Summary: Waiting for the moving of the waters.

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1. Springtime and Passover. “There was a feast of the Jews and Jesus went up” (John 5:1).

2. John’s purpose is belief. “These things (signs) are written that ye might believe” (20:31).

3. This miracle happened on a Sabbath. “On the same day was the Sabbath” (5:9).

4. How many sick were present? Commentaries say approximately 3,000. “In these lay a great multitude” (5:3).

5. Why were so many sick present? “Waiting for the moving of the waters” (5:3).

• Angel came once.

• Angel came on regular schedule.

• Tradition, an angel never came.

Don’t wait for an unseen angel,

Look for the healing Jesus.

6. Why did Jesus approach only one sick person? “When Jesus saw him lie . . . he saith unto him, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’” (5:6).

• He was only one not expecting help from an angel.

• He was only one who had faith to obey Jesus.

7. What does the pool look like? Bethesda means house of mercy.


1. How long had the man been lame?

• 38 years. This is symbolic of the 38 years Israel was punished to wander in the wilderness.

• No friends or family. Had to get to Bethesda by himself (crutches).

2. Was the man’s sickness a punishment from God?

No. God does not arbitrarily punish sin today. If so, we’d all be sick.

Self-inflicted. The man did some sin to become lame. “Now don’t sin as you did before, or something even worse may happen to you” (5:14, LB).

Results. Sickness or injury is result of germs, infection, accident, or exposure to disease.

3. How are the man’s excuses like ours?

• “I have no man” – blamed conditions

• “When the water is troubled” – blamed circumstances

• “To put me in the water” – blamed geographic place

• “Another steppeth down before me” – blamed people

• “The same day was the Sabbath.” These are not days of miracles

4. Why does God not heal everyone?

• A miracle is the interruption of the laws of nature. God’s regular plan is to operate the world by His laws, even though these laws are influenced by sin, corruption and disease.

• Sickness has a purpose. “Three different times I (Paul) begged the Lord to make me well. Each time He said, “No” (2 Cor. 12:8, 9, LB).

• Sickness is symbolic of our struggle in a world ruled by the results of sin.

• Sickness is Satan’s tool. Job’s illness.

• Sickness reflects the aging process that leads to inevitable death.

• Sickness reminds us we are human and forces us to trust in God.

• No sickness in Heaven. “He shall wipe away every tear, there shall be no death, or pain, or sickness, or crying; for these former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4, ELT).

5. How was the man healed?

• The words of Jesus. “Rise up” is egeire, a present active imperative meaning, “Get up.”

• Personal initiative. For 38 years he waited on another.

• Obedient faith. “Took up his bed,” i.e., “sleeping bag.”

• Did what was impossible. To repent and quit sinning is impossible apart from God’s transformation.

6. What were the results of this miracle?

• Witness to crowd. Man was well known.

• Defiance of man-made rules. Jesus did it on the Sabbath.

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