Summary: Jesus brought healing at the pool which wasn’t popular. Do we allow tradition to trump life?
Background: Jesus arrives in Jerusalem at the time of one of the feasts. Most commentators believe it was the Feast of Passover, but we can’t know with 100% certainty. Nonetheless, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem at the time of the feast, and as you would expect the crowds are large. If it were indeed Passover, it would be required that all Jewish males be in attendance. While here, he passes by the pool where many are sick. We find the account of the healing of the lame man in this story.
Take special note here of the sharp contrast of the Old and New Covenants. Here is a time of celebration of Jewish laws, customs and traditions. Here is a time of celebration of what God has done in the rich history of the people. And, here comes Jesus to do something fresh and new!!
What the law was always powerless to do, Jesus did by simply speaking the Word of life and healing!!
How disheartening and frustrating it must have been for the religious leaders to come for a celebration and see so many hurting sitting around a pool. I’m sure they wished they would all go away. How on earth could that help the image of who they were?
The pool was near the Sheep Gate, which is where the sheep would be brought into the city for sacrifice. With each entry for sacrifice, there would be a glaring reminder of the ineptitude of what they were doing.
The five porches or colonnades were to provide shelter and comfort for the sick and hurting.
o HOW OFTEN DO WE DO WHAT WE CAN IN AN ATTEMPT TO MASK WHAT WE KNOW WE CAN’T DO?
“Bethesda” means “HOUSE OF MERCY” or “FLOWING WATERS”
Based on what we read, the flowing waters of mercy would only be beneficial on occasion. The rest of the time the sick would be forced to watch, remember and hope.
How often is the church the same way? The flowing rivers of mercy are available at times. We leave the hurting in their condition to watch, remember and hope.
The main thing the religious people wanted that day was to look good. The last thing the religious people wanted that day was for Jesus to do something that they couldn’t.
1. Jesus offers the option of healing – “Do you want to get well?”
a. Imagine for a moment the insult that this question could have caused. Who that is sick doesn’t want to get well?
b. Yet, Jesus is not looking to insult or offend. He wants to know the truth.
c. How many people laying at the pool that day were comfortable in their routine and their condition? They may have enjoyed the attention or even pity of the people.
d. Perhaps the main reason many people don’t want Jesus to come along is that He doesn’t leave the situation in the same way in which He found it.
e. Jesus is interested in people being whole in body, soul, spirit, emotions, etc…
2. The lame man explains why he hasn’t been healed yet.
a. If we get comfortable enough where we are we get really good at justifying.
b. “It must not be God’s will . . . “ When is it ever not God’s will to bring life and healing?
c. I believe the Lord has been asking this question to many, and like this man, we need to let Him know that we really want to be healed.
d. This man was explaining not out of a lack of faith, but out of a lack of knowledge. He was hurting, but he only knew of one way to be made whole.
e. Those there to celebrate the feast had nothing to give this man except the same thing he had always heard about the stirring of the waters.
3. Jesus challenges the norm or status quo by speaking to the man. He is the flowing waters of mercy!
a. Jesus has never been one to conform to the norm or status quo of society.
b. We do a major disservice in that we often try and force Jesus to fit within the parameters that we set and are comfortable with.
c. Society said that if the waters didn’t stir, nobody got healed. Jesus said, Get up!
d. Jesus lived and ministered as Bethesda in human form. The waters were stirred in Him and they flowed out to those in need.
e. He wants to do the same through you and me!
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. John 7:38
4. The response of the lame man to the spoken word of the Lord determined the outcome of the situation.