Summary: The Jewish leaders fabricated a way to destroy the Son of God.
Text: “For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath” (John 5:16).
Is it wrong to do good on the Sabbath? If someone is hurting or suffering and we know what to do or we can help that person, but it happens to be the Sabbath, are we breaking the Commandment if we help them?
It is interesting to note that John is the only one who makes mention of this particular miracle or phenomena. It is also worth noting that this wonder took place at the time the Jews were celebrating one of three feasts: The Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread; the Feast of Week (Pentecost), or the Feast of Tabernacles.
John is not specific in naming the feast, but it is thought that it might be Passover. It was mandatory for every Jewish male to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate each of these feasts. This is why Jesus was in the vicinity.
“After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 5:1). He traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem to attend this feast. Jesus knew there would be many people present from different parts of the country. Here was an excellent opportunity to open the eyes of the spiritually blind. Here was a good chance to bring forth a beam of divine light. This would be where love, concern and caring would blend together right before the very eyes of the Jewish people.
“There in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches” (John 5:2). This was a unique pool. This was a special place. This was a place visited by many who were looking for healing in their body. They believed in their heart they would be healed if they were the first to be in the water when a certain movement of the water took place.
“In these (porches) lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. 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” (John 5:3, 4).
Did you ever take notice of the kind or type of illness mentioned in verse 3? Some of the people were blind, some were lame and some were paralyzed. Blind, lame and paralyzed people were just waiting for the movement of the water. Do you see anything that these people have in common?
I see people who are not able to help themselves into the water. The blind are not able to see the movement of the water. The lame are not able to get into the water because they are unable to move quickly enough to be first into the water. Lastly, the paralyzed can’t move, so there would not be able to get into the water. Since these people are not able to help themselves, they are the ones who spent days and days at the pool.
John tells us that “a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years” (v. 5). Thirty-eight years is a long time. We are not told exactly what illness or infirmity the man had, but we do know that he had the illness for thirty-eight years. Whatever his illness or sickness, he knew that he wanted to be healed.
When Jesus came by him, he asked the man, “Do you want to be made well?” (v. 6) His response to Jesus was: “Sir, I have not man to put me into the poor when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me” (v. 7).
From the words spoken by the man, it appears the man was not blind and it also appears the man was not paralyzed. I say this because of the words, “while I am coming, another steps down before me” (v. 7). I believe the man was lame in some respect, but not totally paralyzed.
The infirmity of this man, the length of time he had it and his desire to be made well, should be a reminder to each of us not to give up when we are faced with some trial or tribulation. This man hoped to be healed or else he would not have stayed at the pool day after day.
He knew he needed help because he was unable to help himself. I would venture to say that some of the people seeing him thought there was no hope, but since the man did not give up, he must have had hope.
There are times when you and I are suffering because of some illness or sickness and we just might think about giving up. When this thought enters our mind, we must remember that it is Satan speaking to us. He wants us to give up. He wants us to think there is no hope, but that is not what God wants for us.