Summary: Eighth in a series on the Miracles of Jesus.
Miracle # 8
“Jesus Heals the Lame Man At Bethesada”
It must be pointed out that all of the healing miracles of Jesus do not fit into a neat pattern. In the last miracle we examined (Luke 5:18-26), the friends of an invalid broke through a roof to let him down into the presence of Jesus. He appears to be healed on the basis of the faith of his friends. At other times Jesus demanded faith on the part of the one who was to be healed (The Healing of the Two Blind Men -Matthew 9:27-31). Obviously the raising of the dead [Jairus’s daughter (Matt 9) and Lazarus (John 11) ] cannot be the result of the person’s faith.
In fact only a few of the 35 miracles were the consequences of faith. Verse thirteen of our text declares that the lame man did not even know who had healed him, (he did not recognize Jesus or know who he was) therefore, there can be no question then that faith was not a condition of his healing. In the miracle that we will examine tonight we will see that He simply commanded a man to be healed not because he believed, but because it was His will.
The Background of the Miracle (vv. 1-5)
“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.”
According to John, Jesus has traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem in order to celebrate a feast or festival. We don’t know for sure which one, but it may have been the feast of Pentecost, a feast commemorating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. When he was in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda, also known as Bethsaida, where “a great multitude of sick people” gathered. Fittingly the name Bethesda means “house of mercy.” The attraction of the pool given in verse four is omitted in some of the versions, because it was thought by some to be a later addition. At any rate, it was said that an angel of the Lord would at certain times come down to the pool and disturb the surface of the water and the first person to enter the pool there-after was cured of any illness. Whether or not this had ever in fact happened, that was what these people believed. In the multitude of people gathered
there was one certain man who had been afflicted for 38 years.
The Elements of the Miracle (vv. 6-9, 14)
“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.”
It is interesting to note that Jesus does not heal everyone at that the pool that day but as He moved among the blind and the lame, he spotted one particular man who had been ill for 38 years. The Bible does not say the nature of his disease other than it rendered him unable to walk, nor why among so many Jesus chose this man to heal.
"Do you want to be made well?"
As we noted at the beginning Jesus did not always demand faith; but he did demand agreement. He would not have healed this man against his will.
But there is even more being asked here as well, he had been an invalid for nearly forty years, during that time he had lived by the pity of others collecting alms, if he is healed he will have to be responsible for himself. He will have find work; he will be entering a whole new world. It would be the equivalent today of asking a person who had lived on welfare if they were willing to give up in order to be well.
In fact some people will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid unwelcome changes in their lives.