Summary: A sermon on John 5:1-16. Looking at this story and examining it under these four questions: Who, What, Why and How?

Sermon for 10/22/2006

John 5:1-16

Who, What, Why and How?


In the Peanuts comic strip, we find Snoopy thinking to himself:

"Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. There’s so little hope for advancement.”

Today in our Scriptures there is little hope for advancement.

It will never get better. But wait?

Thesis: Let’s look at this story from John’s gospel examining it under these four questions, Who, What, Why and How?

For instances:

I. Who? Let’s look at the two main characters, the who’s.

A. The NIV calls him an invalid. The King James calls him an impotent man.

1. The man at the poolside here is probably paralyzed. We know that he cannot walk. In our day, he would be confined to a wheelchair.

2. He has been in this condition for 38 years. Much of that time, he has probably sat at this poolside and begged from people and hoped and prayed that somehow his condition would improve. 38 years in this condition was unheard of in the days of Jesus.

3. There were no wheelchairs in those days and his days would have been spent in the worst of conditions. A person paralyzed many times does not have control over bodily functions. Throughout the day his smell would have worsened. I am sure that he was thankful when someone came to clean him up.

4. His company during the day was the people around the pool. Vs. 3 describes them as the blind, lame and paralyzed. He hangs around people who were just like him. They were all handicapped in some way.

5. Why were they around the pool? Was it a good place to beg? No!

6. Let’s look at vs. 4 in the New King James. The NIV leaves this out because archeological discoveries have unearthed older and older manuscripts of the Bible. The older manuscripts closer to the time of these events when they were written do not contain vs. 4. This was probably inserted by a scribe to help explain what is going on here. It does explain what is going on here.

7. Legend had it that this pool had magical powers. The water of the pool was disturbed once in a while, and the legend goes that the first one into the pool after this disturbance was supposed to be healed. This is what the paralytic man believed, as we see in verse 7. It is interesting to note, that those who were the most able physically would be the first ones into the pool, and they might easily imagine they were healed. One could not just get into the pool and stay there. No, the first one into the pool after the stirring was the first to be healed or so the legend goes.

8. There were a great number of these people. It was during a feast time at Jerusalem. This man is probably the worst case in that crowd of handicapped people. Maybe his family has deserted him. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of help. His hope and his life are nearing an end unless…

B. Jesus.

1. This seems to be early in the ministry of Jesus because it was widely known in Galilee that Jesus was a miracle worker, a great healer. At the end of John 4, Jesus healed a royal official’s son. However, this is Jerusalem and his fame and reputation do not seem to be widely known.

2. Jesus walks through this crowd of bad smells and bodies twisted and malformed. All of these people desired to be healed. Jesus, the great physician, was able and willing to heal. Jesus would do it without favoritism and he would do it for free. But none sought out Jesus.

4. These people were so focused on the water and the movements in that water that they failed to see right in their midst was the healer of all healers. Like today, the Lord Jesus receives no attention from most people.

5. Yet Jesus is not angry with them. He probably just pities them. Jesus Christ is not angry with us who forget him and neglect him, but he pities us from his heart. He wants to heal us but so many are focused on other ways, other people.

6. We know that Jesus is full of grace. (John 1:16 NIV) From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. In Vs. 6 we see that Jesus searches out in this crowd the most pitiful to display his grace and blessings. When he learned about this man’s condition, he went up to him and talked with him.

II. What and Why?

A. What? Vs. 6

1. When people sought out Jesus, he would usually make them identify what they wanted him to do for them. Lord I want to see or I want you to heal my son or cast out this demon, etc.

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