Do you want to be well ?
George Methodist Church
With Peter Veysie
Sunday 10th October 2021
8am and 10am
Aunty Margot passing peacefully this week – I literally saw the resurrection of the soul !!!
John 5: 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  [b] 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?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
The Authority of the Son
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.
From Samaria to Galilee to Jerusalem (5:1)
After Jesus’ ministry in Samaria, we know from the Synoptic Gospels that he spent considerable time ministering in Galilee, though John only records the healing of the royal official’s son. Now John takes us back to Jerusalem, to a remarkable healing at the Pool of Bethesda.
“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.” (5:1)
We’re not told what feast Jesus had come to Jerusalem for, so it’s probably not too important, except to clarify that this was an historical event.
The Pool of Bethesda (5:2)
John describes the scene as you would expect an eyewitness to do for readers who hadn’t been to Jerusalem.
1. It’s festival time but we are not sure which festival it is, but it was a requirement for Jews to go to Jerusalem for certain festivals. We do know that it is the sabbath and we will see that later on Jesus get’s into trouble because of this.
2. The pool of Bethesda and the pool of Siloam – “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.” (5:2)
The Sheep Gate was the gate through which the sheep traveled on their way to be sacrificed in the temple. The Pool of Bethesda was nearby, just north of the temple.
In the early manuscripts there are a number of spellings for the name of the pool. Most English translations give it as “Bethesda,” which means “House of Mercy.”
The pool of Bethesda was discovered in the 19th century under the ruins of a Byzantine church. The archaeological evidence shows a pool shaped like a trapezoid, varying from 165 to 200 feet (50 to 60 meters) wide by 315 feet (96 meters) long, divided into two pools by a central partition. The southern pool had broad steps with landings, indicating that it was a mikveh, or ritual bath (similar to the Pool of Siloam at the south end of the city), where Jerusalem’s pilgrims would gather to purify themselves for worship. The northern pool provided a reservoir to continually replenish and re-purify the southern pool with fresh water flowing south through the dam between them.Water probably came from runoff in the city and some underground springs.
There is a lot of detail here which is interesting as John is wanting us to get a real picture of the pool.
John describes “five covered colonnades,” (NIV, ESV), “porticos” (NRSV), “porches” (KJV). The word means, “a roofed colonnade open normally on one side, portico,” that is, a series of columns set at regular intervals and usually supporting the base of a roof structure. Weather permitting, people could sit or lie during the day under these covered porches to be sheltered from the sun. An afdak!!!
3. The moving of the waters of the Waters (5:3-4)
But pilgrims to the city were not the only ones who came to the Pool of Bethesda. It was also a centre for healing. John explains:
“Here a great number of disabled people used to lie — the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.” (5:3)
Why they were there :
“3b and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.” (5:3b-4)
This explanation of healing from an angel stirring up the waters was believed by many of the sick and infirm in the city. The stirring doubtless had a physical cause — some bubbling up of a spring, perhaps. But that an angel troubled the waters seems to have been a popular superstition among the people of the day.he festival.
I wonder how many superstitions are still followed to this day as opposed to following Jesus ?
Are we looking for the solution through what others might say or the Saviour ? The Truth will set us free. God is God and I am not !!!
4. There are many at the pool but Jesus selects one man – Why ?
I find it extremely interesting that Jesus chooses to heal only one man at the pool and we will see that he is not necessarily the best candidate !!! I am not sure about you but I find it very frustrating when a very solid righteous person is not healed and then a completely random outsider gets healed ??? But I am again reminding us as Andre did last week that God is God and I am not !!!
An Invalid for 38 Years (5:5-9)
Now John introduces us to the subject of Jesus’ healing that day.
“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,
5. ’Do you want to get well?’
‘Do you want to get well[?'” (5:6)
I’ve pondered Jesus’ question. Why in the world would you ask a seriously ill person if he wants to get well? “Yes!” seems like the obvious answer! But I think Jesus wanted more than a Yes or No answer. He wanted to assess desire and faith.
Not all sick people really want to be healed — or to surrender their lives to Christ — even though that is their true need. Sometimes their sickness puts them in a place where they get lots of attention, for example. Jesus set the ministry example for us: Ask!
I assume that he was not merely lame, making his way on crutches, but paralyzed, since he was lying on a mat and couldn’t get into the water very easily by himself. I’m guessing that some people, perhaps relatives or neighbors, carried him to the pool every morning and home every night. But during the day they would need to work to support themselves and him, and there was no one he could rely on to help him. No friend.
Jesus has learned — probably from talking with the man himself — that he has been an invalid for 38 years. I can almost hear him recite to Jesus his litany of complaint about his sad and miserable life.
The healing is not just physical, but on a whole lot of different levels – emotional,mental,social and spiritual. I think we need to me aware of how much deeper the Lord wants to heal us and that sometimes when we are not healed physically, he enables us to find deep healing in the four other areas !!!
6. Get up! Pick up your mat and Walk! (5:8-9)
What has defined him for so many years no longer defines him !!! Same story in the lowering of the mat – the faith factor – also spoken about by Andre’ !!!
Jesus doesn’t pray for the man. He commands him with a word of power.
“8 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’
What is the mat that defines you and have you allowed the Lord to help you to take authority over it ? There are too many people totally overpowered by their “mats”!!!
7. Trouble with the “Sabbath Police” (5:9b-13)
John tells us that this healing took place on a Sabbath. Apparently, in Jerusalem some of the strict Jews, probably Pharisees who interpreted the Law quite strictly, saw this man carrying his mat home, and took it upon themselves to confront him.
“9b The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.'” (5:9-10)
The law indeed was clear about observing the Sabbath. The Fourth Commandment says:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.” (Exodus 20:8-10a)
Of course, the intent was that God’s people should rest on the Sabbath and not pursue their normal work. But then the lawyers took over.
As you may recall, Jesus was severely criticized for healing on the Sabbath (Luke 12:14; John 5:16; 9:14-16; etc.) and allowing his disciples to eat heads of grain they plucked as they walked (“harvesting,” Matthew 12:2). Yes, carrying loads for your work was indeed prohibited (Jeremiah 17:21-22; Mark 11:16), but a healed man carrying home his mat ? That’s not work!
The healed man’s defense is to shift blame from himself to Jesus. “He told me to do it!”
“11 But he replied, ‘The man who made me well said to me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”‘
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.” (5:11-13)
It’s interesting that the healed man didn’t learn Jesus’ name. You would think that he would have been exceedingly grateful and thank Jesus. But, apparently, his only thought was his own healing. He didn’t turn to Jesus with thanksgiving.
This is in keeping with Jesus’ style of not trying to use the spectacular to promote himself. He often told people not to tell anyone about a miracle (Matthew 8:4; 17:9; Mark 1:43; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; etc.), and told his disciples not to reveal that he was the Messiah (Matthew 16:20).
How unlike him we often are! We seek the praise of men (5:41) and the free publicity that comes with the spectacular. We want to exploit the public relations value of anything we can. On the other hand, we do know that God often uses miracles to draw people to Christ. I am often concerned about how people will flock to see the “great healer” who arrived in town and that they will actualy miss the Healer Himself !!!
My point is to check our motive. If it’s pride — and this is often one of our hidden motives — we’re not emulating Christ. God help us!
9. Stop Sinning (5:14)
Later, perhaps that day or the next– we’re not told — Jesus sees the healed man in the temple. Perhaps he has come to offer a thank offering for his healing.
“14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’ 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.” (5:14-15)
Notice that Jesus spots the man in the temple, not the other way around, even though there was probably a crowd of people around Jesus.
Jesus goes to the man and confronts him about his sin. We don’t know what his sin was — slander, cheating, sexual sin. We’re not told. But it doesn’t seem to be some kind of garden-variety weakness, but serious sin. Jesus commands him to stop sinning.The verb is in the present imperative, suggesting that the man is continuing to sin — it’s not just a slip or single occurrence. It is his way of life.
Jesus tells him of the consequence if he doesn’t stop sinning. “… Lest something worse may happen to you” (5:14b).
It’s so easy to go back to our old ways once we hve been healed or restored and we need to be careful that we remain faithful in who we say we are as Christ followers or something worse could actually happen to us !!