3
September
2018

JOHN 5:1-18 JESUS HEALS A MAN BY THE POOL IN JERUSALEM

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John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" 7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed." 11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'" 12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

 In this section of scripture we see Jesus seek out a man who has been sick for 38 years.  The man does nothing to deserve this healing, does not trust Christ and even turns on Christ for confronting his sin. But this is THE Jesus who loves us and does things for us even when we don’t deserve it or even mistreat Him. Also we see that Jesus tells the Pharisees He is God, most people would say that Jesus never said that in the Bible and they would be wrong because they wanted to kill him for it.  This scripture also shows us that Jesus has compassion on us even when we don’t deserve it and it also shows the inhumanity of man in that the Pharisees don’t care that the man is healed, all they care about is that he and Jesus broke THEIR LAWS.  Because God is not like they are, he is in the healing business all the time.  Imagine if hospitals, fire departments, and others who take care of people were closed on Sunday, God is open for business all the time, because He loves us unconditionally.

           It seems to me that John is showing us something about Jesus’ knowledge, his compassion, and his power.

This man is in a desperate situation. A picture of us in our sinful condition. Helpless, hopeless, hurting.

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.

 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.

 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.

First, Jesus is in Jerusalem again, and he makes a point to go to a pool where people with diseases and disabilities wait for the troubling of the waters, because healings happen in this pool. Jesus walks in among this crowd of people.

 5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.

Jesus’ knowledge

 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"  Some people don’t want to get well, involves work, feeding himself, getting a job, won’t be taken care of without having to do anything.

Isa 35:4 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you." 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.

Luke 4:16-20, from Is 61:1-3

Jesus knew his situation. When you know Jesus, this is the kind of person you know. A person who knows you perfectly—knows everything about you, inside and out, and all you have ever felt or thought or done. “You discern my thoughts from afar. . . . Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” (Psalms 139:2–4). The more you know about Jesus, the more precious this truth becomes.

Jesus’ Compassion

7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." The man misses Jesus’ point, He is like most of us with our positive thinking saying we can do it, it just may take awhile. 

Mr 2:17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

You don’t have to get better to get well.

Here it seems that somewhere along the way, a copyist drew a marginal note of explanation into the actual text. Verse 7 begs for an explanation. How the pool worked is not essential to the story. The fact that Jesus worked is essential to the story.

He didn’t say be encouraged, or it will happen, or I will help you get in, or let me make you comfortable (in your sin)

Jesus’ Power

 8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk."

Have to do what Jesus says to do, when, where, how, and if He tells us.  Phil 4:13 – tells him to do something, human responsibility and God’s sovereignty working together. Take your bed, in other words cut off the possibility of going back to where you were at. Trust Jesus to help you do it.

 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” The words “at once” signify the immediacy of Jesus’ power. 

This is John exulting again in the sovereign power of Jesus the same way he did in John 2:1-8 when He made the water into wine and it happened without a word and as soon as the jars were filled and in John 4:52–53 where   the official’s son was healed at exactly the seventh hour 15 miles away when Jesus said the words.

 Is John going to shift from the glory of Jesus to the ground rules of the Sabbath? The answer is no. The Sabbath issue is raised, but it’s raised in a way that amazingly keeps the focus on the glory of Jesus. Watch what John does.

He knows this will create conflict.

Why did Jesus do this other than to create a conflict with the Religious leaders

  10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."

He also reminds us of the importance which Judaism has placed, and continues to place, on the keeping of the Sabbath:

May we be privileged, by virtue of the proper observance of the Shabbath, to see the final redemption of Israel. Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, “Were Israel properly to observe two Shabbathoth, they would immediately be redeemed” (Shabbath 118b). Until such time, God’s only dwelling-place on this earth is within the four walls of the Halacha (Berachoth 8a).[1]

 

 11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"

Takes the focus off of himself, he is still a selfish person

 12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?"

Pharisees don’t care he is healed, just that he broke their laws. The law called for stoning. Jer 17:21 'Thus says the LORD: "Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; 22 "nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

 Morris points out (p. 307, fn. 33) that the word rendered “slip out” is found only here in the New Testament, and that it means “‘to bend the head aside’ (AS), and thus ‘to dodge.’”

 Notice how John refers to this fellow as “the man who had been healed,” while the Jews can only see him as the man carrying his mat on the Sabbath.

Jesus healed and disappeared before the man could find out who he was. He didn’t even know who healed him. Does this mean Jesus had no intention of dealing with this man’s soul? Was he content just to do a random miracle and leave the man in ignorance as to where it came from?

 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." 

Based on what Jesus says his sickness was most likely caused by sin Jesus finds the man in the temple. Once more, He has sought him out. Jesus must know that doing so will identify Him to the authorities and cause Him great trouble (just as He knew that this man had suffered long and hard when He chose to heal him—verse 5:6). Even knowing this, Jesus goes to him with one thing in view—to warn this man to “stop sinning,” lest something even worse happen to him.[2]

No. And we know this because in verse 14 it was Jesus who found the man, not the man who found Jesus: “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” Jesus had no intention of walking away from this man and leaving him with nothing more than a healed body.

Notice two things. At the end of verse 13, the reason Jesus walked away from the man was that there was a crowd there: “Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place.” The place was filled with sick people and, no doubt those who cared for them. Had he stayed there after healing one man there would have been a tumult of miracle-seeking. This is not the main thing Jesus is after.

So notice, secondly, how this is confirmed in verse 14. Jesus seeks out the man in the temple and tells him the real issue in his healing. “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” What’s the issue? The issue is holiness mainly, not health. “I have healed you to make you holy.”

“Turn from Sin to Me”

Do you see this? “Sin no more. Stop sinning. My aim in healing your body is the healing of your soul. I have given you a gift. It’s free. It came first, before my command. You didn’t earn it. You weren’t good enough for it. I chose you freely. And I healed you. Now, live in this power. Let the gift of healing, the gift of my free grace, be a means to your holiness.”

And yes, he warns him that, if he turns away, and mocks this gift, or makes an idol out of his health, and embraces sin as his way of life, he will perish. I take that—final judgment—to be the “worse thing” (in verse 14) that will happen because there aren’t many natural things worse than the 38 years this man endured, and because in verses 28–29, Jesus says, “An hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

In other words: “I have healed you that you may be holy, that you may stop doing evil, and that you may not rise to the resurrection of judgment, but to the resurrection of life. I have pointed you to myself as a life-giver. I heal in more ways than one. Don’t turn from me to a life of sin.”

Ga 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

He Healed Only One

The implications of this are huge for the diseases and disabilities that we deal with today. Jesus walked into a huge “multitude of invalids” according to verse 3. And he heals one man. Just one. And disappears before even that man can know who he was. He leaves hundreds of invalids behind unhealed. Then he finds the man in a less conspicuous place and puts all the focus on holiness. “Sin no more.”

The point is this: In the first coming of the Son of God into the world, we receive foretastes of his healing power. The full healing of all his people and all their diseases and disabilities awaits the second coming of Christ. And the aim of these foretastes which we receive now is to call us to faith and holiness.

Healing Is the Exception, Not the Rule—For Now

Most people who suffer from disabilities in this life will have them to the day they die. And all of us, till Jesus comes again, will die of something. Here and there, some are healed. We believe in miracles. But even though Jesus had all the power to heal, he did not usher in the final day of perfect wholeness. His ministry points to that day. But while this age of groaning lasts (Romans 8:23), healing is the exception, not the rule. And that is not because we are weak in faith. To be sure, we might see more miracles if we expected more and believed more.

But Jesus left hundreds unhealed at the pool of Bethesda. And told the one man he did heal, who had not even believed on him—to wake up. I am pursuing your holiness. The main issue in this age till Jesus comes back is that we meet him—meet him—in our brokenness, and receive the power of his forgiveness to pursue holiness. In this calling to faith and holiness, the disabled often run faster and farther than many of us who have our legs and arms.

First for Holiness, Then for Health

But for now, may the Lord open your eyes to know Jesus personally, as one who knows you, and has compassion on you, and is sovereign over your body and your soul, and the one who has come with saving and healing power first for the sake of your holiness, and then finally for the sake of your everlasting health.

Notice this man did nothing in this section but complain he couldn’t get into the pool.  He was helpless, hopeless, and hurting, but Jesus did this for him anyway.  This passage is not about positive thinking, you can do it so take up your pallet and walk, it is about Jesus who can enable us to do whatever He wants us to do.

This means when we minister to people we should not only minister to their physical needs, but make sure we don’t forget the greatest need of all the spiritual need for Christ and where they will spend eternity.

John 8:32-44 Came to set us free

[1] Ibid, p. xxxii.

[2] We must understand our Lord’s words here in the light of His words to His disciples in John chapter 9. There, the disciples automatically assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of someone’s sin. In that case, it was not so. That man had been born blind so that God might be glorified when our Lord healed him. In this case, the man’s sickness actually did result from his sin (see also Numbers 12:9-15; 2 Kings 5:25-27; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 11:30). Sickness may be the direct result of sin, but it is not always, not necessarily, the case.