Summary: Here is a wonderful example of the need of man, and the seeking saviour comming to his aid. Beware, there will be opposition, but responding brings blessing.


John 5:1-18

This third of the miracles recorded in John’s Gospel finds a place there, as it would appear, . . . because it is the occasion for that great utterance of our Lord about His Sonship and His divine working as the Father also works, which occupies the whole of the rest of the chapter, and is the foundation of much which follows in the Gospel. [Maclaren]


1 Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralysed. {(Av only) – 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.}

It is not certain which of the ‘Feasts’ this was, but the male Jews were required by Law to go to Jerusalem three times a year;

Exodus 34:23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. [NIV]

It was while fulfilling this requirement that the Lord Jesus was confronted with this needy man requirement.



Imagine the scene. He had been sick for 38 years, and came to the pool hoping for healing.

5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"


He looked for help to those in like circumstances! Each one looked to their own needs.

7 "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no-one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.


His physical limitation was hindering him, and he saw some of the others were having their needs met;

While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."

Jesus saw the man, and knowing that he was long thus, prompts the desire of healing, but brings out the despondency of unbelief. How truly it is man under law! Not only is there no healing to be extracted from the law by a sinner, but the law makes more evident the disease, if it does not also aggravate the symptoms. The law works no deliverance; it puts a man in chains, prison, darkness, and under condemnation; it renders him . . . incompetent to avail himself of the displays of God’s goodness. [W Kelly]


The words that Jesus said are easy to say, as we shall see, we can all say words like that, but do our words have the same kind of power? Let us remember who Jesus was, and still is – the Son of God. One word from Him and the man was able to rise up! There was


8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."

And take note that the cure was immediate! It certainly was


But action is required. He needed to get up, pick up the mat, and act out his healing!

9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

This reminds me of the ‘Ten Lepers’ who were healed by Jesus;

Luke 17:14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

They had to act out their faith, just as this man did, and just as we need to do!

Let me warn you – that obeying Jesus will not please everybody! Others may well attempt to find something wrong with what has happened. In this case, no one could disprove the healing, and instead of rejoicing with the man, the people criticise because the healing took place on the Sabbath! Here we have a


The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

I believe it is vitally important for us to have a right understanding regarding the Sabbath. The Lord requires us to set the Sabbath apart for Him, and make a special time when we can shut out the distractions of the world around us, and set our minds on the things of the Lord. The words of the Lord Jesus are

Mark 2:27-28 He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.

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