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Summary: Picture # 6 in series: The 14 Candid Snapshots of the Maturing Christian as found in the Gospel of John. Jesus heals the man at the pool of Bethesda which is a picture of the salvation of the reformed sinner and evidence that works alone cannot save.

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Picture # 6: The reformed sinner

Picture # 6, the picture of the reformed sinner, is evidence that works alone cannot save!

At the healing at the pool of Bethesda, we see a candid snapshot of a sinner who has tried everything to reform his life, but to no avail(John 5: 5,6).

He could not save himself, and he needed help from God instead of help from man.

The person who is looking to save himself or herself, or looking for humanity to save him or her can have a new birth in Christ by personal faith in Christ, and can instantly become a witness to Christ(John 5:15; II Peter 3:18).

The word “miracle” means “power.”

It comes from the same word from which we get our English word “dynamite.”

Jesus literally dynamited with power the people’s doubt and fear to demonstrate to them the amazing power and grace of God.

This miracle set the bloodhounds of hate, the Jewish religious authorities, on Jesus’ track, and they never let up until they put Christ to death on the cross and folded their arms beneath His cross.

The pool at Bethesda was surrounded by 5 covered colonnades, and the name “Bethesda” means “house of mercy” or “house of olives,” which testifies to the number 5, which is the number for God’s amazing grace.

The fact that the man had been in this same state for 38 years is also a study in numbers.

The number 3 is a divine number: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The number 8 is a number that represents new beginnings, for after creation was complete on the seventh day, the eighth day was a new beginning.

With divine intervention in your life, you can have a new beginning.

You’re going to be surprised here because you notice in our New International Version of the Bible, that verse 4 does not exist.

In the better manuscripts of the Bible this verse has been left out because it was placed there by a scribe as an explanation to verse 7, where John writes, “when the water is stirred…”

Verse 4 I believe is very important as an explanation as to why there was a crowd of people waiting to get in the water.

I want to read you the last part of verse 3 and verse 4 from the Kenneth S. Wuest Expanded Translation of the New Testament.

“In these there was lying down a multitude of infirm people, of blind people, of crippled people, of those, the members of whose bodies were withered, waiting for the stirring up of the water, for an angel from time to time was accustomed to descend into the pool, and he stirred up the water. Then the first who stepped in after the stirring up of the water was cured of whatever disease had gotten possession of him and was holding him down.”

Our attention now is directed to one man here.

Whether he had been at the pool for a long time or not, we do not know.

We do know that he had been infirm for 38 years and he moved with great difficulty.

Perhaps he was the worst case there that day.

You can well imagine this poor fellow lying there, keeping his eyes on the water, waiting for the moving, or the stirring of the water that happened from time to time and the people believed by the presence of an angel of the Lord.


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