John 5:1-9a

When he was 21 years old, a friend of mine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. When he received the bad news, he was devastated. Instead of seeking help to cope with the disease, he gave up. As a result, he died at a young age.   

5:2-3 … in Jerusalem… there (was) a pool, which (was) called in Hebrew, “Bethesda.” (In that place many) … were sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the movement of the water.  William Barclay says, “Beneath the pool, there was a subterranean (underground) stream, and every now and again the stream bubbled up and disturbed the waters of the pool.”

5:4 – for an angel went down at certain times into the pool and stirred up the water. The people believed it was an angel who stirred up the water. They believed the first person who got into the pool after the water was stirred up would be healed. It was a kind of superstition that was common in the ancient world.

5:6 – Jesus asked the sick (lame man) “Do you want to be made well?” After being sick for thirty-eight years the man could have given up hope. He could have become content being an invalid.

“The first essential towards receiving the power of Jesus is the intense desire for it” (William Barclay). If we are living sin-filled lives, do we really want Him to change us? Jesus can change the life of the greatest of sinners and make him or them a new person. One who lives a godly life. Saul was a persecutor of Christians, but on the road to Damascus, his life was drastically changed. His name was changed to Paul. He became the first great missionary to the Gentile world. Our bodies are not designed to last forever, but Jesus has the power to heal us physically. Even when we suffer, the presence of His Holy Spirit within can give us the strength to face any circumstances.

5:8    Jesus said to him, “Arise take up your mat, and walk.” Jesus asked the man to do something that seemed impossible. Nevertheless, the sick (lame) man’s response was immediate.

5:9a – Immediately, the man was made well. He got up and walked. No person can reasonably expect a miracle to happen if he or she does nothing. “We must realize our own helplessness (but), in a very real sense, it is true that a miracle happens when our will and God’s power co-operate to make it happen” (William Barclay).


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