Sunday Morning - April 21, 1996
Text: John 5:1-14 "After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market (gate) a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda ("house of mercy."), having five porches.
Today this pool is identified with the series of pools found at the north part of the Temple Mount, near what is now called St. Stephen's Gate, or the Sheep Gate.
Many to gather during feast days, hoping for a miracle.
Lourdes, in southern France, has a spa.
The shrine of Guadeloupe, in Mexico City.
3. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
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.
Note: Five of the most ancient MSS., either reject the whole or the principal part of the clause beginning in verse 3 and all of verse 4. It is omitted by Tischendorf, and marked as spurious by Griesbach. It is not included in the Nestles text but in the Koine or Textus Receptus.
They were waiting for the waters to be troubled as found in verse 7.
5. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
It does not say the man was at the pool for 38 years just had an infirmity. = disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness.
He was in need of help. We all need help. We all find ourselves paralyzed at times, unable to do the thing we want or ought to do. We find we are lame: we do not walk very well spiritually.
6. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
A great crowd of people---paralyzed, blind, lame, sick---all waiting for the water to be troubled.
Jesus just saw him - He was singled out of all that were there. There were many because of the feast of the Jews.
Jesus knew that he had been a long time in this state and needed help! GOD KNOWS WHAT WE NEED!
Out of that crowd Jesus picked one lone man. He did not empty the five porches, healing everybody. He did not invite them all to come down so that he might lay hands on them; nothing of that sort. He went to only one man.
Wilt thou be made whole? ? But Jesus never asked a foolish question in his life. Obviously it was important for this man to answer (at least to himself) the question, "Do I want to be healed?" I know many people today who do not want to be healed.
7. The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
In other words, "Yes, I want to be healed, but I cannot. I've tried, I've done everything I know how. I want to get into that water, I want to be healed, but I lack the ability; I've no one to help me. I've given up. I have no hope."
DID JESUS SAY
"Oh, come on now, I'll help you get into the pool the next time the water is troubled"?
"Hang in there now. Keep coming here. Perhaps some day you'll make it in time. Some day it will all work out. Some day you'll be right at the edge of the pool when it's troubled and all you'll have to do is fall in"?
"Let's at least make you comfortable. We will get you a new mattress to lie on, put a few flowers around you and bring you two meals a day"?
8. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
TAKE UP THY BED!
Lose your spot in line.
Make no provision for relapse or backsliding.
"I'm healed, but I had better leave my bed here; I may need it tomorrow."
Do not make any provision to go back on what you have done. Many people fail right here. Go home and pour out the alcohol! Go home and get rid of the drugs! Burn your bridges behind you. Say no to the friends who have been luring you on into evil.
What His method?
First, he asks an impossible thing; RISE
secondly, he removes all possibility of a relapse. BED
thirdly, he expects a continued success. WALK
9. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
Jeremiah 17:21 "Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;"
10. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
Their reaction, which you would think would be, "What? Somebody healed you? Who is the man who healed you?" was instead, "Who is the guy who told you to disobey one of our regulations?"
They are, intent on the letter of the law, but totally unconcerned about the mercy of God.
Matthew 12:11-12 "And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12. How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days."
13. And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
The man LEFT the pool of hopelessness and WENT to the Temple of HOPE and PRAISE
Romans 2:4 "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
Galatians 6:7-9 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."