is so both because 10:40-42 marks a pause and appropriately concludes several related strands of the account, and because the raising of Lazarus in chapter 11 begins the movement toward the Cross (11:53). Hence Brown treats chapters 5-10 as a unit, which he labels “Jesus and the Principal Feasts of the Jews” and subdivides into Sabbath (5:1-47), Passover (6:1-71), Tabernacles (7:1 - 10:21) and Dedication (10:22-39). Look at 5:1, 5:9b, 6:4, 7:2, 10:22. Carson divides them into two sections, divided by the “excursus” of the woman taken in adultery : (i) “Rising opposition” (5:1 - 7:52) (ii) “Radical confrontation” (8:12 - 10:42).
This chapter is, then, probably best seen as the opening part of a larger unit. It contains the third sign, the healing of a man on the Sabbath, with an associated debate and discourse.
Carson rightly notes a growing prominence of opposition (the discourse recorded in ch.5 is the first with a strong element of polemic), but this is balanced by positive responses. John continues to depict the contrast between belief and unbelief, and at the same time to elaborate his picture of the One in whom people are called to believe.