John 5:1-15

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda,which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him.


This text reveals a lot to us about Jesus. Jesus has the power to heal. Why then does our world continue to be ravaged with sin, disease, calamity, and death? How are we to reconcile these two facts? 

The Setting

Verse 1-5 set the scene of this account. Jesus makes a point to go to a pool where people with diseases and disabilities wait for stirring of the water, because healings happen in this pool. Notice that there are “a multitude of invalids” there (verse 3) and we will see in verse 13 that Jesus withdrew “as there was a crowd in the place”. Jesus did not even stay around for the man to find out who it was that healed him. 

What Kind Of Person Is Jesus? 

The focus is on the revelation of Jesus in verses 6-9. John is showing us some things that are revealing of the kind of person Jesus is. 

He Is Knowledgeable. Jesus knew this man’s situation without having to be told (verse 6). Thirty-eight years he had been paralyzed and unable to walk. He most likely would have been brought here most of his life - ever hoping for some kind of miracle. Jesus knew the situation. 

When you know Jesus, this is the kind of person you know. A person who knows you perfectly - inside and out, and all you have ever felt or thought or done (Psalm 139:2-4). 

He Is Compassionate. Knowing that Jesus is compassionate, makes His knowledge of us more comforting. Jesus chooses to go to this pool. He went to the pool to find this man the same way He went to Samaria to find the woman at the well or Galilee to find an official who had a sick son. Jesus always moves towards need rather than comfort and towards brokenhearted sinners rather than the self-righteous. 

He Is Powerful. His power is immediate and sovereign (verses 8-9). “At once” shows the immediacy of Jesus’ power. This is a parallel to the healing of the official’s son at the same hour as His word - even fifteen miles away. 

John’s goal is to get us to see the complete knowledge, the heartfelt compassion, and the sovereign power of Jesus. This progression is how you get to know Jesus! 

Why Did Jesus Heal This Man? 

Jesus walked away from the man because there was a crowd of sick people and those who care for them. Had He stayed there after healing one man, there would be a throng of miracle seeking. This is not the main thing that Jesus is after. 

In verse 14 Jesus seeks out the man in the temple and tells him the real issue in his healing. The issue is mainly holiness, not health. Jesus left hundreds unhealed at the pool of Bethesda. He told the one man that He healed, “Wake up, I am pursuing your holiness”. The main issue in this age until Jesus comes back is that we meet Him - in our brokenness and receive the power of His forgiveness to pursue holiness.  

Discussion Questions

Today’s passage evokes several thoughts regarding divine healing:

If Jesus has the compassion to heal and the power to make it happen, why don’t we see everyone that we pray for, healed?

What does this passage show you about how Jesus views physical healing verses spiritual healing (forgiveness of sin)?


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