I. John 5:1-18,
II. 5:1-5 Desperate for Healing
A. V1, We don’t know what feast this was, but since it was a feast it would have meant that Jerusalem would be extremely crowded.
B. V2, Sheep Gate = Gate where the sheep were lead to be sacrificed. The pool of Bethesda was to the side of the temple and the ruins can still be seen today. Bethesda means “House of Mercy”.
C. V3, At this pool in the “House of Mercy” lay a great multitude. The picture is of a packed house, wall to wall people, all with one hope that God would heal them. They were all waiting for the moving of the water.
D. V4, John seems to state this as fact so we have no reason to assume that it is not true. God was still going to do a healing at the “House of Mercy” but He wasn’t going to be doing it through an angel this time, He would do it through Christ Himself.
E. V5, This man had this infirmity longer than Jesus had lived.
III. 5:6-9, Jesus Asks the Impossible
A. V6, Jesus waded through the multitude and went to the weakest, the most needy person there. He sees him there and knows how long he has been like that, with that in mind Jesus asks the man “Do you want to be made well?” That seems like an odd questions, since we would assume knowing how long the man was in this condition that the obvious answer would be Yes!!!! But sometimes people don’t want to be made well, and it takes a willingness to be made well. For this man to be made well meant leaving behind what he had known for 38 years, and he would have to learn to work for a living instead of begging.
1. With the healing would come responsibility. We also see later on that his condition was a direct result of his sin, so if Jesus makes Him well it means also giving up that sin that got him there in the first place. We should ask ourselves, do we want to be made well?
B. V7, The sick man doesn’t answer the question but gives an excuse instead. Not only that the man can only see one way for God to heal him, and that is through him getting to the water, which seems like an impossible situation. If he hadn’t gotten in there for 38 years he probably isn’t getting in anytime soon.
C. V8, Jesus gives him an impossible command. There is no way this man can possibly do this. Yet all the man has to do is obey this impossible command and God will empower him to do it. The same is true for us, at time Jesus asks us something impossible to do, but all we have to do is rise and walk. All we have to do is obey His Word and He will empower us to do it. It may be a sin that has beset us for years, and we say Lord it is impossible for you to heal me of this, but He doesn’t ask for excuses He just ask for us to rise and walk.
D. V9, Immediately this man is healed. It doesn’t talk about faith even being involved, in fact it seems more like Jesus just did this miracle despite the dis-belief of this man. When God want’s to do a miracle, He doesn’t have to wait until we have faith to do it. Although Jesus always encourages faith and even compliments faith, at times saying “Your faith has made you well”. This time though Jesus just gave a impossible command and the man was healed. This day though was the Sabbath, which is noted because Jesus told this man to take up his bed which was something that the Pharisees had forbidden in their commentaries on the law of the Sabbath. I believe Jesus was looking to get the Pharisees attention with this, to show them that He had done a Messianic Miracle, despite it being against their commentaries.
IV. 5:10-15, Jesus asks the impossible again.
A. V10, When the Pharisees found this man they told him that he wasn’t keeping the Law. They must have known this man, he had lived next to the temple for 38 years. They should have shouted for joy that God had healed him, instead they slam him with an accusation from their legalism. Legalism always looks critically at people, and searches for ways to condemn others.
B. V11, His answer was that he was only obeying the one who had told him what to do. He had waited for 38 years for God to heal him, the Pharisees had never done anything to help him with all their codes of legalism so he decided to obey this stranger.
C. V12, They question as to who this man was. Instead of realizing that a Messianic Miracle had been done they are looking to point the finger at someone for breaking their rules, rules that they had made and God hadn’t. Legalism always is looking to point the finger and look for the wrong in others.
D. V13, Jesus had withdrawn, the word for withdrawn is the word for “dodge”. Jesus had dodged out and the man didn’t even know his name. Jesus had come to heal that one man in particular, he dodged out because he hadn’t come to heal the multitude. In healing this man He not only wanted to reach out to the most needy of everyone at the pool but He had a plan to attempt to teach a lesson to the Pharisees and reveal Himself to them. Even despite all their legalism Jesus continues to give proofs that He is the Messiah and continues to attempt to reach out to the Pharisees. Jesus reached out to sinners, healed no bodies, but He didn’t forget to try to minister to the overly-religious as well.
E. V14, Jesus sought this man out. Just as He had done the first time, and this time Jesus had another impossible command for him. We see here that this man’s disability was a result of his sin… but this does not mean all sicknesses and diseases and disabilities are results from sin (I.E. Job). That said sin still brings with it natural consequences. Jesus then told him to sin no more. This is impossible. But it is what Jesus asked of him, and all this man had to do was step out and obey the Word of Jesus and God would heal him from his sin and empower him to sin no more like he had healed him from being lame. To the Christian, do you want to be healed? Do you want to be made well? Do you want to sin no more? Rise, take up your bed and walk. All it takes is to be willing. Tell testimony. Lest a worse thing come upon you… once God has healed us from something don’t go back… it will only make it worse than before.
F. V15, After this it seems like the man either was so excited that it was Jesus who healed him that he goes and tells the Pharisees. That, or the man snitches. It is possible that the man went and sinned by telling on Jesus. So many times God heals us of something and we didn’t even have to do anything, in fact maybe we didn’t even put our faith in God that He would fix our situation, and yet as soon as it is over we go and betray God five minutes later. This is the sinful heart of man. This man returned the grace of God with betrayal. May we not take advantage of the grace of God and may we not take it for granted.
V. 5:16-18, Jesus is God
A. V16, Jesus took care of this man physically, and He tried to heal Him spiritually (whether He did or not remains to be seen) but this act of grace and love is one of the main causes that leads to His death. Jesus was doing miracles on the Sabbath, miracles that only the Messiah could do, and miracles that were specifically designed to show to the Jews that He was their Messiah, but they could not see past their traditions and legalism to see that their Savior was in their midst.
B. V17, Jesus’ answer is that His Father works on the Sabbath, so He does too. God never takes a day off. God took one day off in history and that was it. After that the Sabbath was made for man, so that man could enjoy it. Man was not made for the purpose of the Sabbath, but the Pharisees had switched it around and had made the restrictions so strict for keeping the Sabbath it was as if they had been made to exist only for the sake of the Sabbath.
C. V18, The Jews understand that this statement is a statement of Deity and all the more wanted to kill him for it. We will be looking at these verses in a bit more detail next week.
A. First, do you want to be made well? Because that is important. Being made well might mean giving up a certain sin that you have come to cling to. Being made well might mean life will have a higher responsibility. So do you really want to be made well?
B. Secondly, don’t make excuses.
C. Thirdly, rise take up your bed and walk. Do you think it is impossible what God is asking you to do? All you have to do is be willing and God will empower you to do what He is asking of you.