John 5:1-3 (NIV) 1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie–the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
On verses 1-3: John’s Gospel now shifts to Jesus in Jerusalem where he visits the pool of Bethesda where disabled people were known to congregate. Apparently some people believed that an angel stirred the waters of the pool of Bethesda and that the first person to enter the pool after the waters were stirred would be healed.
By the way, why is verse 4 missing? If you read the King James version of John’s Gospel, you will see verses 3b and 4 which mention this idea of an angel coming to stir the pool waters. However, this was apparently a later addition into Scripture and has been omitted from more current versions of the Gospel of John.
John 5:5-6 (NIV) 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?”
On verses 5-6: Why did Jesus ask the disabled man, “Do you want to get well?” Isn’t the answer an obvious yes? Keep this in mind: whenever Jesus asks you a question, it’s not for his benefit; it’s for yours. Jesus asked this question because he realized that some people can get so used to living with their problem or weakness that they rely on it like a crutch, as an excuse not to move forward. It goes to show that part of recovery is wanting to get well. If a person does not want to get well, it almost doesn’t matter what others around them do.
John 5:7 (NIV) 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.”
On verse 7: Notice that the disabled man does not answer Jesus’ question directly. Rather, he blames his predicament on others, saying that there is no one to help him into the water. He’s throwing a bit of a pity party.
John 5:8-9 (NIV) 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,
On verses 8-9: Jesus does not try to argue with him or lecture him on his attitude. Rather, Jesus just tells the man to get up, pick up his mat and walk. The man obeys Jesus’ word and is cured at once. What can we learn from this?
1. Jesus has the power to heal. When we take him at his word, we experience his power.
2. Notice that everything Jesus says to this man here is a command to do something: get up. Pick up your mat. Walk. It’s as if Jesus knew that this man’s problem was as much his passivity as his disability. In conquering his disability, the man first had to conquer his passivity. What can we learn from this? Your ability to experience a breakthrough depends a lot on your attitude.
Jesus, thank You for showing me today that my attitude toward my problem is key to my ability to conquer it. May I not passively blame You, blame others or play the victim. Instead, may I have a proactive attitude toward my situation, knowing that my attitude will affect my ability to break through. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!