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Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.
Questions to Consider:
This is an interesting story. We have a magical pool of water. It is really not magical, but it is supernatural. At a certain time an angel would stir up the water in the pool and the first person who entered the pool after the water was stirred up would be healed. Can you imagine?
It would not take long for this information to become well-known throughout the land of Israel and the multitude of people waiting to be the first person in the pool would have been quite the crowd. In situations, such as what John describes, the people would probably not have been well-behaved. I imagine people pushed and shoved and fought for every square inch around the perimeter of the pool.
There was a man there who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years. Thirty-eight years is a long time when the life expectancy of someone living in Christ's time was about 35 years. Out of all the people crowding the edge of the pool, it was this man that caught Jesus' attention. Jesus engaged him by asking "THE" relevant question.
"Do you want to be made well?" The man answered, "I have no one to help me and so it is impossible for me to be the first person in the pool." The implied answer to Jesus' question was a resounding, "Yes!" Then Jesus, who always seemed to be compassionate, told the man, ""Rise, take up your bed and walk." The man was instantly healed.
There was one problem with this whole scenario. The man obeyed Jesus, he picked up his bed and started to walk...but...it...was...on...the Sabbath. What would we do in a world without religious people? This is what I know about religious people in general; they pick and chose which rules they want to obey and when they want to obey them. (It is called hypocrisy) The Jews said to the man who was healed, "It is against the law for you to carry your bed on the Sabbath.
This is the straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel that Jesus was talking about when speaking of the Jewish leaders. A man who has been sick and disabled for 38 years has just been miraculously healed and they are concerned about the man in question carrying his bed.
The Jews dug in deeper when they found out that the man who "healed" him gave him instructions to carry his bed. Double whammy. Someone was "healing" (working) on the Sabbath; and that same someone caused another to break the rules of the Sabbath.
Lead Teaching Elder: