John 5:1-6 – Lesson #49

We have seen Jesus minister to “a ruler of the Jews” in Judea (John 3:1), “a woman of Samaria” (John 4:7), and “a certain nobleman” in Galilee (John 4:46). These three recorded times of ministry have covered the widest possible range of physical territory as well as social status. Jesus quickly taught that neither political nor social boundaries should hinder the sharing of His message. These, and many other encounters through the gospel of John, also help us to understand what it means to believe and the maturing nature of our faith.

John 5:1-6
“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, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?'”

We’re not told which feast was being observed when Jesus went to Jerusalem, but the city would certainly have been extra busy. The portion of scripture about an angel stirring the water is not found in any of the earliest Biblical manuscripts. Although the text was most likely added for clarity hundreds of years after the gospel was written, it accurately reflects the beliefs of the day. This was a very superstitious time and people commonly believed that certain waters held miraculous healing power.

When Jesus approached the “great multitude of sick people,” He chose a man who continued to be brought to the pool but had long since given up hope of being cured. Perhaps the main reason for his time at the pool had become social, a place to share with “friends” the sorrows and unfair twists and turns of life. Perhaps the reason had become economical, a place to receive a little food. Or perhaps the man no longer even knew why he was brought to the pool. This had simply become his life, a life without reason or hope.

Jesus stepped into this man’s life and, without criticizing his superstitions or futile routines, asked a seemingly ridiculous question – do you want to be made well? But this question was far from ridiculous. It was, and is, the necessary question of all beginnings with Christ. In the broader context the question can be phrased, “Do you really want what Jesus has to offer?” For without desire, our relationship with God cannot begin; and without an on-going desire, our relationship will cease to grow.

Do we really want the life Jesus is offering? Do we really want to leave our zone of relative comfort and follow Him who calls? Life with Him will not be the same, and that can be scary. Let’s truly examine each area of our life and learn to trust Him more. He can set us free! But first we must want to be made well.

Have a Great Day!
Steve Troxel God’s Daily Word Ministries