How long have you waited for something special in your life? How many are still waiting or are now waiting for something else? You have heard me say that I'm not a doctor; therefore, I have no patience!
Jesus is in Jerusalem for a feast. We do not know for sure if it was the Feast of Passover or one of the other feasts, but we do know that He was in town particularly for this event. John is the only Gospel writer who mentions Jesus doing miracles in Jerusalem.
The Pool of Bethesda is located just north of the Temple mount, surrounded by five covered colonnades. People believed that there were healing properties in this spring fed pool and would wait by the side of the pool for that "sign" (a troubling of the waters) that someone could be healed. Verse 4, which is omitted by most reliable manuscripts, said that an angel would trouble the waters and the first person to step in at that time would be healed of their malady. God can overrule the laws of nature and perform His miraculous deeds whenever He wants!
Waiting Requires us to be Patient - John 5:5
We do not know how old this man was, but he had been an invalid for 38 years. The nature of his handicap did not leave him totally paralyzed, but he was unable to get to the pool fast enough but what someone else stepped in and got the blessing. It is here that he encounters someone who can cure him faster and better than the pool. We should be thankful for the health that we have!
Abraham waited 100 years from birth, 10 years from the time God promised him a son. Joseph languished in prison 13 years. Israel waited 400 years, then another 40 because of unbelief. The Apostles waited until they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. Paul waited 3 years before he started evangelizing. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WAITING?
Waiting Requires Acknowledging Helplessness. - John 5:6-7
What would draw Jesus to the Pool of Bethesda, and on a Sabbath when one was only allowed (by the Pharisees) to walk a limited distance during the day? Regardless, He is there and among however many other people might be there, He only talks to this one individual. Jesus asks him the obvious, "Do you want to be healed?" Some people remain ill because they don't want to admit their illness or are unwilling to ask for help!
There isn't a person in the whole world that likes being handicapped, ill, diseased or suffering from any malady. The man answers with an excuse. Before he can get to the water, someone else steps in and is cured. Your health is a gift from God! We will all have perfect health in eternity!
Waiting Requires Obedience. - John 5:8
Jesus merely speaks to the man to get up, take his mat and go home. No dramatic prayer, chant or ritual. He doesn't even reach down to help the man up. The invalid has to act in obedience all on his own! When we obey God, He works through His words. That is all we need!
Of course, as he starts to act, he finds the strength, coordination and balance to comply with what Jesus commanded. Not only that, but he is able to do it as if he had never been handicapped or an invalid all of his life. His cure is immediate, complete and permanent!
Obedience is to God, Not Man. - John 5:9-13
As the man is obeying Jesus by carrying his mat, he is confronted by some religious leaders, which have made a law (tradition) that makes it illegal for a person to carry a mat on the Sabbath. They define that as work that they consider this man to be in violation of the Sabbath.
He replies to their question that he was commanded to do so by the man who healed him. How many well-intended Christian leaders let their traditions get ahead of God's leadership? Power can corrupt and absolute power can corrupt absolutely.
Later, Jesus sees the man and advises him to stop any sinful behavior that he has in his life, or something worse than being an invalid will happen to him. The man now recognizes and realizes that this is Jesus, from Nazareth. He goes and tells the Jews who had quizzed him earlier.
The Jewish leaders criticize Jesus for His act of kindness because it was done on a Sabbath day. When they see Jesus, they start to challenge Him about violating their traditions about the Sabbath.
Waiting Requires Acknowledging Our Benefactor - John 5:14-18
Jesus' first response is to remind His accusers that His Father (God) doesn't take a vacation and therefore, He is justified in "working" on the Sabbath if He sees fit to do so. This riles the Jews and a faction is now growing that wants to kill Jesus to stop Him from what He is doing! God is more concerned with our relationship to Him than some perfection of our actions!
God bless you and have a great week!
These articles are related to the "Getting To Know Jesus" Bible study series, a non-denominational Bible study that is written to help you become more like Jesus! Jesus is a role model and a testimony of God's best being given to us!
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Glen Copple is an ordained minister who has over 25 years of preaching and teaching experience in ministering to non-denominational churches. In 1983, he earned a Master of Arts in Ministry from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University) in Fullerton, CA, and has had ministries in Kansas, Missouri, and California.
In previous ministries, Pastor Glen taught through the Life of Christ and developed the structure for "Getting To Know Jesus." He knew that God led him to put his years of ministry and Bible study to work to share with you, your family and friends in this non-denominational study of Jesus Christ, his life and teachings.