Summary: This message is part of a series in the Gospel of John.
INTRODUCTION: This sign is different than the first two. The first sign which took place at a wedding Jesus was informed of the need by his mother. The second sign which was the healing of a dying boy Jesus was sought out by the boy’s father. This sign we see Jesus seeking a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years.
Jesus intentionally healed this man on the Sabbath day. This miracle was a challenge to traditional religion which was not effective. Jesus came as the divine light and life giver.
The Pool of Bethseda has been referred to as the “house of mercy”, house of the portico”, “house of the olive”, and “house of the outpouring”. For this crippled man it had become a house of hopelessness. This is a clear indication of how empty the religious system in Jerusalem had become. When Jesus arrived, the pool containing five colonnades became the place of grace.
I. The Pool (5:1-4).
The pool was by the sheep gate where there was much traffic. People would enter the sheep gate with the sacrifices and would go toward the Temple. The pool was a place of mercy as there was no other help available for the ones who were there except a miracle. When the angel would bless the waters the first one in would be healed.
II. The Problem (5:5-7).
This man was not able to move on his own. He was dependent upon others. Years of watching others receive their healing had left the man hopeless. He had “no man” to help him into the water. The man had to let go of his old identity as a sick man. He had to be willing to be healed.
III. The Power (5:8-9).
Jesus came to the man. We often hear people say the following: “When I came to the Lord…” Truth is we don’t come to the Lord but He comes to us. He cam to this man. The man heard the Word of Jesus and responded. The man got up carrying his mat and started walking. It was almost like a Forrest Gump moment… he was walking! “I’m going for a walk now! Don’t bother me… I’m walking by faith!”
IV. The Pharisees (5:10-13).
When the man was healed it was on the Sabbath and it was unlawful to carry anything or do any kind of labor. Jesus broke the law by healing the man on the Sabbath and the man broke the law by carrying his mat.
V. The Praise (5:14-15).
The man picked up his mat and walked because Jesus told him to do so. It was a high form of praise as He did the very thing Jesus told Him to do.
VI. The Persecution (5:16-18).
Instead of folks being excited for the man they criticized and persecuted him because he was breaking the law. Never mind the law the man had been healed by Jesus after being an invalid for thirty-eight years. Sometimes people will not be happy for you. You have to endure persecution because of Jesus. They hated him and they will hate us.
VII. The Purpose (5:19-23).
The sign is to point to Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is God in the flesh and he touches the ones who need Him. The man had no one to help him but Jesus in a friend of sinners and sufferers.
VIII. The Promise (5:24-30).
Rise, take up your mat and walk. The man would never have to return to the pool as a sick man. He was healed and no longer had need of his place at the pool.